Jimmy Patterson over at "Sticky Doorknobs" has drawn a tough assignment ... for a brief while, he's been working the Obit Desk.
Regular visitor's to Jim's blog have been following the ongoing story of his Mom, and how she and the family were preparing for the end. Earlier today, we learned that "Betty Jo Patterson, beloved wife, cherished mother, and adored grandmother and great-grandmother, died Friday at an Irving, Texas, hospital following a lengthy illness. She was 79."
Obituaries are a challenge. There is so much riding on them ... so much more than can be achieved by simply stating the facts. Granted, you do want to get some facts in there ... they provide the framework upon which a life story is built. But, you don't want those facts to overwhelm the story ... the life you are recalling was so much more than a catalog of names, dates and places.
In some ways, the job is harder, when it is someone close to you ... and, in other ways, it can be easier. To this day, I think some of the best pieces I ever wrote were my columns in the Fort Stockton Pioneer that I composed as memorials to my father and, later, to my brother.
You'll feel a range of emotions that don't often accompany your other assignments ... sadness, grief, even anger. Go with your feelings, express them. They are the colors and textures that bring life to what might otherwise have been a dry recitation. And don't forget joy ... remember the promise that we shall be together again, someday ... that, through God's grace, we "shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
All in all, I think Jimmy has done an outstanding job with his assignment. See for yourself, and don't hesitate to offer your comments, your thoughts and your prayers.