Monthly Archives: April 2023

Obituaries and Stuff

My mom sent me an obituary today for a lady I knew from church as a kid. I have a few memories/moments about her from the last 55 years.

*Her youngest daughter is the reason I attended Wheaton, but more specifically did the Vanguard program (1982).

*This lady did something pretty unkind to one of my sisters at the christian school we attended (1978).

*Her husband died of cancer, which I knew from running into her at the doctor’s office (2020).

*She had a Michigan accent, which I observed before I knew about Michigan accents being a thing (1970).

*Her eldest daughter was very kind to me as an incoming student at Wheaton and had another “bun in the oven” (her words) at the time (1982).

Teacher, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, and More!

Her two-page obit covered her life from birth to death, as they do. Today I learned she was born in Michigan (never knew this), where she went to college (no idea), that she lost a child in infancy (sad information that wouldn’t have come up when i was a kid), that her son died before she did (out of touch so didn’t know), and the timeline of how she ended up in Ohio.

I got to thinking. Here is a lovely summary of the life she lived, what she cared about, who she loved, and what was important to her.

Turns out, her son, who i knew in high school, changed his name to go by his birth name rather than the nickname we all knew him as. I felt some shock at discovering he had preceded her in death. He was only a few years older than I, and he died in 2010.

Turns out her daughters had lots of kids and she ended up with five grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren. Last I knew (1982), eldest daughter had bun number two in the oven and youngest wasn’t married yet.

Turns out people live their lives, going about their business, filling their days with things they care about, making big and small impressions on others, and then one day they die. And it can all be summarized (for most of us) in a page or two. And yet, her life mattered.

When I imagine my own funeral, I see a lot of empty pews in my imagination, and have somehow conflated that with not being “important.” As I recently concluded after reading, “Miracle in the Andes,” life is about LOVE, period. Love is what matters. How I love myself and others. And one can be very unimportant in the eyes of the world and can still love well, and matter to the people they love and who love them.

As usual, what I’m saying isn’t anything new under the sun. What has happened is that the idea of love has gotten into my heart and out of my head.

found on

With love,


All the Lonely People

Hubert Bird is a West Indian man who immigrated to Britain as a young man to pursue a better life. The chapters alternate between “Then” and “Now” and cover most of his life.

I rarely, if ever, do any kind of book review as there are hundreds if not thousands of reviews for most pieces of literature.

What brought me here today was the simple beauty and truth of this book and my own experience as one of the lonely people.

I’ll not be the first to suggest that the coronavirus pandemic was extremely hard on us as humans who have a need for connection. I spent an awful lot of time from 2016 to January 2023 on Twitter, reading all the horrible things people were saying and doing regarding the pandemic. (Finally, I did leave Twitter permanently, but not before I had taken in so much vitriol.)

Even without the pandemic, people have been becoming more isolated and alone. With the advent of social media, we can stay home and go online and imagine we aren’t really so alone. But I think the overall effect of social media has been to isolate us further as we compare our own mundane lives to the exciting ones we are seeing online.

What I loved about this book was the message which I think is two-fold. Loneliness can be alleviated by a willingness to reach out to others and by a willingness to believe it’s possible we are loveable and that there is some type of connection possible even in our polarized world.

I’ve written before about the improv concept of “yes, and” and I see it everywhere in how we connect with others. “Yes, I am lonely, and I am capable of greeting others, extending kindness and compassion, and perhaps lessening the loneliness of someone else.”