As of this writing, I have a new found respect for obituary writers. In the past and perhaps the present, those relegated to write for that department have not been fully appreciated or perhaps mocked. Those who write for that department get to write of the positive contributions people have made to our society instead of those we would surely wish to forget. If I were a reporter assigned to write of murderers or pedophiles, I would welcome being able to write of some good others have done.
For the most part they are not the Pulitzer Prize winners, but are winners none the less for getting up everyday, going into work and writing pieces that make the family members of the dearly departed smile during their time of grief. It must give them a certain sense of pride to have brought some form of closure to those left behind.
Writing of a person’s death is not so much for the departed, but those they have left behind. It is called being compassionate instead of trying to rub salt into painful open wounds.
I have read every single comment posted to my Tim Russert piece on OpEdNews.com and SmirkingChimp.com and it amazes me that folks would look to tear apart a man who died so suddenly. It amazes me that no compassion is shown what so ever for those who Mr. Russert left behind such as his wife Maureen and his son Luke. Ask yourselves this question: How would you feel if that were your husband or father and folks were writing such negative comments like the ones posted?
Immediately after his death was and is NOT the time to dissect his life’s work, but to remember Mr. Russert as a human being as we all are. My guess is that it is easier for some to point the finger at someone else than to evaluate themselves. None of us are perfect and if we expect perfection in the field of journalism we will surely be let down.
In listening to Mr. Russert’s opinion on fatherhood and how he loved his dad and his son so fiercely, it caused me to reflect on my own dad who died in 1993. Is that not a good thing? Is that not a positive contribution to us all? So, I wrote of my dad for my personal blog and sent my thoughts out to family members and friends.
Do I write of all who have passed on? No, I do not. Only those who have touched me in someway as Mr. Russert did. When former President Gerald R. Ford died, I wrote of his death and got mixed reactions. But, the negative ones truly made me want to take a hot shower. They were smarmy.
In conclusion, many of my past articles have dealt with the most depressing of topics and where I did not pull any punches, but this was not the time or place to do so. In fact, I still will not mention the others who I alluded to in my memoriam piece to Mr. Russert whose very prose turn my stomach. I have dealt with some of them already.
To those obit reporters, you are doing some of the best work that is out there. You are celebrating a person’s life for those left behind instead of tearing them down in front of all of us. My hat’s off to you.
Author’s email address is, firstname.lastname@example.org