An Obituary For A Life Never Lived

This obituary was sent to me in an e-mail, just as you see it here.

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It looks real enough, though I don’t know if it is.  I wasn’t in the mood to peruse Snopes.com to find out. 

But if it is real,  I have no idea authored it, nor do I know the newspaper from which it came, but my gut tells me (regardless if it was ever really published or not) that this sentiment is pervasive in today’s society.  In that sense, it’s completely real and what it conveys is gut-wrenchingly sad.

The print is small, rather blurry in the reproduction making it damned near impossible to read, so I’ll paraphrase it for you.

This is a death notice for Dolores Aguilar, born in New Mexico in 1929 and died in August of this year.  Where exactly is anyone’s guess.

What makes this obituary so distinct and so tragic comes after the introduction of Dolores’ survivors.

It reads:

“Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life.   I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by very many; very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting of her passing……We will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years.  We had some fond memories and perhaps we will think of those times, too.  But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had: a good and kind mother, grandmother and great grandmother.  I hope she is finally at peace with herself.  As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is a beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.

There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart.  We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great grandchildren can say goodbyes.   So I say here for all of us, GOODBYE MOM.”

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And so closes the book on Dolores Aguilar’s sad, lifeless life.

I didn’t know Dolores Aguilar.  I don’t know what made her life as miserable as was portrayed in her obituary.  I didn’t know her childhood or the people who might have robbed her of it.  I didn’t know her as a teen who might have endured horrific abuses.   I didn’t know her as a young woman who might have known hardships; the young  mother who could have been  overburdened; a middle aged crone who saw loss and grief.  Nor did I know the elderly vessel in which she died.  I don’t what diseases plagued her body or mind.  I didn’t see the psychological demons at play or what experiences and events might have prompted her to become so emotionally isolated.  I only know her from the mosaic within her obituary; painted by artisans with brushes of made of bitterness and vivid resentment.

I must admit that when I think about the countless number of people who’s lives she touched and perhaps, even scarred,  I get very angry.   I can’t help but resent Dolores for sins committed–regardless of the psycho-dynamics that might have fueled them.

I think about her life and the stark contrast to that of the late Dr. Viktor Frankl.  The author of Man’s Search for Meaning, was imprisoned in the worst concentration camps in the Nazi pantheon of structured evil and miraculously, he  survived.  In spite of torture and witnessing unspeakable horror.  He did this by willfully going within and finding ways to cling to things on an intensely spiritual level.  In the simplest of terms,  he survived  unspeakable physical hardships by choosing to see the inherent good in anything and everything he could lay his eyes on or wrap his mind around.    Spirit is an intangible and that fact was vital for Viktor Frankl.   He could escape within and go where the SS guards couldn’t.  His joy; his “rina” was made impervious to the evils of hatred.

He exemplified the indomitable human spirit.

Fortitude.

Life is meant to be lived.  And as Viktor Frankl proved, that statement is true,  even if life must be lived behind the bars and electrified fences at Auschwitz.   Sadly, Dolores Aguilar and so many people like her never understood that.

This realization breaks my heart yet,  I’ve been remarkably scathed by this obituary and the sad life it portrays.  To be honest, I’m frightened that some day,  the name “Laurie Kendrick” could so easily replace Dolores Aguilar’s.   I don’t want that to happen.

The reality is, we’re all born to die. That’s a deal we humans unwittingly make with mortality.   We get one shot at this realm; this life.  Dolores Aguilar failed at her chance, but that didn’t have to happen.  Of course that’s tragic, but what’s sadder is that I’m convinced she didn’t die when she drew her last breath this past August.

Dolores Aguilar’s obituary clearly indicates she never lived.

I can’t let that happen to me.  And I’ve been whining a lot lately.  I’ve been angry at certain things and bemoaning silly losses.   Well, this this is my wake up call.  I am determined that my death will only come at the culmination of a life well lived and that will only happen many years from now.  In the interim, I fully intend to open my eyes to see what this woman couldn’t or wouldn’t.

Happiness is a conscious decision and I intend to become living proof of that.,

8 comments

  1. Oh that wacky Delores!!! She was just never understood. She was hottie in ’41 until Mitzi came along. I don’t really think she will join Raymond in the afterlife as is sounds as she will be on an opposite vertical plane than Ray.

  2. It brings to mind a scene from the movie “The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao” (starring Tony Randall). In a scene where he is an ancient Greek seer, he tells a vain and superficial woman that, for all the good or evil she could have done, after her death it will be as though she had never lived at all.

    Even at a much younger age, I was struck by the enormity of that comment and felt that it was, without a doubt, the worst thing that could ever be said about a person’s life. To see it actually in print, and from a “loved one” no less, just gives me chills.

  3. Wow. That’s harsh. To hold on to that much resentment and anger after death…makes you wonder what happened to cause such incredible hatred?

    It’s sad, in more ways than one.

  4. It would seem hard to pay homage to a mother that may have physically and/or emotionally abused her children because of some hardship she was going through.

    I have to say that as bad as this sounds, I would have to agree with her children’s reasons for putting her obituary in the paper like that. Why should she be recognized as a great mom when she wasn’t? Her kids should find peace now.

    It is sad but I don’t understand why some people can get up on a podium and tell a funeral audience what a great person the deceased was knowing good and well he/she wasn’t and everybody knew it.

    That doesn’t make sense to me.

  5. I know of many who had Delores for a mother. My son can relate in some degree. I try my best to heal that pain but again it is his mother’s doing. I can only say….In the end the truth is always said

  6. It’s funny the things that snap us out of it sometimes. A jarring story, but I admire your ability to question what may have caused her bitterness and hate.

  7. Laurie –

    This obituary is true. I found it on snopes: http://www.snopes.com/media/iftrue/obituary.asp.

    And that makes this so much more terrible. When I first read your post, I came to the conclusion that perhaps this daughter was the cruel one who apparently defied her mom at every turn and this was her moment to have her last word? But that was before I found out that this obituary was true. And that the mother apparently terrorized her children. Abused them. Never fed them. Never clothed them. What drives a mother to the brink of doing this to her children?

    And so I shall mourn. Not for Delores but for who she left behind. I do so hope this family can find a way to heal. I hope this bitterness goes away instead of continue to trickle down the family line.

  8. I shall mourn for her children, too. They should find peace now.

    I know a few people whose parents should not have married and had children. The mother was a controlling lunatic and the father didn’t really give a damn as long as he was hunting and playing golf. Therefore, when the seasons rolled around and he was gone doing what he wanted, the mother took her unhappiness and frustrations out on her kids.

    However, due to the disfunction of family life growing up, these kids have gone on and tried to build something out their screwed up lives. I hear they are doing fine.

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