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  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 39

Dearly Departed

A note on obituaries. Words by Salome Wagaine. Photograph by Maggie Zhu.

Having an obituary written about you is a sign that you have lived a life of note. You might have done or experienced a variety of things to reach those pages: received a significant award, died in battle, raised notable sums for the local hospice, or massacred one’s own people. Still, the only way to have an obituary published is to have died, just like everybody else before you. 

Remembering is distinct from memorializing. In the immediate days or weeks after a non-celebrity’s death, local obituary writers search for the facts. This approach is  perhaps even helpful to the reader: Who should be referenced in a With Sympathy card? Is there a request for flowers, or charity donations? It is only once the reach of a life has been noted that its impact might then be assessed. Mourners require time to judge how to honor a person’s legacy,


This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Nine

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