Tag Archives: obituary

When Did This Happen?!

IMG_1806It’s all fun and games until you show up dead. Trust me, I know. You can only imagine my understandable surprise and concern to discover that, sadly, Jean Ciampi passed away January 9, 2015. If you think it’s funny, go Google search yourself and see if you missed your own funeral by two and a half years. If someone had actually notified me of my untimely demise, I would have possibly attended the event, signed the guest book, and tried to piece together what exactly happened that I turned up dead in Ventnor, New Jersey.

What was yet even more alarming was to then discover that since the time of my unfortunate passing, I’ve still been voting a consistent Republican ticket in Florida. I’ve always said, “Vote early and vote often,” so I’ll stand by that. But for the sake of clarity, I vote issues not party lines – even from the grave.

Of course, this then led me to check Facebook to find out what else I didn’t know about myself. For a split second, I thought I’d become a Spanish-speaking male gymnast managing a Tommy Hilfiger in Venezuela – and not at all bad looking, if I can say that. Obviously, at least in that case, wires have just gotten crossed somewhere causing confusion. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve never spoken Spanish beyond ordering a beer and finding a bathroom.

So back to the George H. Wimberg Funeral Home in Linwood, New Jersey (I’m guessing that’s somewhere near Ventnor. If you’re from New Jersey, feel free to jump in here.) I’m scanning through my obituary and seeing a couple of things that need correction. For example, they got my age wrong. I’m not, despite all appearances, 87-years old. They also got all the names of my family members wrong. But I guess they did go astray on that one critical detail that I’m not actually dead, so I shouldn’t be surprised that they missed the mark on those things, too.

Regardless of all that, from the condolences left online at the funeral home’s website, I see how much people really do appreciate my cooking and baking. I hate that it’s taken this for me to find out, but still good to know. And the indications are that I’m a pretty okay person. Or at least I was. May I rest in peace.

         

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Know Before You Need It: Writing an Obituary

Jean GlamourI always read the local obituaries. Mostly, I’m checking to see if there’s someone listed that I might know, and because I want to be sure my name isn’t posted among the recently departed. I really am the last to know anything and could easily have missed this about myself. As a regular obituary reader, I’ve compiled a few tips and pointers for what makes a good obituary. I understand you’ll be dead at that point and won’t much care, so you’re wise to plan in advance.

First of all, always have a nice, recent photo available for your family to run with your obituary. That Glamour Shot you took in 1993 does not count in any possible version. You didn’t even look like that photo when they took it and, almost 25 years later, you certainly don’t look like that now. Everyone who knows you well enough to read your obituary knows that. People who never met you probably know that, too. Mine is included here as proof. (That’s a lot of AquaNet on that hair) If you haven’t already, join a church. They take those directory photos all the time and that one will work great for these purposes.

I understand that your closest family members call you “Wookie Fuzzy Woo” as a term of endearment, regardless of how diabetically gooey it sounds. Don’t get me wrong, those little pet names are cute, but they need to go quietly to the grave with you. Do not include them as part of your name in your obituary. People can grieve properly over the name on your birth certificate without the added trauma of the Wookie Fuzzy Woo part.

This probably isn’t the right place to post your rap sheet or that parting shot at your brother. The statement: “Tell my so-called-brother that he was adopted and no one wanted to tell him” should maybe be saved for somewhere else. Put it in the will. It will soften the blow that you left him nothing.

Of course, include all the pertinent and interesting things about your life like your military service, career highlights and the fact that you were crowned Miss Corn Dog Queen in 1948 at the Dinger, Iowa County Fair. If you’re looking back right now and thinking you’ve lead a pretty boring life, get out there and do something exciting that you can include. Otherwise, take a few minutes and make some stuff up. Who’s going to question you? You’re dead.

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