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Monday, July 25, 2011

Local Life Ended, Lauded

It will shock nobody who's been reading here for very long to learn that I suffer from an inability to keep a straight face in stressful situations. The slightest thought can set me a-giggle, and from there it's just a scootch down the highway to howls.

Friday evening I was with a friend and her family, and just retelling various stories featuring my completely inappropriate laughter had me reliving it and chortling so hard I nearly suffocated.

The holy grail of hilarity? Family funerals. I can go from tears to teehees in seconds, and once that switch is thrown, there is almost no flipping it back. (Thankfully that's just for funerals within my own family. I behave beautifully at funerals for non-rellies, promise.)

But obituaries have the opposite effect on me. I find them almost calming. I love the cadence, the order, the euphemisms, but mostly the highlighting of a person's ordinary goodness, because that's what is most missed when a person dies.

I don't read them everyday anymore, but when I do, I'm without fail rewarded.

The one for The Reverend Douglas "Doug" Howard Butler in this morning's paper is just lovely:
Doug 'Papa', fiercely loved his wife, children and grandchildren. He'd drive the old car, wear the old clothes and walk in holey shoes so that his family could know their needs and wants. He gave freely of his time and other resources, without recognition, for anyone in need. He was a mentor to many and was an excellent advisor. He never met a stranger. He loved, lost and buried many special people over the years and missed them deeply. This selfless compassion and care for others ultimately cost him his health. He was best known for his humor and for never knowing what he'd say next.

I never met him, but reading that feels much like I did. Isn't that just grand?

Winston-Salem Journal obituaries
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