The obituaries in the Straits Times are an 80/20 mix. Announcements, usually with pictures, of current events and the details of the ceremonies to follow account for 80% of what you read in the paper just before the sports section. The other 20% is anniversaries of prior deaths, with pictures and those that still mark their passing. As I occasionally read the section, I am struck by one of the worst curses any person could carry with them; “Let their lives be buckets of water spilled, all that’s left, a damp stain in the sand. Let them be trampled grass worn smooth by the traffic.” (Psalm 58.7)
In the time where remembering life, failures, contributions, and most importantly the legacy of what was left, it is hard to imagine nothing being left behind. A damp stain in the sand only lasts so long and then it is gone! At the opposite end of how long a death is remembered is the Jesus story. One fades into nothingness, the other becomes a major holiday so that individuals have time for reflection and consideration.
Having known a few that made the obits in the past few years, I am struck by the fact that each time I see the section in the paper I remember. I remember a rider with a bright smile and contagious spirit that left us far to soon through no fault of her own. I remember coworkers that fought the best they could only to lose out to Evil’s touch in the end. I remember the old that touched others even when they were not always aware that who you were. I do not plan to remember but I do.
I used to dread turning the page before the section starts. Usually it comes as I read the sports section from the back forwards. Recently I found I had a new perspective. For those that were dominated by evil, there is nothing to remember. For others, they have left me with memories and hope. What we do matters; we can make a difference.