Thursday, August 21, 2008

Was this a real obituary?

An obituary for Dolores Aguilar was published on 16 and 17 August 2008 in the Vallejo [California] Times-Herald. It read:

"Dolores Aguilar 1929 - Aug. 7, 2008

"Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on August 7, 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Raymond, her son, Paul Jr., and daughter, Ruby. She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona, and son Billy; grandchildren, Donnelle, Joe, Mitzie, Maria, Mario, Marty, Tynette, Tania, Leta, Alexandria, Tommy, Billy, Mathew, Raymond, Kenny, Javier, Lisa, Ashlie and Michael; great-grandchildren, Brendan, Joseph, Karissa, Jacob, Delaney, Shawn, Cienna, Bailey, Christian, Andre Jr., Andrea, Keith, Saeed, Nujaymah, Salma, Merissa, Emily, Jayci, Isabella, Samantha and Emily. I apologize if I missed anyone.

"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 many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing. Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her 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 the 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 their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM."

Isn't that a sad commentary for a life? Was it a "real" obituary - did her daughter really mean to run something so "down?" Apparently so, according to Snopes - see the commentary here.

Can you imagine a great-great-grandchild doing genealogy research in the year 2050 and finding this gem that lists all of the family members. Unfortunately, it doesn't list the surnames of the daughters, the grandchildren or great-grandchildren. But then the "Mother of all Genealogy Databases" will probably know them already, right? Or not. If there isn't a MOAGD available, it will be an interesting family history project.

My other thought is "will the 'sins' of the parents be visited on the descendants even to the fifth generation?" I sincerely hope not.


Anonymous said...

That is so sad. But, I can sort of relate as that could've been written about some I know, but never in a million years would I have posted it in the paper like that. I feel for the descendants years from now that come across and read it.


DearMYRTLE said...

What ever happened to "If you cannot say anything nice, don't say anything at all." ???

The author of this obit is certainly continuing the legacy of her mother with such an unkind posting.

What sort of an example would I be to my grandchildren if I used words in such a manner?

Tim Agazio said...

I have no problem with the obit. It is sad that the family situation caused the daughter to write this, but to me family history means looking for warts and all. A couple of generations from now this obit will provide all sorts of research leads for someone.

My mother could have written a very similar obit for her father. She didn't...the man was never discussed...he was made to disappear by family silence. It's taken me 5 years to bring parts of his life back from the dead, and I'm still struggling to learn the rest.

I don't know what the daughter's motivation was, but the obit will guarantee the mother will never disappear like my grandfather did.

Tim Agazio

Terry Thornton said...

Randy, Most interesting question at the close of your article and one which all family historians should read and ponder. Indeed, should the sins of the father/mother be revisited with each reading of their published obit?

I believe the mere act of dying does not convert the deceased to sainthood if they have lived a wicked life --- and I believe firmly that a printed obit should not demonize the individual either. This obit is a sad commentary of our times. The family, in my opinion, would have been better served now and in the future with just a brief obit of who, what, when, rather than a recitation of this woman's faults. She did, after all, contribute to the gene pool from which these survivors take their DNA.

Terry Thornton

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

This is unbelievably sad. I guess I have to agree with Myrt & Terry and add that although it would be OK to write down memories to pass on to future generations you do not air your dirty laundry in public. The first paragraph would have been suffient.