Reading the obits

Until recently, I was never a faithful reader of obituaries. I blame my parents for this. In my 20s and 30s, I hated the “who-just-died” recitations during our weekly phone calls. “Too morbid,” I said, and they were hard pressed to argue.

After losing both my mother and husband in the past year, I must confess I’ve taken to reading the obits. First, I run down the ages and hope the percentages run in my favor. I want to see that mostly people older than me are dying. Then I read the stories.

On the day columnist Robert Novak’s appeared, so did that of a woman a couple years younger than me, Judith Ann Mickley. Novak we know was legend, and I take nothing away from him in saying that I was more inspired by Judith Ann. She rescued animals, loved a dog named Murphy and cats Spook and Sugar, was an “awesome cook” with Christmas cookies that were a “work of art” and (gently, I’m sure) taught her relatives which fork to use for what. Her family said she was a GIVER. All caps. We could all learn a thing or two from Judith Ann.

BTW, in case you are thinking this “Dog Journal” is becoming too morbid, too many entries about death, I will tell you what my parents did when I complained during those weekly calls: “That’s life, kiddo.” This grieving process takes a while. Stay with me on this.

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