Rock star obituary here from Holland, MI. (No, not the death of a rock star. But yes, the obituary of an apparently quite witty, entertaining, down-to-earth, well-loved young guy). Read the whole thing here (it’s a goodie). It begins “Michael “Mike” Parkhill, Jr. made his last wildly inappropriate and probably sarcastic comment on December 7, 2015. Mike was born and immediately dubbed “our favorite child” to Mike and Diane Parkhill in April of 1974. Their constant love, support, and giving of basketballs far exceeded anything Mike deserved…” and ends with “Anyone whining will not be admitted to the memorial…”
“Anyone whining will not be admitted to the memorial” said about someone who died at 41, is a rare sentiment. Clearly these people don’t take life for granted! And they understand that no matter the length of one’s life, it’s worth a celebration, with no hard feelings about the way it ended.
I initially loved this obit because it so unabashedly celebrates this guy Mike; it throws formality and “traditional” reverence to the wind and just mirrors his fun-loving personality. (Or did he write it himself?) In the end, that is way more reverence for his spirit than any stock, template-like obituary that is almost all you ever see.
But it’s hard to resist loving it even more for its acceptance of life’s limits and life’s sorrows. It takes big people to not be bitter about the death of a dad with young children. It takes very open hearts to keep a sense of humor in tragedy, or more accurately… to not let death be a tragedy.
We try so hard as human beings to sidestep our mortality. We should stop doing that. We should embrace death with the same gusto we have for life, because to separate them is silly. They are not separate! Life has an ending, and it’s called death. Period. Not to be cold, just realistic. Because arguing otherwise is craziness.
We should bring to death the same magnitude of honor that we bring to life.
And the more we can smile and find joy, the better. And please, I’d love to hear from anyone who disagrees.