My wife wasn’t one for tradition, for formal. So I’m writing this instead of an obit.

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Instead of a wedding gown, she wore blue jeans, a white blouse and a pullover sweater. I had a corduroy jacket.

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No invitation or response was given. No rent hall. No church.

Instead of a minister, we had a mayor.

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He didn’t take my name. He had one of his own.

Unsuspecting friends were invited to our apartment for pizza and beer.

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There was a party in lieu of the reception.

That was his way.

His wishes were clear. His instructions are clear.

Casual instead of something formal.

Always.

Even now. Especially now.

Earlier, from EJ Montini:taking my spouse to the afterlife

cacti instead of flowers

So there has been no announcement, no invitation or response. No rent hall. No church.

No funeral home.

Instead of a graveyard, there is a desert.

Walk the dog instead of the procession.

In place of headstones are river rocks or boulders or hollow sandstone.

In place of flowers there are cacti.

Instead of a sympathy card, she will suggest you write a note to your husband, your wife, your son or daughter, your mother or father. not a text. No email. one note. on papers. with a pen. Then put it in an envelope and write the address on the front, and attach a stamp on the top right corner, and mail it.

dying of cancerI hate pain. I hate meds. I hate rising death.

In place of speed and convenience, there is reflectivity and durability.

In lieu of dropping off a casserole, order a pizza and beer, then invite unsuspecting friends over to your place.

Read a short story instead of a eulogy. Something by Alice Monroe or Eudora Welty. (“Powerhouses,” maybe, with the line she loved: “…and they’re First note all down like a waterfall.”)

Celebrate instead of sadness. Not much though. a glass of wine. Maybe two. A slice of blueberry pie. A movie. a long drive. a kiss. Maybe more than one.

Instead of an obituary, this.

the futility of the thesaurus

His wishes were clear. His instructions are clear.

Casual instead of something formal.

Always.

Even now. Especially now.

Instead of mourning, remember.

Instead of crying, you should laugh. Although they often seem to go hand in hand – laughing, crying, remembering.

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She’ll be better at it.

She was better able to follow directions. She was better in organization, in implementation, in grammar, in logic, in spelling and punctuation and in vocabulary. on clarity.

in life.

His wishes were clear. His instructions are clear. But my thoughts are clouded. My performance got messed up. I’ve looked through a thick book on English language usage, and searched the dictionary, and consulted a thesaurus, but I can’t seem to find a word for widower.

EJ Montini is a columnist for The Arizona Republic, part of the USA Today Network. Follow him on Twitter: @ejmontini



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