Make A Video This Week
End September 3 column

RIP Paul and Mari Schindler

I have posted a dual obituary for my parents. My mother died two years ago, my father last week. Mom asked for no obituary, a request I respected until Dad passed away. I placed this obituary in the Oregonian, Oregon's statewide newspaper of record, on Sunday. Of course, newspapers will soon cease to exist, but at least this obituary will be on microfilm and in the Oregonian archives (for a fee), and, perhaps in the Internet Wayback Machine, so there's a chance it will survive. Obituaries are for the living. It is awful when a parent dies, and worse when the second one dies, because suddenly you ARE the older generation. I mean, I'm 60 on Sept. 17, so what did I expect, but still. Since mom and dad were 16 and 18 when I was born, I actually experienced this much later in life than most people. Which, unsurprisingly, doesn't make it any easier. You end up facing the certain prospect of your own mortality, and the fact that you are now "alone," without the support of the only people you've known all your life. I am blessed by having the next best thing: a wife I've known for 35 years and been married to for 32, and two daughters I have known their whole lives. All three of them have been rocks for me to lean on this week.

Also, since Mom took a year to die and dad passed away in his sleep (he died Tuesday; we had scheduled breakfast together on Wednesday), I have seen death in its two forms. Lingering death allows everyone to say their goodbyes, but can produce a pretty rotten last month. Sudden death means no goodbyes, but peace and no pain. So, it turns out lingering death is easier for the survivors, and sudden deah is easier for the participant. I know I will not be given any choice in the matter, but I will, as I have my whole life, continue to hope for the latter. I have had a policy my entire adult life: if I love or care for someone, I tell them and show them, frequently, daily if possible. That way, if life (which is, at best, an uncertain enterprise) should end, no one will be in doubt as to how I feel. Because, of course, no one is getting out of this alive.