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Finding humor in the face of death

Death is not a pleasant subject. It is a subject avoided by most people most of the time. It is not small talk when it affects us, or our relatives and friends.

I use Google for reference purposes often — I did with death and gave them statistics to help them predict my day of death. I guess my age of 92 puts me in a special class since they responded, "Your time has expired; have a nice day!"

Maybe a bit of humor is needed even when discussing this most serious subject.

In that vein:

• One fellow had this inscription on his tombstone: "I didn’t buy any life insurance; when I die, I want it to be a sad day for everyone."

• It is difficult to understand how a cemetery raised its fees and blamed it on the cost of living.

• A new cigarette offers coupons good for a cemetery plot.

• A small boy wrote on his exam paper: "A natural death is when you die by yourself without a doctor’s help."

I saved George Bernard Shaw’s saying about death for my conclusion. "Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."

I have kept too many pieces of information on too many things of importance in my 92 years. I’d like to close with one that fits the bill for me best of all, but I have no record of the author. Too much saved, but not always carefully recorded. For me, it fits the bill for my conclusion of the discussion of death:

I’d like the memory of me

To be a happy one.

I’d like to leave an afterglow

Of smiles when life is done.

I’d like to leave an echo

Whispering softly down the ways.

Of happy times and laughing,

Times bright and sunny days

I’ d like the tears of those who grieve

To dry before the sun.

Of happy memories that I leave

When life is done.

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at