A friend sent me an obituary

I wondered why since I didn’t know the person, once I read it, I understood. Here are a few excerpts. This was the first thing it said after giving his name, birth and death dates.


Although he suffered from severe mental illness, he maintained his self-worth throughout his life. August was smart, funny, generous, social, and very loving to his family. He faced his life, and his illness, with extreme courage. His family loves him very much, and are very proud of him.


The obituary went on to describe the things he loved doing, his accomplishments and the usually obituary details. The final paragraph was:


In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made to NAMI Greater Houston (namigreaterhouston.org) or the Engalla Hope Foundation (engallahope.org). They also encourage you to educate yourself about mental illness, and approach it without shame or stigma.


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So sad. People with SZ can be very courageous. They deal with life experiences way beyond what many of us could cope with.

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Oh that gave me goosebumps. Sounds like August was a wonderful son, and he had a great family who helped him to fight his severe mental illness, and lead his best new life. Donations requested instead of flowers was super thoughtful too. I am reminded how grateful I am to NAMI and the State of Florida Disability Department. And you, Hope, for your “Unmedicated” thread as you lead me to this forum.

Thank you for posting.

@caregiver1 and @oldladyblue, I really appreciate hearing your thoughts. I was touched by the obituary, I have wondered about what should be written in an obituary for our family members.

You and I have discussed the line in Moana when she faces the island goddess in its fiery form and tell the goddess “this is not who you are, this does not define you”.

My question is, does this define our family members or is it a tribute to their strength? What about our family members, what would their thoughts on the matter be?

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I think most would just like to get on with living and put the psychotic episodes in the past. Nobody is going to forget about what it was like to be psychotic but hopefully if they are lucky enough to recover the memories will get weaker.

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That is what I think my son would say.

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My personal feelings about this are not always shared with others, but I believe that obituaries and funerals are for the living more than they are for the departed.

I.E. that sharing the struggles of their past can help those alive and still looking to the future. My earliest brush with death was when grandfather committed suicide after my grandmother died unexpectedly during exploratory surgery. His action was shocking to all of us as a Catholic family as we were taught stern consequences to suicide (going straight to Hell). At the service, the priest talked a LOT about my grandfather’s good life and then trying to live with his grief after losing his wife of more than 50 years. The priest found passages to read that made it OK in our hearts to accept his struggles with his own mind and heart, and to hope that he wasn’t in Hell but in Heaven with his wife of decades. So his final action of hanging himself was more understood, and his next future life not so bleak. My heart grew so much during that talk to all of us from the priest. Had he NOT talked of it to all of us at the service, I would have been forever angry. It was very beneficial to me, and my family.

I don’t know, maybe a departed spirit can hear the funeral service… however the still living certainly can.

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Beautiful story of your grandfather, his love for your grandmother, his absolute grief and despair, and then a loving priest who found a way to sow love, hope, and mercy for your family. Pretty sure that one story covers all of our human journey, from highs to lows.

Agree that services are more for us left to sort it out. And love always wins (always!).

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