Home > I Don't Have Time for This Shit, I Don't Want to End Up Like My Mother, Little Boxes > I Don’t Want to End Up Like My Mother: Reading Obits and Talking About People I Should Remember

I Don’t Want to End Up Like My Mother: Reading Obits and Talking About People I Should Remember

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I fear growing old. Truth be told, I’d rather die now for the obvious reasons: to avoid nursing home abuse and incontinence. Die young stay pretty, right? Another reason I don’t want to grow old is that I never want to start that annoying thing my Mother does called: reading the daily obituaries and talking about people from a long time ago that I should remember.

She began this in her 50s. Isn’t it bad enough that as you get older, you’re surrounded by more and more death? Why seek it out? The more people you know who are dead, the greater the odds are that your number is next. And I thought wisdom came with age. Sicker still, why shove the obits down the throat of your vibrant young daughter trying to enjoy the prime of her life?

Do you remember Karen Stento?


You played softball with her. They lived on Tamara Lane. Her brother was Joe. Doesn’t ring a bell?

No, not really.

Well, her Mother died. [said with a tone that somehow implied my forgetfulness had something to do with Mrs. Stento’s unfortunate demise.]

Oh, that’s a shame. How did she die?

You really don’t remember her?  Karen Stento? Her Mother died Friday. Complications related to lung cancer.

No, Ma, I don’t remember her.  I’ve been gone for 20 years.  I’ve lived in many other places and met a gajillion people since then. My memory has a limited capacity. [this is true: i need to purge old information to make room for new stuff.]

Well, Miss Big City Girl, I moved to Florida but I still read the obituaries from Binghamton on PressConnects. Your hometown is important. That’s where I raised you. 

I just don’t remember her.

Hmmph. John and I read them everyday. Pressconnects on the internet. Don’t you ever read them?

I don’t have time Ma.

I’ll send you the clippings.

One Week Later

Did you get the stuff I sent you from the Press and Sun-Bulletin?


What did you think?


Did you see Karen’s daughter is into soccer just like Kendra? [now we’re solidly re-connected?]


You couldn’t be any less interested, could you? Whenever I tell Lori about these things, she is always intrigued and we end up talking on the phone for hours about who knew who and what a small world it is.

AAaahhh — talking on the phone for hours. That’s a “I Don’t Want to End Up like My Mother” story for another day.

  1. Susan
    January 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    that’s why I talk to my mom less and less. although my mother is too self absorbed to talk about anyone but herself.

    • January 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm

      good point, surprised my mother does for the same reason.

  2. Linda
    January 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I actually find myself constantly searching for older people I could possibly want to be when I grow up. How does one age without succumbing to age? When I was young and backpacking through Europe we met an elderly, retired couple doing same, backpacks, hostels etc…..There is a beautiful couple at my tennis club battling it out on the courts well into their 70s, I think either one could kick my butt. My friend’s mom 86 beautiful, with a boyfriend, traveling etc. It can be done!

    • January 12, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      love your sense of optimism, linda. on the brighter side, i am looking forward to migrating south and having weekly bridge games.

  3. Janice
    January 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Your mom and my mother-in-law suffer from this same disorder. The only diff is that my mil does this to Andy, not me, since I (gratefully) did not grow up around them. Every person she has ever run into in church, teaching, at the grocery store, in the greater Chester County area, who is sick, knows someone who is sick, or dies is a topic of conversation. He never remembers (he probably never met them, frankly), but she doesn’t care. She just plows on and on about how they were sick and their grandnieces and nephews from the sister church in Berks County made the trek to see the person (that none of us knows and she hasn’t seen in 15 years, but she heard they passed from her friends at church). Sigh. I just sit and endure the conversation. I’ve learned these things will never change.

    When I grow up I want to be an international jewel thief.

  4. January 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm


  5. Kathy
    January 18, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    this is hilarous. I am thinking that there is some strange upstate NY connection. My mom does the same thing to me. It’s like a set-up.

    “Do you remember so and so from your senior year in high school?”
    “Yes, Mom. I think I do” (Meanwhile I am thinking that some happy memory will come flooding back with her next sentence)
    “Well, they just died last month in a head on car collision.”

    Total bummer ( a little sadistic on my mom’s part, too). Like why should your life be unmarred by death and destruction? So I absolutely get it, Patty. Let’s not pass along this habit.

  6. February 11, 2010 at 2:30 am

    I thought my mom was the only one who did that. Every time I talk to her she has to tell me that so and so died, or she went to this person’s funeral. My parents are going to funerals like once a month. And it sucks…the older I get, the more funerals I’m going to. Not fun.

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