Over lamb chops, we talk about her obituary. Is there a better time? I’m not sure. We’d each had a glass of wine. It helped. I think. She’s very clear on a few things. The verb died. She forbids me from writing a post-mortem that includes the word “passed.” I’m in agreement. “Say I died,” she insists. “I will, of course, ” I respond. “It’s your obituary, so you get to choose,” I offer, and we both giggle. Sort of.
“No photo,”she declares, while buttering her bread.
“Ok, yes,” I say. There is no room for disagreement. And also I agree- those forty year old photos can be so jarring.
She raises her hand into the air and extends her thumb and pointer finger as if to measure something. “This,” she declares, “this is how much space in the newspaper you can have for my obituary.”
I try to concentrate on her fingers while fighting the tears that begin to pool at the corner of my eyes. I don’t want to miss the measurement and try quickly to make a mental estimate of the number of words and lines we might have to work with.
These are our conversations. Good. Hard. Real. Necessary. Onward.