Reading the obituaries

I’ve probably received Duke Magazine every month for the past dozen years, even though I don’t donate any money to Duke, and I don’t bother to read it. My fragile self has no desire to learn of the great achievements of current students and brilliant alumni. Yes, Dukies do all sorts of great stuff; I don’t need to be reminded. (And, yet, I live two blocks from campus, and I have daily interaction with Duke). But there is one part of the magazine I do scan…the obituaries. I read the obituaries with the hope that I won’t recognize any of the names, and that there will be no names at all of those graduated anywhere around 1997.

Well, no such luck as I looked at the latest issue. I won’t mention the names, because the memory of those I speak should not be sullied by being associated with this blog.

First, I came across the name of my long-time dermatologist. I saw him as an undergraduate and then for several years after. I still go to the same practice today and only stopped seeing him because he was unavailable once or twice when I needed to be seen. I think I noticed that his name was no longer on the front door, but I didn’t think much of it. Now, I have learned that he passed away in October, at the young age of 52. While dealings with healthcare providers are often stressful and unpleasant, I actually enjoyed my visits to the dermatologist. This physician had an outstanding sense of humor and a reassuring demeanor. I always trusted that I was getting excellent care. I am sad to hear of his passing.

Second, I saw the name of a classmate. I didn’t know her, only recognized her name, but that’s enough to feel stunned and saddened. Further research tells me that she had lived with a chronic disease all of her adult life, but she had a career and interests that gave her fulfillment. She made a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. I realize this a quite a generic statement to make, but it doesn’t always apply to everyone.

It might sound like I’ve just realized that, OMG, people die! Actually, this thought crosses my mind a fair bit; I do read quite a bit of news.

I really must get more out of life. There’s another bromidic* sentiment…

*bromidic? I suppose that’s a word


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