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  #1  
Old 01-24-2009, 09:30 AM
SongwriterFan SongwriterFan is offline
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Default What does it mean when an obituary says . . .

If an obituary simply says that Joe Blow "died suddenly", what does that typically mean?

Is it common NOT to say that he died of a heart-attack or stroke? Or in a car crash? Etc?

I can really only think of one thing where those writing the obituary would probably have good reason to say it that way. But is it common to say it that way even for heart attacks/etc?
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:41 AM
12Stringer 12Stringer is offline
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people dont like to talk about death, makes them think about their own mortality, in america we tend to whitewash the ugliness of death, we use funeral homes to "sterilize" the reality of it, and tend to speed through the process of loss. You will really never see a obit that states true cause of death.
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:48 AM
Brent Hutto Brent Hutto is offline
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I can't recall any obits of people I've known that said anything beyond "after a short illness" or similar. One time a number of years ago I did see one that said "after a long battle with cancer" or something along that line. Often you can read between the lines when the family suggests a donation to the American Cancer Society or American Heart Association but other than that you generally have to just find out from friends or family.

Heck, unless they died from Bubonic Plague it's not really my business anyway. Dead is dead.
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:52 AM
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I know they will often euphemize cancers to "after a lengthy/prolongned illness," or other phrases. I've been told by the American Cancer Society, and funeral home directors this may be done to prevent those battling cancer to maintain hope, and an optimistic attitude. People don't wish to read about someone who has died fighting the same diseases. Hey--just relaying the information.

As for "suddenly," again a euphemism for any number of imaginable reasons. Might be heart; might be embolism, massive stroke...many possibilities. The entire "funeral business" is meant to give closure, and sometimes the only way someone can begin to accept the death of a loved-one is to see them in a coffin (I'm not trying to knock funeral homes or morticians). However, this used to be done in people's homes-hence the term "funeral parlor." The entire experience though is one fraught with euphemizing death: "he's asleep," "he's at peace," "she just passed away in her sleep," names for the various parlors IN a funeral home, like: "the room of eternal rest" (yes, I've actually seen that!), and of course the best clothing available, rare woods and pricey metals used to build something to bury underground in a concrete vault, etc. Did you know along with furniture, casket makers use most of the best woods out there? Even Braz back when.

Sorry to wax on so long.
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:23 AM
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How about the phrase "an untimely death". What is a timely one?
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:29 AM
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Redneck obits usually say "He died after uttering the phrase, 'Hey, watch this!'"

Specifically, "died suddenly" is a current euphemism relating to frozen turkeys and deep fryers.

Last edited by HHP; 01-24-2009 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:49 AM
rosewoodsteel rosewoodsteel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHP View Post
Redneck obits usually say "He died after uttering the phrase, 'Hey, watch this!'"
Now that is funny!
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Old 01-24-2009, 11:57 AM
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So, it's NOT a good indication that it was suicide?

That's good to know.
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:24 PM
Brent Hutto Brent Hutto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yardism View Post
How about the phrase "an untimely death". What is a timely one?
For someone who is suffering, unable to interact with his loved ones and has no hope of recovery...it's timely if it's sooner and untimely if it's later. For the rest of us, the opposite.
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:27 PM
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If they just hit the Powerball, its untimely for them and timely for their relatives.
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Old 01-24-2009, 01:24 PM
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I always thought it meant exactly what it said...the person died suddenly and unexpectedly. Sometimes those obits are written literally within a couple hours of the person dying and the writer simply doesn't know the cause.
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:11 AM
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[QUOTE=HHP;1725528]Redneck obits usually say "He died after uttering the phrase, 'Hey, watch this!'" QUOTE]

It was good to know I 'ain't' the only one who smirked at this comment. It brought a light to the subject.
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flaggerphil View Post
I always thought it meant exactly what it said...the person died suddenly and unexpectedly.
When someone dies after a long battle with cancer, ALS or some other fatal condition, the death is not as much of a shock to the family, for they usually have had time to accept and prepare somewhat for the inevitable outcome. In fact, sometimes the family is relieved that the suffering has stopped. But, when an obit reads that the person died "suddenly" or "unexpectedly," it is reasonable to assume that the family was shocked and may be particularly grieved by the loss. It can also imply a traumatic death, such as, an accident, murder, heart attack or suicide. However, the important message is that the family was taken by surprise. As a friend of the family or person who died, I find it helpful to know the situation, as it will often dictate how I can respond and comfort them.
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:58 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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"Died suddenly" or "died unexpectedly" are commonly seen. People who know the deceased know what killed him/her. And those who don't know, don't need to.
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob1131 View Post
As a friend of the family or person who died, I find it helpful to know the situation, as it will often dictate how I can respond and comfort them.
Exactly.

I'm just a bit worried that perhaps it was suicide. Though I'm hoping it was heart attack or something similar.
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