The End of a Joyful Life

28 Jul

An obituary I came across the other day:

Jean Kennedy Jean was born on August 21, 1931 in Blackpool, England. She passed away in Olympia Washington on July 2, 2020. She was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister and friend. She was born to parents William Henry Jessop and wife Margaret of Blackpool England. Jean’s two sisters were: Barbara Alton of Vancouver B.C., husband Derek, daughter Diane and son David; Margaret Moore of Blackpool England, husband David, son Graham and wife Linda, son Lawrence. Her Children were: Daughter Barbara Haskell, husband Michael Haskell; granddaughter Kelle, husband James, two great granddaughters; grandson Brian; grandson Randy, wife Christina and 4 great grandchildren. Son Michael Kennedy, wife Evelyne; grandson Robert, wife Nicole and great grandson; granddaughter Jamie, husband Anthony, great granddaughter and new baby on the way. As a young woman she moved to the united State to be married to Warren Kennedy of Colville Washington, the two met while Warren (Pete) was stationed in the UK and Europe while in the US Air force. After a career as a mother and home maker she worked for the retail clerks union in the grocery / bakery business in Yakima Washington. She retired from work in Yakima and a few years later moved to the Olympia Washington area to be closer to family and friends. She loved home decorating, entertaining and various social functions. She enjoyed playing cards, bowling, bingo, doing puzzles and walking along the water front of Olympia as it reminded her of her early years living along the Irish Sea in Back pool England. Blackpool is a beautiful costal town along the western coast with a famous scenic promenade walkway that goes past the Blackpool Tower. She always did a daily prayer for all of her family and friends that were always on her mind and in her heart. Her smile! Though her smile has gone forever and her hand I cannot touch, I still have so many memories of the one I loved so much. Her memory is my keepsake with which I’ll never part, God has her in his keeping and I have her in my heart.


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I didn’t know this woman.  In fact, oddly, I didn’t even realize people still wrote out obituaries for their loved ones. I just thought this was something that went the way of the dinosaurs.

An entire life summarized in what, three-hundred words?  Eighty-nine years of living, succinctly shared with the reading public, all that is left of this unremarkable, remarkable woman.

Dust to dust!

I’m sure, if it were possible to sit down with Jean right now, she would tell us all that those eighty-nine years went by in the blink of an eye.  She would express wonder in how it all happened so quickly. I’m sure she would have a few regrets.  I’m sure she would beam if asked about her loved ones.

One life among seven-point-eight billion lives.

Death is the ultimate lesson in humility, don’t you think?

Seven-point-eight billion, but here’s the remarkable thing:  Jean was unique, a one-of-a-kind treasure among all of them, just as I am, just as you are.  There is no one else like me, like her, like you, the most precious treasure in the world, and that makes us all priceless gems.

Just random thoughts by this introverted writer on a day when reflections flow like sweet honey.

Have a great day, unless you’ve made other plans.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

33 Responses to “The End of a Joyful Life”

  1. Janine Huldie July 28, 2020 at 1:39 pm #

    I know I didn’t really think obituaries were written since hard copies of actual newspapers pretty much cease to exist now. But definitely gave some food for thought on this one now if nothing else. But hoping you are having a great week so far and once again thanks for reflection here this morning.

    • Billybuc July 28, 2020 at 3:41 pm #

      Thank you always, Janine! It cooled down a bit this morning, thank God. I don’t do 95 very well. Makes me a grumpy old man. lol

  2. My Very Own Writing Coach July 28, 2020 at 1:43 pm #

    It was humbling just to read this, Bill. Death – the finality of lessons begs the question, what have we learned? Thanks for your thoughts, my friend!

    • Billybuc July 28, 2020 at 3:40 pm #

      It is humbling, isn’t it, William. “Death is there to keep us honest, and constantly remind us that we are free.” Thank you my friend.

  3. divalounger July 28, 2020 at 3:03 pm #

    This is such a touching post Bill. I think of the later years and death as a peeling away–like the layers of an onion–until only the nub is left–it is an exercise in humility and grace–it is helpful to feel a person’s life surround you–even if you never knew that person. cheers to you today–

    • Billybuc July 28, 2020 at 3:39 pm #

      Thank you Audrey! A tapestry of our life in 300 words…make each word count…make each day count. Blessings to you, my friend.

  4. Shauna L Bowling July 28, 2020 at 3:43 pm #

    Bill, I still get the paper delivered to my home. I begin each Sunday sitting under the gazebo on my back porch with a cup of coffee and the paper. Each edition has the obituary section. I never read them because I feel as if I’m invading the privacy of people I didn’t know when they were alive. Yeah, yeah, the obits are there in black and white for all the world to see, but I just can’t bring myself to read them.

    I do, however, understand the point of this post. I’d like to think at the end of my life, I’m remembered by more than a paragraph posted in the local newspaper.

    It does make you think tho, doesn’t it?

    • Billybuc July 28, 2020 at 4:02 pm #

      It does for sure, Sha! Thinking is something I do a lot of. 🙂

      I buy the Sunday newspaper. Always have. I love Sunday mornings reading the paper. It’s a tradition I think I’ll carry with me to the grave, hopefully twenty years from now.

      Have a fabulous week, my friend.

  5. RasmaSandra July 28, 2020 at 4:17 pm #

    I have to agree with you, Bill. She was blessed, however, with quite a long life. BTW Guess what I read today? On July 26 the actress who played Melanie from Gone With the Wind Olivia de Havilland died in Paris, France are you ready for this at the age of 104!!! So keep living and keep loving there is plenty more coming up and most of all enjoy!

  6. Billybuc July 28, 2020 at 4:37 pm #

    Isn’t that amazing, Rasma? 104? I can’t imagine. What a great life that woman had, or so I assume.

    Thank you for taking the time to visit me on this July morning. You are appreciated.

  7. Adrianna Kova July 28, 2020 at 4:37 pm #

    I think we forget how unique we really are and that includes our voice (writer’s voice). My story may be similar to other’s but it is MINE. She sounds like she was an interesting lady.

    • Billybuc July 28, 2020 at 4:41 pm #

      She certainly did sound interesting, Adrianna, but then I think we all would sound interesting if people took the time to learn about us. 🙂 You for instance. I’ll bet you are fascinating.

  8. 1authorcygnetbrown July 28, 2020 at 4:55 pm #

    This reminds me of when I was a kid I used to go to cemeteries and look at the graves and imagine what their lives had been like. I think a lot of my writing goes back to those days when I wondered about the people buried there.

    • Billybuc July 29, 2020 at 1:38 pm #

      Bev and I have been known to walk through cemeteries, Donna! We find it fascinating.

  9. Graham Lee July 28, 2020 at 7:15 pm #

    Another gem from you Bill. After 52 years of marriage I lost my wife last month. I found your post overall to be tip top as is usual. It is your ability with words that help very many people in darker times to gain strength and push on to brighter times – Graham.

  10. Billybuc July 29, 2020 at 1:36 pm #

    Graham, I wish for you peace of mind and heart, and I’m so sorry for your devastating loss.

  11. Susan Zutautas July 29, 2020 at 3:35 pm #

    I remember helping to write my father’s obit.
    I hope that after death there is a higher plane we go to and we get to be with all our loved ones.
    Have a great day, Bill!

    • Billybuc July 29, 2020 at 3:36 pm #

      I hope that too, Susan! That would be very nice for sure.

      Thank you! I hope you are doing well. Happy Hump Day to you!

  12. Manatita Hutchinson August 1, 2020 at 2:07 pm #

    Well, Bill,

    Keep making plans, as we sure wish to see you a lot longer, even into the nineties!! Let the books sustain you and Bev and family add the Love, like a delectable scone of ‘hope’ and a delicious cup of tea, mixed in Love.

    Good to see you always. Pax Vorbiscum!
    P.S Sent you a poem, funnily enough, of another orbituary I read just today, but heard from Obama last evening. Om Shanti!

    • Billybuc August 1, 2020 at 2:25 pm #

      Manatita, I don’t think Bev will allow me to die before I’m 90. She wants me to finish quite a few projects around here. lol

      Peace be with you, my friend!

  13. Cecil kingsley hutchinson August 1, 2020 at 2:34 pm #

    Haha. The coop; the farm; the dogs, the shed … I have not touched on the books and creative writing yet. I’m wicked … too wicked.

    I’m on Bev’s side too. Peace.

    • Billybuc August 1, 2020 at 2:38 pm #

      You and Bev would be great friends. You two could have coffee while I work on projects. 🙂

  14. Andrea Stephenson August 2, 2020 at 7:31 pm #

    It’s hard to capture that uniqueness in a short passage, yet that’s often what we writers try to do! We never went abroad on holiday when I was a child, instead we often went to Blackpool – I’m not sure I’d describe it as beautiful, it’s a place with a large amusement park, a pier with variety shows, etc., a typical old-fashioned English seaside resort.

    • Billybuc August 3, 2020 at 1:38 pm #

      Wonderful, Andrea! Thanks for sharing your experience with Blackpool. As always, thank you for stopping by, my friend.

  15. Lawrence Hebb August 2, 2020 at 11:26 pm #

    This reminded me of a lady I had on my bus a while back.
    To look at them both, they probably didn’t seem that remarkable, then you get to talk to them.
    The lady I met told me she lost her husband, then decided to move to NZ “to be be with my daughter” she was 85 when she emigrated!
    Somehow we got on to her life, and she told me during WW2 she flew Spitfires!
    Yes, they used women pilots to deliver new planes to the Squadrons during the war, the difference was the new planes never carried ammunition!
    It’s amazing whom you come across in this life, if you’ll just take the time to look.

    • Billybuc August 3, 2020 at 1:35 pm #

      Such a wonderful story, Lawrence. What a remarkable woman. So sorry her story is semi-lost to the Ages. I would have loved sitting down with her and talking to her.

  16. Lori Colbo August 7, 2020 at 4:32 pm #

    I used to work for the peninsula Gateway newspaper. I was the one who entered all the obituaries amongst other things, and let me tell you an obituary of that sides cost a small fortune. However, that was delightful. I love reading obituaries and walking through graveyards and look at names and stories and wonder what those people were like for real. Great stuff bill.

  17. Lori Colbo August 7, 2020 at 4:35 pm #

    I used to work for the peninsula Gateway newspaper. I used to be the one who entered all the obituaries into the paper and let me tell you an obituary of that size cost a small fortune. But it was absolutely lovely. I love to walk through graveyards and look at all the names and to read obituaries and think about what those people were like in real life. This was good stuff right job bill.

    • Billybuc August 8, 2020 at 2:32 pm #

      Thank you Lori! I was just talking to an old high school friend who is writing for the Gateway. How weird that I would be in contact with two people in 24 hours that once worked for that newspaper. Thanks my friend.

  18. Sue Dreamwalker September 2, 2020 at 8:45 pm #

    A beautiful tribute to a fine lady…. Blackpool I have been to on several occasions to see the illuminations and for day visits to the Seaside.. And its famous for the Blackpool Tower and Ballroom…
    I have missed my visits here Bill…. Thank you for sharing…. No Life is without purpose and we all need to pack as much Joy as we can into every moment.. 🙂

    • Billybuc September 2, 2020 at 9:28 pm #

      It’s good to see you again, Sue! It’s been a busy summer for sure. I am slow with my blogs this summer; far too many projects to complete outside before winter arrives and the rains never end. 🙂 I was touched by the tribute to this lady. So many people were touched by her life.

      • Sue Dreamwalker September 2, 2020 at 9:41 pm #

        Likewise Bill… While I have posted on my other blog.. I have not been visiting or spending as much time in WP… Giving myself permission to be AWOL… and not feel guilty about it….
        We touch many people in our lives Bill… Not always visible…. and it was wonderful such a tribute was made in her honour… 🙂

      • Billybuc September 3, 2020 at 1:39 pm #

        Stay safe, be well, and always be happy, my friend.

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