I spent a pleasant hour last week enjoying lunch with members of the Lifelong Learning program at Shepherd University. While there, I spent a good bit of time conversing with local resident John Burns, a delightful gentleman with whom to share conversation.
While talking, John literally made me laugh out loud with a comment of something that has routinely caught his eye in the paper. I will say, it is not only in the Chronicle, but in all papers, that he has observed changing phrases that mean the same thing.
The phrases to which I refer are those that announce the death of an individual. On the obituary page, we share obituaries provided by the families and/or funeral homes to make others aware of the passing of community members.
What has caught John's eye over time are the multiple ways that one can say an individual "died." As he began to rattle off some possibilities that included "passed away," "went to be with the Lord," and "departed this life," my mind began to focus on exactly what other ways this announcement of one's final breath are given.
And so began the research over the past year and a half of obituaries that have run in The Chronicle. John is right: there are a lot of ways people say "died." While the most common phrase is "passed away," and "died," (along with variations of these two such as "passed peacefully" or "gently passed away," there are multiple other ways that have cropped up in our small paper.
Many individuals "went to be with the Lord," or "went home to be with the Lord." Others have "walked peacefully into the arms of the Lord" or "entered into the presence of the Lord." One individual "peacefully wnt to be with his Lord and Savior" while another "finished his long journey home."
Individuals have "passed from this life," and "entered into eternal rest."
Whatever the phrase that is sent to us here at the Chronicle, that is the one we print. It is a final tribute to the decedent to print their obituary as the family requests and something we gladly do. I mean no disrespect on any of the choices of wording mentioned above, but simply point out the differences that are prevalent and the fact that at least one faithful reader has taken the time over the years to notice those differences.
We value your support and readership, John Burns!