I have developed a fascination with obituaries lately. Most likely, this is because I read them out loud every month from the local newspaper for my volunteer stint with the Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss.
Despite my history as a romance writer, the cynic in me always gets a kick out of obituaries that state the departed met or married someone who was the “love of their life.”
I have noticed that the “love of their life” phrase is usually used when the “love of their life” survives the person for whom the obituary is written. Could it be that the survivors are the ones who wrote the obituaries? If so, are they including the phrase because it’s true, or as an ego boost for themselves and a way to assert their important status in the departed person’s life?
The romance writer in me would like to think the phrase is true. But I have done an informal survey and have noticed that almost every time, the “love” is the one who is the survivor.
If the couple had a long relationship, I’d be inclined to believe that the phrase is true, but length of a relationship does not always indicate a happy, loving relationship.
I often wonder if the departed person would have included the phrase in their obituary if they had been the one to write it. Since they are dead and I cannot ask them this, I guess this is one of those unanswerable burning questions that will plague me for the rest of my days during the wee hours of the morning.
What do you think about this phrase? Is it overused? Is it just a way for survivors to feel better? Am I entirely too cynical? Should I try to solve world hunger instead?