Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Causa mortis.

The death register that I work in has a very small space for ‘remarks’ for each entry. Remarks most always consist of cremation, were the ashes present for the Mass, final destination of the ashes is not immediately buried etc. I am just one career jump from being one of those people who can write the Getttysburg Address on the back of a postage stamp.

Yesterday I finally found time to look up some records for a woman who is doing research into her family history. My search was not particularly successful, but I did find reading the old death register to be quite fascinating. The old book format had a much larger remark section which called for, among other things, the cause of death. Despite the unremarkability of most and absolute pathos of a few, there were some that made me laugh out loud. May the late entrants, and the previous holders of my job, forgive me...

TOP FIVE FUNNY CAUSES OF DEATH (bear in mind that these pop up among long lists of normal causes of death...)
5.DOA I’m assuming they meant at the hospital, not the church.
4.Mass concelebrated by four priests I know four means death in Japanese, but I personally have never felt unwell while at a Mass concelebrated by four priests.
3.Sleep Economy of words. Many entries said ‘died in sleep.’ But a few had just ‘sleep.’ Would this be like ‘suffocated by wife because of snoring?’
2.Lived in Lake Bluff for most of life. Many people do have that feeling that they’ll just die if they don’t get out of the old home town.
1.Non-Catholic mother-in-law Having a Methodist mother-in-law, this gave me the biggest laugh. (Lest I laugh too hard, there may well be a Methodist document out there that lists “Catholic daughter-in-law” as a complicating factor in some poor woman’s life. ) I must remember to relate this at our next family dinner. My m-i-l is a dear lady with a great sense of humor, so I think she’ll enjoy it.

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