Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In Memoriam of "In Memoriam"

I have had this thought for a long time and I have hesitated to say it for fear of seeming insensitive. But, what the hay?

My heart goes out to all who have lost a loved one. I know the feeling, intimately and recently. It is horrible. And when we lose someone, we want to do something to make things feel better for ourselves and for everyone else associated with the loss. In my case, recently, that something was to write a post about my dad, which became his tribute at the funeral.

I think that people are losing an important concept.

Today, I was reminded again of this. I was driving to work past a VFW hall and there was this message on the sign: "In Memory of Lou Smith." Very often, too, I will see people with stickers on their rear windows: "In Memory of..."

My question is what act is in memory of the person who has passed on? Used to be you wrote an epic poem or erected a marble monument "in memory of" someone. Something was done in memory of the person. I mean, I suppose one could argue that the sticker was put on the car in memory of the deceased or that the bereft made the effort to put those little plastic letters on the sign in memory of poor toes-up Lou...but, Jeeze. Shouldn't we put in a little more effort for our dearly departed if we are doing something in memory of them?

By all means, get the window sticker, but have it say: "Rest in Peace" or "We miss you Aunt Connie" or "Gone too soon..."

Maybe we could save "In Memory of..." for some real effort at memorializing our lost pal or parent. It is not that the act of putting up the sticker is not heartfelt. It's just that I think we should save the profound phrase In memoriam... for something profound. Or, at least, profound-ish; for a ceremony...or...something that involves stone and chisels... I just don't think static cling and plastic deserve the term and it sort of diminishes the impact of bigger gestures.


  1. Hello, Mr. Matt! (Or whatever you would rather be addressed as). When I was first reading this, I couldn't understand your position and what you were trying to say, but then I took a moment to actually look at the phrase, "In Memoriam" or "In Memory of", and then it clicked, 'Oh'.
    Yeah I wouldn't say that window stickers are great representations of what you might have done "in memory" of your lost one. Whilst reading this I was thinking of the grand marble and gravestone works of art people have made for their loved ones. Indeed, the phrase "In Memoriam" is more appropriate for things of that nature.
    Didn't mean to rant on too long; just had to read this with a title as interesting as In Memoriam of "In Memoriam".

    1. Thanks, Mykala. Glad you liked it. You can actually call me whatever you want, now -- what am I going to do, give you a detention? Haha.