Robert R. Fenichel


In Memoriam

Emily S. Fenichel

Raymond J. Lipicky

Jean M. Millican

John Truchan

On speaking of the recently dead

In my experience, people speaking at funerals and memorial services frequently forget that the program is about the dead person, not about them.  For example, a speaker might say

<Dead Person> was the best friend I ever had.  He was always there when I needed him.  Now I spend much of every day thinking of him, and I know I'll never forget him.

Suppose that these statements are all true, and that the speaker can barely get them out without breaking down.  That's all very well, but these remarks tell us something about the speaker, but nothing about <Dead Person>.  They waste the audience's time.

  Compare these to Sandi Garrett's warm reminiscence of Ray Lipicky:

I remember being [at a meeting] in Paris with Ray, and after an exhausting day of beta blockers we all went to Cirque de Soleil.  From the stage the performer threw an imaginary light beam into the audience.  From the balcony, Ray "caught" the beam in his large hands and "tossed it back" with the agility and grace of a dancer. Indeed he was a big man, with the heart and a gentle soul of a child.

That's how to do it.



Page revised: 10/21/2023 20:11