My Takes

It's Just My Take

Don’t speak ill of the dead. Oh, and don’t lie either

Crip handsign.

Reading the newspaper this week, I came upon yet another murder in my normally peaceful and perfect city.  This time it was a 21 year old aspiring model.  A handsome looking dude from the pictures.  He was  found shot to death in the front yard of a house located in a not-so-nice part of the city.

This happened last Saturday and has been in the news for the last few days since then.  One thing that stood out for me was the fact that his friends and family were very adamant in insisting that this young man had no ties to gangs or drugs, thus lending credence to the  ‘That’s what they all say” mantra.

The newspaper’s front page this morning stated that the police were investigating possible gang link in the killing.  The deceased was apparently wearing a Hell’s Angels’ support T-shirt when he was found.   Wearing a T-shirt or any other item of clothing does not necessarily qualify as being a gangster but the fact that he was in the company of gang members in a car stopped by cops back in February and his older brother is a known gang member, does nothing to allay suspicions.  Too many coincidences.

So, when someone dies, do we tell their life like it was or do we try to paint a more acceptable picture of them?  If so, why?  Why isn’t it koshered to say ‘Ole Sam was one ornery man.  He never had anything nice to say and was cruel to humans and animals alike.  Yep, that’s Sam.  He sure wasn’t a good man.”  That would not only be the truth but reflects exactly what everyone knows about the deceased.   Why say he was a good man with good intentions when everyone knows or suspect that he was far from that?   It’s up to the deceased to sell his ‘good man’ story to God.  We can’t help him in that regard.

The question now is, since we are told not to speak ill of the dead, do we lie about the dead? But we were also told not to lie, so which one takes precedence?  Does the saying, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’ apply to the dead?

Oh my!  There must be some really quiet funeral services out there!

Just my take.



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4 thoughts on “Don’t speak ill of the dead. Oh, and don’t lie either

  1. wobsy on said:

    Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Henry Kissinger, Harold Shipman, Saddam Hussein: lovely people! It would be so easy to write gushing obituaries.
    Joking aside, it’s a tricky subject. If you insult a living person, they have opportunity to offer rebuttal and defence. A dead person obviously can’t do that but arguably doesn’t care much either. It would be tough for their loved ones though, I guess?

    • It is definitely a tricky subject. As a family member, I’m not sure what I would prefer to hear, the lies or the truth.
      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Deep Reservoir on said:

    It seems to me that all of us have more than one “face”. Not every part of you is suitable for every situation. You choose which parts of you to use with each person and situation.
    So is it lying to talk about only the parts of someone you like and will miss? I had a relative that was very generous, to a fault. This person was also abusive, distant, and intolerant. Which part of this person will I miss? That’s what I’ll likely choose to share at a funeral. That’s not lying. It’s not bending the truth. Were I to have spoken of this person, I would have shared the precious, life changing gifts I recieved from them, not the intimidation and abuse. If I could erase the “bad” I would.
    So, when punctuation is required at the end of that life, just as I choose which part of me to present to the world, I would graciously present my favorite part of them, and allow the part I don’t prefer to go to the grave with them.

    • I see your point but in my opinion, mentioning the parts you missed is good but outright lying just so they look good is not. I mean if the man was a scoundrel but great around kids, standing on the podium painting him with a white paint brush is like spraying perfume on a pig, if you know what I mean. We do have different sides but some sides are darker than others, so much that it could over shadow the other side. In that case, silence is golden. Love the comments! Thanks for dropping in.

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