by Elise Seyfried
There is an obituary flying around the Internet recently that is, shall we say, less than glowing about the deceased. It seems this woman was despised by her family, not least because she apparently got pregnant by her husband’s brother and, to top it off, was a terrible mother. The world, her family declared, was better off without not-so-good old Mom.
This caused me immediate panic. What shape am I in at the moment, testimonial-wise? I mean, I’m not expecting the paeans that, say, a Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela would garner (though I would not object), but I certainly hope I will not be “burned” by those nearest to me (at least, not until the cremation. Then, of course, burning will be A-OK).
I know the New York Times and other major newspapers pre-write draft obits of famous people, so that when the various buckets are kicked, the staff only needs to put a few finishing touches on their tributes. I also know that the Fourth Estate is cutting way back these days, with many fewer reporters and the axing of whole sections. So, as a loyal newspaper reader, I offer my obituary (well) in advance. Philadelphia Inquirer, et al: feel free to “copy and paste” and store the following in my file, in preparation for the sad, far-in-the-future day of my passing!
•ELISE SEYFRIED passed away suddenly (this is an important touch, even if I’ve been wasting away for decades. “Suddenly” is a guaranteed tug at the heartstrings and evokes an image of a shocking, Rapture-like departure) in Paris, France, on July 14, 2066. This is assuming my 110-year-old self can actually be transported to the City of Lights for the Big Farewell. PLEASE do not report that I died in my actual place of residence (Oreland, PA). No offense, Oreland, but if I had to choose a place to croak, the world is filled with many more glamorous alternatives!
Moving right along…
Elise was an author, actress, playwright, Spiritual Formation Director and all around Renaissance Woman. At the time of her death, she was preparing for the world premiere of her performance piece, “I’m Still Here, Dammit!” scheduled for this September at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her understudy and BFF, Helen Mirren, is expected to bring this powerful work to the stage instead.
Born in New York City in 1956, Elise grew up surrounded by the thrilling sights and sounds of the Big Apple. Then her family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she was surrounded by the sights and sounds of a not-quite-so thrilling Giant Peach. At age 20, she married director Steve Seyfried, and the two began touring in dinner theatre across the Southeast.
Let’s see, after that … yadda yadda yadda, Philadelphia, where the first of her five children were born, and so on and so forth. (Insert random accomplishments here, including winning a Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize and Emmy — seriously, who’ll check? And if they do, in this Post-Truth era, who really cares?)
Here’s where we get to the heart of my obit: quotes from my devastated family:
Husband Steve: (never mind, he will certainly have predeceased me).
•Sheridan: “As a parent myself, I appreciated her short temper and inflated expectations of us kids. It’s been sort of a ‘how not to’ guide for me!”
•Evan: “Frankly, I was away so much at school, in the Navy and during my political career that I barely recall her. Elise, right?”
•Rose: “I’ll always remember mom as a detective, trying to get the lowdown about my life. She never got much out of me, but I’ll give her props for persistence!”
•Patrick: “I kept meaning to call her during these past 40 years, but you know how it is! Sorry, mom!”
•Julie: “Even though I’m almost 80, she still treated me as the baby of the family. Her worrying about me has really cramped my style. Honestly, can’t I choose my OWN senior center?”
In addition to her children, Elise is survived by a host of sons and daughters-in-law, a bevy of grandchildren, a pride of great-grandkids and those few friends who remain above ground.
In lieu of flowers … well, heck, send flowers! What’s wrong with flowers?
A Celebration of Life will be held at a time and place TBA. Will keep you posted!
There! Now I can go to my eternal rest, resting assured that I’ve gotten a proper send off in the papers.
Off to plan my funeral!
Ed. Note: It has been a while since Elise submitted this article. I hope she is still around to see it in print.