Friday, November 27, 2009


This morning, She Who Must Be Obeyed drew my attention to an obituary in the AJC - what Denny calls the “Atlanta Urinal and Constipation.”

SWMBO reads the obits every day. She figures that if she doesn’t see her name there, she’s OK.

“Check this out,” she said. “This reads like something from Speaker for the Dead!” The reference was to Orson Scott Card’s novel, a sequel to his immensely popular Ender’s Game. Speaker for the Dead is a thoughtful and brilliantly-drawn story in which the titular character speaks at people’s funerals, revealing their real essence as human beings, warts and all. A Speaker delivers not a mere eulogy, but a complete deconstruction of a person’s life... and not all of it is pretty.

And so, when she saw this death notice for one John Fedesky, it really got her attention:
JOHN WALTER FEDESKY, 56, of Atlanta, died November 9 of cancer of the brain and esophagus. John was a truly colorful character. He had all the habits of Southern politeness, but suffered from a lifelong mental illness... After his father died in 1967, John, only 14, reacted by participating in the drug culture which helped to trigger his schizophrenia. The resulting damage affected him the remainder of his life. It was many years before doctors had available the optimum combination of drugs for his mental illness without the side effects that had caused him to reject them...

...John was baptized in the Church of Christ in 1971 and from then on studied the Bible devotedly for the rest of his life. He wanted to be either a minister or missionary or President of the United States. He spoke to almost everyone around him. For those who had income, he incessantly asked for money, but his notion of necessities were often considered by the donors as luxuries, and the relationships always eroded. For those with no income, he was generous with whatever he happened to have at the moment. He was unable to earn a living most of his life...
Ya gotta admit, it has the ring of honesty. Not a lot of lily-gilding going on here. And amidst a page full of puff pieces about the local Good Ol’ Boys who went to church regularly, were president of their local Kiwanis or Rotary Club, and who went to their reward surrounded by a small army of loving children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and Second Cousins, the End Story for Mr. Fedesky stands out like a polo pony at a NASCAR event.

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