Thursday, October 23, 2008


Okay, I can’t take it anymore. I have to blog it or explode.

In a world where cars are no longer “used” they are “pre-owned”, and people are no longer “fired” they are “downsized” and we no longer wipe our asses with toilet paper, we have to use “bathroom tissue”, we’ve finally moved on to what, in my opinion at least, is the final euphemistic insult.

That’s right; a person can’t “die” any more. Oh heavens no!

These days? You have to “pass”.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize when I am told that someone “passed” that the person giving me that information is on some level trying to lessen the harsh reality of the news. But to that I say that dead is dead. And when a person dies, they deserve the full, serious, somber, (and forgive me) grave word to describe their status. They’ve experienced the ultimate adventure; they’ve gone into the void. They are Dead. And to call it something else is to, on some level, lessen the significance of that experience, isn’t it?

Losing a loved one sucks and it’s hard to accept and deal with, but I would argue that “dead” is not a dirty word. And I, for one, am a little sick of everyone acting as if it is.

I would also argue that when a person is in the physical process of approaching the end of life, what are they doing? Are they pre-passing? No. They are dying. And when the end comes? They are dead, plain and simple. Why can’t we say it?

To say someone is dead is sad, for sure, but it leaves no doubt as to their ultimate status. I don’t know about you, but when I’m told someone has “passed”? A multitude of scenarios tend to run through my head. Granted, I’m not quite right; we’ve established that here. But to me, at least, “passed” does not denote the process of having moved on from mortal existence.

No, when I hear someone has “passed”, I can’t help but ask myself…what does that really mean? And then I’m forced to imagine that person having gone through the same process as an inconvenient kidney stone. Because a kidney stone is something that truly is passed .

Worse? Upon further consideration of a person’s “passing” I then have to think (completely against my will) that this poor sod may have actually been farted from this world. Because bio gas—unlike people-- is something that is, without a doubt, “passed”.

I say to you today that people do not pass. They die. And they are dead. And in my opinion? They deserve the correct descriptor be attached to that final experience.

Consider the opposite: birth. We don’t say the baby “emerged” do we? Why? Because we have a word and it’s an okay word because birth is a happy thing. When you hear a baby was born there is absolutely no doubt about what happened. You know for sure that a new person has entered this world. Conversely, when someone dies and you are told that they are, in fact, dead? You know for sure that person has left this world. There should be no shame in it.

And, fyi, in case you’re wondering? I do realize the peril that writing this piece has put me in. I know there is now a fairly good chance that someday, somewhere, in a funeral home far, far away (let’s hope) I may very likely be the guest of honor one day and on that day there may be a program and on that program, maybe on the back cover, this here bit may be reproduced.

But you know what? That’s okay. Because when I die? I want to be dead, plain and simple. I would like all the freedoms and privileges that death implies thankyouverymuch. Feel free to tell everybody.

That I am DEAD.

Because I, for one, absolutely refuse to be farted into the Great Beyond.


Brenda said...

Ha ha ha...I'm about to DIE laughing!

Anonymous said...

I so agree with you. I've begun saying "passed? you mean she/he died?"

I remember a place I worked my boss was telling me about a friend who had died and said "when she transitioned" and I, being not too bright, said "transitioned?" Seems the gal had passed/died...

My feeling is that this term "passed" had come partially from television shows.

The other thing I dislike is "sorry for your loss." WTF does that mean anyway.

Suzanne said...


What the HELL?

Good LORD, people are just insane.

Anonymous said...

apparently it came from her church which is one of those new age places. In Reno, NV of all things. Sin city, home of the bordello, divorce capital of the US, ugly town where I lived for 15 years.

Suz said...

Okay, okay. Now that I've quit laughing, I promise that if your demise occurs and is known to me I will never say you "passed" or "transitioned" or did anything other than genuine good old dying. "Suzanne? The woman is dead. As in doornail-dead. Outtta here."

Really. Promise.

I do believe that the end of my life in this body will be a transition of my self to a different place, neither heaven nor hell, so the word "passed" isn't inaccurate. But, yeah, there are so many situations in which "died" is the best word, not "passed."

(And just don't get me started on "tranisitioned" - WTF kind of word is that anyway? It's early Sunday morning and my grasp of grammar is weaker than usual, which is pretty weak indeed, but that sure sounds hinky to me.)

Scary: The word verification for this comment is "cremoned" which hints at the disposition method I have chosen and prepaid for. After my body is dead.

Suzanne said...


I am thanking you in advance for telling everyone that I am dead.

Technically, I, too, think that it is unlikely that the soul doesn't go on (cue Titanic theme), but that is another question aside from communicating the physical status of a descedent. The word for that?




Patience-please said...

Even dogs and cats don't die anymore. They "wait at the rainbow bridge."
Great post!

Suzanne said...

"Wait at the rainbow bridge"...BWA ha! Hilarious!!

Bruce Gardner said...

This is too funny.

I was at Friday's playing trivia with a friend last week and someone as they were leaving mentioned that a relative had passed.

My friend looked at me and snorted. Now it was off to the races.

Passed, huh. Does that mean those of us who are alive failed?

Does it mean they passed some test and the rest of us are losers?

Did they eat the nachos?

So, didn't know their aunt was a quarterback.

If there was a double yellow line when she passed, she probably got a ticket.

And so on.

It's like when L. Ron Hubbard died. The (misnomer alert) Church of Scientology issued some sorta BS news release that he had translated, or moved beyond the mortal to join the illustrious Secret Masters.

Heard the same thing on the news the next morning. I miss dead. I would settle for croaked, but, like you, I take a pass on pass.

Also, what happened to your Sun column? It made Current worth reading.

Suzanne said...

Hi Bruce! Thanks for stopping by and your kind words about my writing, you made my day.

I'm coming back to Current. The Sun is going to alternate between the two sets of triplet bloggers--one set one week, one set another.

So...when can we expect to see your blog or should I say where is it?

Bruce Gardner said...

Glad to hear you're baaack! Will make my everyotherThursday morning complete.

As for my own blog ... well, I have at least registered for one. Does that count?

Then there's the question of what to write. I spent enough years as a journalist to accumulate a lifetime's worth of snide cynicism and I can rip off a rant before you can even take your hat off.

Just now getting into reading blogs. What do people want to read? Suggestions helpful.

Suzanne said...


People want, for the most part, to peek into your soul. At least on occassion. Most of us don't accomplish that with every post. Far, FAR from it. I, personally, struggle greatly with sharing myself at all. But when I can manage it? I'm most always rewarded with reassuring feedback.

Aside from all that, they want to experience, on some level, your life through your eyes.

And everybody loves a good rant.

I think that's the mix.

So...COME ON DOWN! You're the next contestant on The Blog is Ripe! [Cue PIR theme...]

amanda said...

Little did you know when you wrote this that in late 2009 you'd have the "stiff slinger" at your disposal to keep you on track with the newest/latest/greatest funeral home slang....