I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Little Things

The funeral home my family uses sent me a "funeral planning survey" this week. It asks some good questions, such as: How much might you expect to pay for a funeral? Do you maintain up-to-date biographical information and accurate family records to assist you or a loved one with funeral preplanning? Have you ever heard of prepaid funeral plans?

Of course, their main goal is to get you to respond in the affirmative to the question: Would you like FREE information about funeral planning and the types of services which are available? Notice the passive voice there? They don't say, "the types of services which we offer," instead they say, "which are available."

But this isn't a grammar lesson. Instead, this post is about question number 6: In the event of your death, who would be responsible for making arrangements? Responders have two options. They can either check the "spouse" box or the "children" box. There is no option for "other" with a blank line to explain. Just the assumption that everybody is either married and/or has children.

As a single person, this doesn't offend me. No offense was intended. I just notice it, along with the other subtle reminders I see – the large package of skinless chicken breasts on sale at the grocery store I pass up, the older couple who walked hand-in-hand in front of me the other day, friends' relationship flag on Facebook flipping from single to relationship.

I don't own any of these subtleties and they do not own me. They just are. But, to say they don't exist wouldn't be honest. I notice them. I also notice the subtle ways people I know show they care.
Latte reads her card
Latte reads her card
In the same batch of mail in which I received the funeral planning survey, my cat received a card from a friend and his wife. Actually, it was from their cat. The card shows a cat peering into a toilet bowl, saying, "This is great! I just have to press the handle and the punch bowl refills!"

So, why in the world would anybody go to the trouble of spending three dollars on a card, plus postage, for somebody else's cat? The answer is pretty simply, really.

This couple knows I lost a cat five months ago. I had her for 20 years, and, as I said in this post, she was all I had. They also know I have a new cat, who is quite the rounder by the way, and that by doing something for her, they were doing something for me.

The little things in life – the subtle reminders of what we don't have, the cards that remind us of what we do have, the unspoken and the spoken words, the remembered and unremembered birthdays – they all add up.


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