My mother died on September 3, 2013, and I wrote a long obituary for her for the Observer. I felt conflicted about running it. On the one hand, I have a longstanding devotion to obituaries and remembrances of all kinds. I believe in them and ran superlong and detailed ones of lots of people, famous and non-famous. On the other hand, I was aware that a 2000-word tribute to the editor’s mother, a totally private person who almost no one knew, was kind of indulgent.
Obviously, I winded up deciding to run it. I’m glad I did. It’s not my cleanest writing, but it’s raw and powerful and really does capture some of her complexity. I remember Faye Penn really giving this a great edit, from the heart. She made such a good point about the Neiman Marcus line and I could tell she put her heart into it because she knew what this story meant to me.
You can click the link above for an audio version of me reading it.