Friday, May 15, 2009

Synopsis of a Life Story on a Single Page

My brother and I brought my sister’s ashes back to Minnesota. With them came her death certificate. I have never really read one before. It surprised me how much information is told about a person in a single sheet of paper.

It tells her whole name, date of birth and date of death. These are all things I would expect. But it also tells our deceased parents names and informs the reader that she was never in the armed forces and was never married. Her death certificate tells us the highest level of education she had and that she was in the art industry, additionally her profession was listed as artist. There are various other boxes filled in.

Of course we were interested to see exactly what the cause of death was:

Hyperkelemia 2/2 ARF

But there must be about ten or eleven things listed as contributing factors – all the way back to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. So basically it has her medical history right there.

While this is a ton of information about Lee, it’s not really anywhere near the whole story.

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