Allison Pearson is now at the Telegraph.
While Himself revels in the glorious, swashbuckling lives of chaps called Buster and Ronald, my eye is always drawn to the tiny paragraph at the end of the obituary. “He married in 1956, Jennifer, who survives him with their three boys.”
“Is that it?” I cry. Is that all poor Jennifer gets for a lifetime dedicated to supporting Ronald and their three sons? Twelve measly words? I can’t help picturing Jennifer out walking their black lab, then back home to sort out the washing and perhaps a quick bowl of soup before going to collect her grandson, Archie, from nursery because his parents are at work and Jennifer likes to help, though she doesn’t have the energy she used to.
I think of Jennifer driving her three boys to school, back and forth, back and forth, the self-replenishing pong mountain of PE kit (rugby for Matthew and Will, hockey for James) and all those parents’ evenings when Jennifer was alone because Ronald was tied up in Tokyo or busy in Bogota.
In 2010, is it right that an obituary should measure the worth of a man’s life solely by his achievements at work? His career will not survive beyond the grave, but the kind of husband and father he was will live on in his children and in their children. As for the Jennifers, why should they be relegated to a footnote when even the divorce courts now acknowledge their huge contribution to a household’s success?
Because it\’s his obituary you daft twat, not hers.
Your obituary will mention having been married to Simon and then moving on to living with Anthony. And that\’s all the mention they\’ll get.