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By  Maureen O’Donnell Nov 11, 2022
In a way, I’ve been writing goodbyes for 13 years. That’s how long I’ve been the Sun-Times’ obituary writer.

 

But this goodbye — from reporting for the Sun-Times — is hard.

 

I’ve written too many obituaries of people who died in their 20s and 30s or died just days after retirement, their dreams of an African safari — or just the chance to clean out that garage — unrealized. I might contribute to the Sun-Times from time to time, but right now I’m planning to retire and travel.

I’ve spent most of my life in Chicago or on its fringes. I love her Cleopatran, infinite variety. And being an obituary writer gave me the luxury of being a student of her history and learning something every day. It’s been a privilege to hear your stories and share them.

They have given me a hint of what it would be like to live in a different place and time. They have taught me about the power of the human spirit to overcome.

They’ve made me feel I’ve carried on the Irish tradition of being a seanchaí — a storyteller. Or, in the words of a gamer I once interviewed, “You’re a psychopomp!” I loved being likened to mythological figures who help guide souls to the afterlife.

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