Let me start off by saying that I am about to offend someone. I don’t know who, but I smell offense in the offing. Why? Because I have a serious question and when I ask this question, people are going to say, “Ooh, that’s a tad insensitive,” or “You should have left this one alone.”
But since common sense and myself don’t always see eye to eye, I am going to ask anyway.
Okay, here it goes:
Why do people have stickers on the rear windows of cars that say “In memory of ” with a person’s birth and death date? I don’t understand why people need to display this type of information on their cars. Is their vehicle dedicated to the deceased? Is the deceased resting in peace in the wheel well?
I am not being disrespectful; I just don’t get it. I do get the ribbons for the various diseases and conditions; I get the stickers that tell the world where you vacation or where you like to travel; I get the perfect little family stick figures; I get school and college decals; I get decals that brag about loving a certain dog breed or loving dogs that have no clear breed; I get stickers that boast about kids’ academic achievements or their activities; and I even get that people want to use their cars as a soapbox for their political views. But I don’t get the death announcement sticker.
I guarantee you that if I pulled up alongside someone with the death sticker on their car and asked how the person on the sticker died, the driver would most likely think I was a death groupie and tell me to mind my business. If you don’t want people to ask questions, why is it plastered on your car window?
I will admit that when I see one of these decals, my heart breaks. If I am behind the wheel, I will inch my car closer so I can read the entire sticker and then I tend to sigh out loud if the person on the sticker was young. But my pity will end quickly if the driver stops short and I find that I can read the sticker clearly only because I am attached to the mourning person’s bumper.
So, I am back to my original question: why the sticker? Is it meant to be a notice of public mourning in the modern era? I guess it’s not that odd. At one time, grief used to be pretty public. For example, widows wore black well after the funeral. Mourning attire sent a message that said they were sad and more important–off limits to men. The black clothing usually disappeared about the time the bereaved started to realize that her mood might be lifted with an overnight date. But honestly, I have witnessed women give up a multi-colored wardrobe permanently after the demise of their spouses. Some of these women liked the fact that mourning black made them look slimmer, while others adopted it as a way to say “No man, nowhere can live up to my dead husband, and so there is no reason to even try—so back off!”
I don’t know if the death decals will remain popular. I don’t even know where grieving people get them. Do they come in a souvenir packet from funeral homes? Well, if they do maintain popularity, I can see the companies that specialize in these decals expanding their car stickers to include other memorials for luggage, sporting equipment, iPad covers, garden flags, pet clothing, t-shirts and, of course, the obligatory baseball caps. Yes, death truly is a sticky business.