DEMOTTE, Ind. — Saying goodbye to a loved one is not an easy task.
Jean Lahm of Lowell, Indiana, works at a funeral home, so she has seen it all when it comes to remembering lost loved ones. Faced with the death of her own father late last month, she decided to give his obituary a hilarious twist, hoping that during a sad time, “laughter would be the best medicine.”
Terry Wayne Ward, age 71, of DeMotte, IN, escaped this mortal realm on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018, leaving behind 32 jars of Miracle Whip, 17 boxes of Hamburger Helper and multitudes of other random items that would prove helpful in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
Lahm believes the rest of the obituary would have made her father laugh out loud, befitting the life and laughter that he embodied every day of his life.
“Everyone says, ‘When I pass away, I want people to celebrate my life. I want people to laugh,'” Lahm said. “No one ever says, ‘When I pass away, I want all my relatives to be miserable.’ This is my way of honoring a man who held this philosophy very close to him.”
Lahm said Ward was a character. He was one of a kind, a responsible provider for his family, but rarely — almost never— a serious person. She knew that being surrounded by sadness was not the way he would want to be remembered.
So she honored him in a way that seemed fitting, including:
He despised “uppity foods” like hummus, which his family lovingly called “bean dip” for his benefit, which he loved consequently. He couldn’t give a damn about most material things, and automobiles were never to be purchased new. He never owned a personal cell phone and he had zero working knowledge of the Kardashians.
Only a handful of people knew Terry Ward; however, Lahm’s sense of humor during a dark and sad time caught the attention of people nationwide. The obituary quickly went viral, receiving over 1,000 comments after it was posted on the death notice website legacy.com.
“I read many, many comments — probably hundreds of comments — online from people who never knew him, and said the nicest things,” she said. “Things like, ‘ I wish I would have known him,’ and ‘I want my obit to be like this,’ and ‘What a great way to memorialize someone.'”
“Be like Terry,” one comment said.
“It enables you to move forward. In the most of pain, you can still find laughter,” Lahm said. “When you can memorialize someone in this way, it truly does allow us to celebrate his life. He deserved that.”
The back of Ward’s prayer card even included one of his favorite movie quotes. It was from the 1980 comedy, “AIRPLANE!”
” I just want to tell you both good luck. We’re all counting on you,” the quote said,
“I can just picture him up there. He is in his favorite chair. He’s just sitting back, roaring with laughter. I just feel that,” Lahm said.
The obituary ends the following way:
“Memorial donations in Terry’s name can be made to your favorite charity or your favorite watering hole, where you are instructed to tie a few on and tell a few stories of the great Terry Ward.”
Her mother, Ward’s wife of 48 years, thought it was perfect.