Finding the words to honor a loved one and sum up the impact of a life well lived, all while in the midst of one’s own grief, is a serious and difficult task.
But one man just proved that a thoughtfully penned obituary can also be a funny and surprisingly irreverent read.
In fact, people have enjoyed reading the entertaining words Andy Corren used to salute his late mother, Renay Mandel Corren, so much that her obit has become a viral sensation on social media. And you only have to take a moment to learn a little bit about “the bawdy, fertile, redheaded matriarch of a sprawling Jewish-Mexican-Redneck American family,” who “kicked it” on Dec. 11, to understand why.
As her son wrote, the 84-year-old of El Paso, Texas, had “many surviving children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many of whom she even knew and, in her own way, loved.” But they aren’t the only ones grieving her loss.
“There will be much mourning in the many glamorous locales she went bankrupt in: McKeesport, PA, Renay's birthplace and where she first fell in love with ham, and atheism; Fayetteville and Kill Devil Hills, NC, where Renay's dreams, credit rating and marriage are all buried; and of course Miami, FL, where Renay's parents, uncles, aunts, and eternal hopes of all Miami Dolphins fans everywhere, are all buried pretty deep,” he explained, adding. “Renay was preceded in death by Don Shula.”
If that humor sounds harsh, bear in mind that the woman in question would have been unlikely to find it so. After all, reverence wasn’t exactly her thing, and “a more disrespectful, trash-reading, talking and watching woman in NC, FL or TX was not to be found.”
Among the accomplishments credited to Renay, or “Rosie to her friends,” in the obit, were the following:
- In the 1980s, she ranked “11th or 12th" among female cribbage players in the U.S.
- She came up with the name of the gas company Sunoco.
- And in the 1960s, she had “an affair with Larry King.”
Of course, it’s also important to note that her son learned these details straight from the source, and “Renay lied a lot.” But while the truth may not have been her strong suit in life, she excelled at other things.
“Here's what Renay was great at: dyeing her red roots, weekly manicures, dirty jokes, pier fishing, rolling joints and buying dirty magazines,” the tribute read. “She said she read them for the articles, but filthy free speech was really Renay's thing. Hers was a bawdy, rowdy life lived large, broke and loud.”
Andy, who referred to himself as Renay’s “favorite son, the gay one who writes catty obituaries in his spare time,” noted that “a very disrespectful and totally non-denominational memorial” will be held “most likely at a bowling alley” in May of next year.
“The family requests absolutely zero privacy or propriety, none what so ever, and in fact encourages you to spend some government money today on a 1-armed bandit, at the blackjack table or on a cheap cruise to find our inheritance,” he continued. “She spent it all, folks. She left me nothing but these lousy memories.”
For those who haven’t already figured out that “lousy,” in this case, really means funny, treasured and adored, the last lines of the piece makes it clear.
“I, and my family of 5 brothers and my sister-in-laws, nephews, friends, nieces, neighbors, ex-boyfriends, Larry King's children, who I guess I might be one of ... loved and will cherish her. Forever. Please think of the brightly-frocked, frivolous, funny and smart Jewish redhead who is about to grift you, tell you a filthy joke, and for Larry King's sake: LAUGH. Bye, Mommy. We loved you to bits.”