Content here represents the voice of SIGNATURE SUNSETS, an informational initiative designed to broaden and brighten horizons in the funerary domain.

The material is an outgrowth of a pre-planning reference book, Pondering Leaves: Composing and Conveying Your Life Story's Epilogue, written by the author of this blog.


Thursday, January 12, 2017



Is there anyone among the mortal masses who has never heard the term “croaking” flippantly used instead of “dying” in reference to the cessation of one’s existence? Probably not, at least in Western culture where the word is a common colloquialism that helps avert a full frontal view of life’s inescapable ending.  

It’s a versatile word. As a noun, a “croak” is the low, hoarse sound made by a frog. As a verb, it relates to the utterance made by individuals with a sore throat. Somehow, the word “croak” made its way into an 1873 slang dictionary, in which its definition was: “To die – from the gurgling sound a person makes when the breath of life is departing.” A contemporary online dictionary cheerily clarifies the definition by noting, “When people croak, they need either a glass of water or an undertaker.”

So the death rattle apparently led to adoption of this handy word as a breezily glib term for dying. When this fact of life must be mentioned, yet forthright terminology is too intimidating, the camouflaged representation does the trick and gets the message across.  

This offhanded vernacular definition of “croaking” invites its relevant application as a figurative concept. When frogs emit their distinctive sounds, they are heard far and wide. These creatures of audible distinction can serve as vociferous role models for human beings when it comes to end-of-life planning. “Croaking” can be an expression of foresighted benefaction for family members, rendered by making one’s voice heard through some form of declaration. A proclamation of preferences or intentions for one’s death management can be a resonant form of expression and communication… modeled after the announcements of croaking creatures who are utterly adept at vocalized transmission.      

So maybe the term, “funeral preplanning” should be changed to “frog emulation,” with effective croaking as the goal.  

For our local “Exiter University” programs addressing death education, frogs are on hand as visual reminders of this objective. They represent an opportunity for action and articulation. Upon beginning the process of funerary advance planning, a learner’s outlook might be suggestive of a tadpole – unremarkable and much like others, perhaps assuming that one’s end-of-life affairs will be repeats of standard versions, without acknowledging and celebrating individual features. As a result of coming together and sharing information, maybe one’s mortality mindset morphs into some version of a noisy frog – eventually broadcasting one’s unique defining characteristics and a strong voice projected for beloved familial companions to observe. The primary thrust of this educational venture entreats transformation of personal attitudes toward preparing for death coupled with activation of communication about its management.     

So, to all who are ready to hop into this field of endeavor… hear ye, hear ye!  First, explore the invigorating funerary territory marked by color, novelty, and energizing stimulation… then let your voice be heard so you can:


Definition:  http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2012/01/croak.html

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