08/10/13 10:00am

The first time I wrote an obituary was Feb. 27, 2012. It was for my mother-in-law, who had died the day before. She was a wonderful person whose life was cut short by a terrible disease. It was the hardest piece I’ve ever written.

My husband’s family designated me as the writer at the funeral home, mostly because I worked at the local paper. I had never written anything using Associated Press style, and was a distraught family member. Did I include how much she loved her husband? Did I include how much she loved her sons and her grandsons? Do I mention how much she loved all of us — even those who came by luck and not by blood?

LAURA HUBER

Each time I read the obituary, I cried. I cried when I called my coworker. I kept saying, “We thought we had more time.”

This was about a year before it became my job to write obituaries for this newspaper. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Closer,” you’ve heard Jude Law’s character discuss his job as an obituary writer, stoically, in a British accent, and then discuss the euphemisms they use to reflect alternative lifestyles.

When people find out I write obituaries, they ask me if it’s depressing. I usually tell them I balance it out with weddings and births, but that’s not true. I see many, many more obituaries than I do weddings or births, thanks to social media.

But I don’t really find obituaries depressing. They’ve taught me some important lessons about my own life, and given me some healthy advice, which I will now pass along.

Write your own obituary now

I have met with best friends, life partners and grieving family members. Some know every intimate details about the life of the person they’re telling me about. Some don’t know much at all. Each of us has a different part of our life story.

For me, my parents have the beginning piece; my husband, family and friends can fill in; and my children and, hopefully grandchildren, will have the later chapters.

Each person would tell a very different story. Nobody will tell my story the way I want it. They’ll all be grieving. They’ll be trying to remember the meals I made, the hugs I gave them and the way I made them laugh. They don’t need a stranger asking them what my mother’s maiden name was.

If I write it now, they can celebrate, remember, cry and fill in the new details. I’ll update it from time to time, put it in a place where everyone can find it, and won’t have to worry about anyone spelling Catrow with a K.

Live a life worth writing about

I’ve written and read about people who sailed around the world, served in wars, taught children to read or took care of their grandchildren.

Whatever you do, do it with passion and love. Don’t care if anyone else thinks you’re crazy. If you love to write, start a blog. If you love music, play it loudly. If you love car racing, get on the track. You are more than the desk you sit behind or the children you birthed. Live passionately, at least a little bit, every day. Love what you do and who you are.

Have empathy for the grieving

Everyone grieves differently. When I talk to a woman who can’t find her purse because her son just died, I listen. When I speak with a woman who is angry with the coroner’s office, I listen. Sometimes, I get off the phone, I take a deep breath, wipe my eyes and move on to the next obituary. I have to.

My heart breaks for these people, and their loss. Each one of the living has a story and a connection, the same way each obituary tells a story.

Live each day as if it’s your last

I’ve written obituaries for infants, teenagers, people my age, people in their 90s. Each day is a gift, and the next one may not be there. However you live, live life as though it may not be there the next day.

Take time to hug your children and tell them you love them. Don’t hold grudges with family or friends. Hug your parents, even when they drive you crazy. Someday, they won’t be here.

After I hang up the phone with families, I hope that I have helped each person in a small way. I’m just a tiny piece of the puzzle, but I’m really lucky to learn about so many different lives and people.

We all have stories, and I’m privileged to tell them.

Ms. Huber is an editorial assistant with Times/Review Newsgroup. She can be reached at lhuber@timesreview.com or 631-298-3200, ext. 250.

08/24/12 1:59pm

 

Summer’s almost over, but the good thing is that the weather is supposed to be amazing this weekend. Here are some fun things you can do this weekend with friends and family … or even by yourself.

Friday night is music night. There are live music events happening at Floyd Memorial Library in Greenport, the Peconic Riverfront in Riverhead and Mitchell Park.

Have scrap metal lying around? Drop off your aluminum, steel, iron, tin, copper or brass at Our Redeemer Luthern Church on Saturday. Help the youth group raise money for the 2013 LCMS National Youth Gathering. Call 631-379-0228 for pickup information.

For Sale: A little bit of everything. Saturday morning you can check out the “Churchyard Show” at Old Steeple in Aquebogue, a barn sale hosted by the Southold Presbyterian Women’s Group on Wells Ave in Southold, or the Old Town Arts & Crafts Guild’s book and bake sale in Cutchogue. Time it right and you can enjoy all three.

Fun for the whole family: Movies on the Beach at South Jamesport Beach. Watch “Dolphin Tale” at 7:30 p.m. and stay for “Goonies” at 9:45. Bring chairs and blankets, and a picnic dinner.

Sail aboard the schooner “SoundWaters” all weekend. Leave Mitchell Park Marina at either 2 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. Children must be over age 6 to participate.

On Shelter Island: Don’t miss the Farmers Market at the Shelter Island Historical Society. Live music and fresh produce. Spend the morning there and then head over to Southampton for a book signing and dessert with Tate’s Bake Shop owner Kathleen King.

The famous Pindar Sunflowers are ready for the picking. Visit Pindar for a nice glass of wine on their back porch and pay $1.00 for each stem you pick.

Check Times Review events page for more events at the vineyards and other local hotspots. If you’re a subscriber, take a look at our new e-paper. Just find our e-paper icon at the top of the page. If you’re not a subscriber, email epaper@timesreview.com and start your subscription today.

Comment below if you have any questions or want to reach out to Main Road Red. You can also reach me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Have a great weekend.

08/17/12 2:29pm

What’s happening this weekend on the North Fork? For starters, everyone’s favorite, the 38th annual Polish Fair, is Saturday and Sunday. My favorite? The kielbasa sandwiches and potato pancakes. Great food and music. You can read more about the festival history here.

The Old House in Cutchogue is offering behind the scenes tours on Saturday. Come out and view the oldest English house in New York state. Before you go, take a look at a video tour here.

Like tomatoes? Then you’ll love the Harbes Tomato festival. There’s also a corn-eating contest, face-painting, wine tasting and much more. Family Pack prizes will be awarded for the best dressed tomato. Head over there Saturday.

The North Fork Environmental council will be hosting “Bike What’s Left,” Saturday morning. The event starts at 10:3o in Mattituck at the train station, and you can choose Loop 1 (25+ miles) or Loop 2 (10-mile family ride) Helmets are required. Celebrate your victory with hot dogs and refreshments after the ride.

If you’re a lighthouse lover, East End Seaport Museum is offering a lighthouse cruise, visiting Bug Light, Orient Point, Plum Island and Little Gull. Fee includes deli box supper and complimentary bottle of water or glass of wine. Meet at the Third Street Ferry dock at 3:30 p.m. for passes.

If you’re heading over to Shelter Islandon Saturday, check out the Charity Cricket Game and Festival at Fiske Field. Admission is free and the proceeds benefit the Shelter Island Ambulance Fund. Stay over and you can go out and watch the Great Shelter Island (Rubber) Duck race. Each Duck is $20 and the money goes to toward supporting the annual fireworks display.

Two great music events are happening Sunday night. First, the NOFO Rock Festival is happening at Peconic Bay Winery, featuring the Dirt Farmer Band from Woodstock, N.Y. You can purchase tickets from Peconic Bay Winery or purchase them online. You can also celebrate 10 years of Peconic Landing by attending their “Overture of Thanks.” Music is performed by the Atlantic Wind Symphony, followed by a fireworks show.

If you didn’t see your event or want more information about any of the events above, go to events.timesreview.com. You can also email me here or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

07/13/12 12:59pm

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The Mattituck Street Fair is fun for the whole family.

Hey everyone. I’m back from vacation and just in time. There are a lot of great events happening this weekend all over the North Fork. For times, locations and other information about my picks and all the other events happening this weekend, check out events.timesreview.com.

One “must do” event is the Mattituck Street fair. There’s music, craft booths, food and much more. Beat the heat and get there early Saturday morning. Head back to the Love Lane area later in the day to pickup BBQ chicken dinners from the Mattituck Presbyterian Church. You can also call 631-298-4145 and get tickets in advance.

Another one of my favorites is the Long Island Antique Power Authority Tractor Pull and show at Hallockville. This event is fun for the whole family, and kids under 12 can get in for free. You’ll be amazed when you see how much weight these tractors can carry.

Many of you drive by my next pick every day: the Jamesport Carnival. The carnival runs through Saturday and there is a great fireworks display at night to conclude the event. Park on Peconic Bay Boulevard for the best view. My favorite spot is near the marina near the South Jamesport beach.

Tonight on Shelter Island, Shelter Island Reporter editor Peter Boody is discussing his new book, ‘Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me.’ For more information, call the Shelter Island Library.

Shelter Island is also having fireworks Saturday night at Crescent Beach. The show begins at dark, and I know you can also see from points in Greenport.

Riverhead & Greenport are having live music events tonight on the Peconic Riverfront and in Mitchell Park. Bring your chairs and blankets and enjoy a relaxing time.

Speaking of music and Mitchell Park, here’s a good way to spend your Monday evening. Head to Greenport for free ballroom dancing lessons, followed by “Monday Night Dances in the Park”. Families, pets and picnics welcome.

For more events, tips and tricks, follow me on Facebook and Twitter. And if you don’t see your event listed on our website, make sure you email me.

06/22/12 2:57pm

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | 2011 Cardboard Boat Race

School’s out and many of the North Fork schools will be having graduation ceremonies this weekend. Congratulations to all of the Class of 2012 graduates.

For all of the events mentioned, click on Events for more information.

The big event this weekend is the Cardboard Boat race happening on the Peconic Riverfront. Come down Sunday at noon and cheer on Team News-Review! Get there early to get a good spot.

For another type of boating experience, the Paddle Diva will be at the New Suffolk Waterfront Sunday morning for a stand-up paddleboarding tour of Peconic Bay.

Hallockville is inviting everyone to get “pickled” at its farm this Saturday.  You can learn about the canning process and take home a jar of  Garlic and Dill pickles. Sounds tasty.

Ever wanted to visit some local lighthouses? The East End Seaport Museum is hosting an evening lighthouse cruise Saturday night.

Make sure you check the weather forecast for any outdoor events happening tonight. There’s a severe thunderstorm watch in effect until 9 p.m. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and the gorgeous weather on Sunday.

If you didn’t see your event, email Main Road Red and we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again. You can also like me on Facebook, and post any events that you’re having.

06/15/12 5:00pm

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The 2010 Strawberry Queen, Veronica Stelzer, helps 2011 Queen Kaitlyn Doorhy with her cape.

It’s a big weekend on the North Fork and there are a lot of great events happening. Best advice I have for this week: go to events.timesreview.com for complete schedules of all of the events happening this weekend.

One important piece of advice for the Strawberry Festival. There are no fireworks on Saturday night this year. The fireworks are tonight at 10 p.m. Read more information here.

The Riverhead Blues festival is happening behind the riverfront. Find one of the Times Review folks and grab a Riverhead-News Review bracelet. Before you go, check out this Q & A with musical legend Johnny Winter. Very cool story.

Times Review folks will also be on Shelter Island for the 33rd annual Shelter Island 10K. Grab a Shelter Island Reporter bracelet at the finish line. This year the 10k celebrates “Olympic Spirit”, and there are a few people who help bring this spirt back to Shelter Island. Read more about them in the 10K journal.

Those are the big three … but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other great things to do this weekend.

Tonight at East End Arts Council, the Metaphysical & Paranormal Investigations of New York will be reporting its findings of some of the Council’s unexplainable mysteries. You can see more about the event and also find out more about MPI of NY.

Looking for that special someone? Speed Dating will be at Hotel Indigo this Saturday night. You have to register in advance, so call or click before tomorrow.

Blue Point Brewery and Jamesport Vineyards have teamed up to present a “Wine, Beer and Oyster festival.” Perfect way to spend time with Dad on Father’s Day.

And last but not least, if the North Fork is going to be too busy for you this weekend, and you want to get away for a day, you can still get tickets for the Cutchogue New-Suffolk Library bus trip into New York City.

If your event wasn’t mentioned, make sure it’s on Events. If you need help posting your event, email mainroadred@timesreview.com, and I’ll be happy to help you.

Have a great weekend!  Get out and enjoy.

06/08/12 2:30pm

 

Last weekend I sent everyone to yard sales. In the rain. Whoops! Let’s hope this weekend’s weather is a little better. There’s a slight chance of thunderstorms every afternoon from now until Labor Day, but that’s summer on the North Fork. Get out and (hopefully…) enjoy.

One of the biggest event happening out here this weekend is the Porch and Patio tour, presented by Elegant Bed and Breakfasts of the North Fork. Tickets are no longer available on the website, so call 631-734-7549 to get your tickets today.

Wine, cheese and…fracking? Group for the East End is hosting a reception Friday night for the exhibit “Women Speak Out on Gas Drilling.”

Another big event is Southold Historical Society’s annual yard sale. They have everything from furniture to photographs, and they’ve been collecting all year long.

Take the family to the Phillips Ave School for their annual PTO community festival. Lots of things for the kids including face painting, bounce houses and the Scholastic Book fair. Then get up early on Sunday morning and participate in “Healthy Riders, Healthy Riverhead”, a 5-, 15- or 25-mile bike ride around Riverhead. Don’t forget to bring your helmet.

And last but not least…if you’re in the market for a boat, head to Mitchell Park marina Saturday or Sunday to the in-water Boat Show. Get a glimpse of the newest models from dealers all over Long Island. Great way to start your summer!

Wait, you didn’t see your event on events.timesreview.com? Then email Main Road Red and she’ll help make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Keep sending me your events, tips and tricks and don’t forget to follow/like me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.