My parents were so disappointed when they heard that I had passed.

Yes, it’s true. When my parents heard that I had passed, they were sad and disappointed.

They had been hoping I’d get honours.

No. I’m not talking about dying, well, not yet.

I’m talking about the Leaving Certificate.

It’s was 49 years ago when my father and I went down to Blackrock to college my results.

We opened the enveloped.

Two honours!
My face lit up.

His dropped.

So why am I telling you this.

It’s because the use of the word “passed” to describe a death is annoying. It’s especially annoying because most of the people who use it don’t even believe that the person who has died has passed on to anywhere at all.

Passed on it just about acceptable.

This I know because, before writing this, I checked with the most authoritative source in the world for words to describe death.

An undertakers’ handbook? No. A dictionary? No.

I checked the script from Month Python’s Parrot Sketch!

So. Here are the words which are acceptable: 




Is no more

Ceased to be


Gone to meet his maker

Is a stiff

Bereft of life

Rests in peace

Pushing up daisies

His metabolic processes are history!

He’s off the twig!

He’s kicked the bucket

He’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, 

He’s run down the curtain 

He has joined the choir invisible!! 

As for the picture up there, that’s Deans Grange Cemetery.

I passed it during the week.

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