Why is it, that when people die, they become martyrs and paragons of virtue and shining humanity? Why is that people extend such courtesies to those who are dead and gone, while neglecting forgiveness and optimism on the lives of those still living? Wouldn't we be doing better if we would try to find the good in people while they are still alive, instead of waiting for disease or accident to take a life before we find any morsel of decency in another's life? We rarely trust, respect, or honor anyone while they are among the living, but the second they die, we want to forgive them of all of their sins and vices as we project them to be pillars of society as they were among the living. Do we do this because of guilt? Do we fell that we should have "done better by them" while they were living. Do we feel guilty that we often overlooked or ignored their needs as we lumped them into a general category of humanity as we do most other people that we encounter daily? Or is it arrogance? Do we feel that we can resolve their sins now that they are gone from this life? Do we have the power to do more than to forgive? Can we cover their sins by erecting a statue or muttering some kind words at a funeral service? Or maybe it's all due to the strong emotions inspired by all things dealing with death.
Please understand that I am not trying to be insensitive to death, and certainly not insensitive to the pains felt; sincere, heartfelt pains of those who may have lost someone dear to them. Nor am I trying to over-generalize or overlook the individuality of people and the manner by which they express grief. But I have to admit that I find the difference that life and death makes on a person's image to be difficult to understand at times.
Death does change things. And when we lose someone close to us, we hurt. And there is nothing insincere about that. But when we change in our minds, as to how or who that person was as they lived, we alter a great many things. And I'm not so certain that this alteration is altogether healthy. But that is just my opinion, and probably a muddled opinion at that. But I feel that when we alter, not chose to focus on the positive, but alter our opinions of who a person was after they die, we alter our perceptions of life and death. And as we alter our outlooks by guilt or arrogance, or confusion, we alter our perceptions of life after death; and that is a crucial element to our "psyche" for lack of a better word at the moment. It just seems to me that we should look at things realistically before, during, and after life.
And I'm sure that I am being as clear as mud. This happens when I try not to step on toes and when I mince my words. And do not think that this is a good trait or that I am making excuses for myself; as I am not. I am, however, trying to be honest and realistic; as I perceive honest and realistic to be. Which brings me to a point that may help clarify things somewhat:
When I die, the greatest honor you could do for me, other than have a bar-b-que instead of a funeral, is that everyone would remember me as I truly was. Don't overlook my bad points. My being dead will not change the fact that I am opinionated or that I can be difficult to deal with. My dying will not change the fact that I struggle with my temperament or that I tended to usually say too much. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want everyone to drag my name through the mud, for I have some very good qualities as well. And I hope that those qualities stand out much more than my bad qualities, but please do not erect a statue of me in an effort to make me a martyr; figuratively speaking of course. If you really know me, you will know my faults and if you really love me you will deal with those faults and still love me, whether I am dead or alive. And for the sake of my friends and family, there is no need to dwell on my negatives, as they know what they are more so than the casual bystander in my life...
...and I feel that this may have just muddied the water more than it was. And this blog is not about my life and times, but about how we deal with life and death. So many funerals in town recently, the Michael Jackson death( and yes, he is still dead according to the news), and today's news of Teddy Kennedy dying are some of the issues that has brought the death and stuff to the surface and on occupies my thoughts. And I'm trying real hard not to write about Kennedy and how his death will be an emotional boost for the health care reform. Kennedy will be a martyr for all things liberal, and many things that have and will hurt this country. But all will be forgotten because he has died. Not that we should dwell on his dead secretary or any of his flaws. It won't help anything or anyone now. We should learn from his life, and those lives of those who have died who may be close to us. We should look at things more realistically and less politically, and that goes for our friends and families, not just for politicians.
Because realistically death is the beginning of eternity. And we need to focus on things eternal, not the temporary life that we have right now. And if we realistically look at the lives of those around us, we should better understand about things eternal. The decisions we make now affect the hereafter, and the way in which we live our lives now, affect others; not the manner by which we die or by which a statue is erected in our honor.
I will try to end this very random blog on a note saying that memorials and good memories are not only acceptable, but cherished as well as healthy. Especially during the grieving process. But if we really know someone and really admire their lives, we should remember them honestly; and learn from their lives as we apply it to our lives. We should think eternally by admiring and learning from the finite, and doing our best to let our heads and hearts work together for the sake of souls.
I'm certain that this not the best blog ever written and that it is certainly not the most cohesive piece ever written either. But I do hope that it contains a few tid-bits of something useful, and that is causes us to think. And somehow, I hope this can make a positive change in the lives of the living, as it is too late for the deceased.
Morehouse Flood 2011
6 years ago