09 October 2013

When a Eulogy Isn't Quite Right

My aunt died last week.

I do not believe I ever knew anyone so well who was so emotionally crippled, so thoroughly wrapped up in her own self-created miserable life. As I pause to remember her, I struggle to think of a single attribute of her life, a single personality trait, a single accomplishment that would prompt me to commend her to others as a model for living.  I cannot come up with even one.

She did not care for herself, and because she did not care for herself she was incapable of caring for others.  She never learned the simple joy of living contentedly in her own skin, of making something of the life she'd been given, of entering into genuine relationship with other human beings.

To be fair, she may not have even been capable of these things.  Some people are just dealt a poor hand.  She was never in good health, never possessed much attractiveness, and was plagued by mental health issues throughout her life (undiagnosed early on, I'd guess, and increasing in scope and severity until she could not but be treated or cease functioning at all competently).  Still – and this is the part I keep coming back to – she seemed hell-bent on sabotaging even what few things she did have going for her, opting instead for a life lived increasingly alone, surrounded by consumer products (yes, she was a compulsive shopper and hoarder), and in stubborn refusal to work with her doctors in matters of diet and movement and the rest.

She seemed to take a shining to me, though, and I never was on the receiving end of her fits and tantrums.  In fact, she was rather kind to me, and she took an interest in my life, though I never felt like I was at all at liberty to give her more than just the most cursory account of my goings on. For that, of course, I am most grateful.

If you are still reading this, do me a favor.  Send some merit in her direction.  A hungrier ghost you are not likely to find.

May she one day be at ease.  May whatever sufferings she endured in this life go some distance to making her subsequent burdens lighter.  May she one day find her True Home.

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