It’s important that you get to know Mike. But I’m guessing you’ll only get to know him vaguely. That’s the way most people did – vaguely, just a little bit, mostly lovingly, and, ultimately, with frustration.
One of the strange things about death is that, at least for awhile, the ones who remain living continue to think that the one who has died is still alive. And, with Mike, it seemed even more so. His agreeable nature enabled him to blend in so seamlessly in every situation that his loss, once fully realized, was felt strongly.
Oh, for sure, he could be annoying. A growing dependency on insulin injections in the last 15 years caused him a tough time in group situations. He acted recklessly from time to time, trying to squeeze every ounce of enjoyment out of what he saw to be left for him on Earth. He had always been prone to exaggeration – perhaps the byproduct of trying to fit in as normal when indeed he was not.
The stages of death are discovery – your first realization that someone has passed from this life; then you enter a period of adjustment in which your emotions swing from anger to acceptance, and, lastly, you engage your memories – this is the realm of eternity.
It’s in the memory stage when the deceased become re-invented. Their over-arching attributes and faults rise to the surface and a legacy begins.
I have always found it intriguing how people can’t seem to avoid truth in their eulogies. Instead of merely passing over the traits of the deceased which most people want to forget, they use euphemisms to acknowledge them. Their remarks at the final service become, in effect, inside jokes between them and the congregation. So, for example, an ego-driven person is described as “self-assured.” One who’s been mean to others is said to have had been “tough.”
Mike was “eccentric.”
Vic Zast, Our Longest Drive Traveler
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