I read a beautiful obituary today:
It was a beautifully written tribute to a brother who became a sister. It was written by a brother. I have no idea regarding the dynamics of the writer and the deceased. Nor do I have any idea regarding the dynamics of this family. It was an obituary that made me smile. So, I reread it. And then as I read it a 3rd time, I realized that with just a few minor changes, I could change this lovely announcement to something that could honor everyone.
Brother Richard Arquette confirmed the news on his Facebook page, writing, “Our brother Robert, who became our brother Alexis, who became our sister Alexis, passed this morning September 11 at 12:32 a.m. He was surrounded by all of his brothers and sisters, and one of his nieces and several other loved ones. We were playing music for him and he passed during David Bowie‘s Starman. As per his wishes, we cheered at the moment that he transitioned to another dimension.”
“I am feeling immense gratitude to have been afforded the luxury of sharing life with him/her, for learning from Alexis, for being the gift of being able to love her/him and to be loved by him/her. He was a force.”
“He died as he lived, on his own terms. I am immensely grateful that it was fast and painless. It was an incredibly moving experience and I am humbled and grateful to have been able to have been with him as he began his journey onward. Thank you Alexis, I love you and will love you always,” Arquette concluded.
As I read it, my mind wandered in thought (I know, it shouldn’t be allowed to go out alone). I wondered if people who objected to the way Alexis lived her life would find the same beauty and celebration in her tribute. I couldn’t help but think there are people in my life that I struggle with. (And yes…..everything is about me…..even when an Arquette dies.) I narrow my thoughts to one in particular. This person is a force. Lives on their own terms. I wouldn’t wish them pain or torture. I am definitely grateful (not necessarily to them) for everything that they and that relationship taught me (how to make better choices, how to forgive, how to succeed after tragedy, how to overcome homicidal thoughts, etc…..). I don’t wish harm, I am apathetic. I really don’t care what happens to this person. I don’t care about them. I also do not care for them. How would I write that obituary or announcement?
I don’t like them; I don’t respect them; I don’t like their choices, etc. (it is fun to use semi-colons! I think I like the “air quotes” better). I do, however, respect their right to exist…..we don’t all have to like each other; I respect their right to make choices; I respect their right to live and die in any way they choose. I could use most of the words above. Maybe leave a few out, maybe add a few. But, it wouldn’t be that difficult to take this loving tribute and make it a celebration of that person’s life. Even if I didn’t consider them a role model. Hell….especially if I didn’t consider them a role model.
Which brings me to the next…….what if everyone treated everyone that way???????? You know, before they died? What if we treated people without judgment? What if we respected people without judgment?
Wouldn’t it be nice? (A fantastic song I would have shared but, the lyrics didn’t match my story)
The obit gave you a positive glimpse into the departed and a positive glimpse into the writer. Everybody wins. Nobody was dishonest. I can’t see where anyone could be offended. Just some rambling thoughts on a Sunday.