I was gone this weekend at a memorial service for an uncle. It was tastefully done, hard to watch my family grieving. To lose your son when you are seventy-six, eighty years old.
He had lived a life. It was documented, “full,” as in: even if it didn’t hang on one thread, you could point to a hazy boundary line inside which were those things that were him. Some of the speakers tried to account for that boundary. Even with the span of years complete, those accounts were provisional. Not inadequate, provisional. The sense of an ending. The sense in which a person is and is not like a powdered corpse laid out in his wedding suit.
He was in terrible physical pain for most of his life and seldom complained. Expecting it to be otherwise, that’s one wrong thing. We didn’t sign any papers, and no one is keeping our rights in a cave under lock and key. I guess if the heavenly spheres could talk, they would complain about their orbits.
My uncle’s widow had my sister read that chapter from First Corinthians, the one about agapē, that everyone reads at weddings these days. The King James text rendered it “charity”; this was the modern rendition “love.” I think charity is better. Broadly construed.