This past week a friend died. Truth be told we didn't know Maurice very well but are close to his wife, Bonne. The obituary in the Times listed his varied career as musician, actor and thirty years in the financial world. His last wish for a memorial was a celebration complete with jazz band.
The best response to dying is living the joyful noise; meeting sorrow head on. At a certain age we know there's a man going around taking names and we're on that list, somewhere. Maurice was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just three weeks ago and choose not to prolong his allotted time. He went out on his own terms, even directing his posthumous passage as if speaking through the piano, trumpet and drum.
A few days ago Peggy and I had a rare argument. I felt wronged, she apologized, I lashed out further, she withdrew, I was contrite, and 12 hours later we were back in each other's arms. Even that is too long estranged; a small death. Love, for us, is nothing less than being defenseless with trust implicit. We put our lives in each other's hands.
Perhaps this is healthy; to pull back and refresh our perspective. I'm not persuaded.It feels more like a needless waste
The way we tell of a life in an obit is a pale coda. We list one's achievements, titles; the sort of material Google might note. Yet we know this is not the measure of the man. How can a life be summed up? Perhaps it lies more in the Being than in the Doing. How generous and present we are, offering our vulnerable self and receiving others, how forgiving and enabling we live, how congruent we live out our principles and how well we love. Invest meaning in each day as if our lives depended on it, all ways beyond measure.