Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Further Proof of my Inherent Awfulness
Okay, here's my deep thought for the day.

How come it is that as soon as someone gets sick or dies, everyone assumes that they are/were a good person?

I like my father-in-law. I care for him. But he is not, and has never been, a good-hearted individual. He doesn't show concern for the feelings or circumstances of others, unless it is in his whim to do so. But if it is inconvenient or just not in the right mood for him, he won't do good, caring things for others, even if the overall benefit would far outweigh any inconvenience or irritation in the moment. He does not do charitable acts. He views simple human kindness as suspect. He has said horrible, cutting things to family members which will continue to sting for the rest of their lives - on purpose to hurt them, not in the heat of the moment. And he meant them.

So why is it that my mother-in-law, and everyone else who knows about his illness, is insisting that "He's a good man who doesn't deserve to suffer"?? One hundred percent, absolutely, completely, I agree that he doesn't deserve to suffer. No one does. But he's not a good man. I don't think he's a BAD man - he's not a child abuser or a serial killer or a president - but he is not a GOOD man either. Somewhere in the middle.


And of course I can't say this out loud anywhere, because that makes me look like a total beast. So I'll just whisper it quietly onto my lonely little blog that is hidden out in cyberspace... 50 hits a day, that's still secret, right?

But really, isn't it better, more validating, more caring, to acknowledge someone for who they are rather than who you want them to be? If I were to pretend that my father-in-law was a gruff curmudgeon with a heart of gold, that wouldn't be true to who he is. Which is, a conflicted, complicated man who was often hurt by life and often chose to hurt others in return. He was generous when it suited him to be so, and I believe he did the best he could with what he was given.

I hope that I'm a good person. I try to be. But I also hope that at my funeral, people are able to laugh at my idiosyncrasies and recognize my humanity. Perfection is just too intimidating to me.