So, this lady died. Anyone reading this site is likely to either know exactly who I'm talking about, or to have no idea who I'm talking about. Not really relevant whether you knew her or not. Only relevant that she was a true fixture at Rich O's, and she up and died on us.
Almost immediately after her death, the petition for beatification started making its rounds. It's still making its rounds. That's what happens when people die. They're suddenly the greatest person who ever lived, and everyone I mean everyone is devastated that they're gone. Because they were so great, and stuff.
So the poor huddled masses left behind, they want to do something to honor and sing the praises of the person that lived, so that maybe that person wouldn't seem quite as dead. I mean, memories certainly outlive people, may as well let them be good memories, right?
Right? Even at the cost of honesty?
Part of it might be because of guilty conscience, part of it might be because of the glaring reminder of our own mortality, and a lot of it is simply going with the mourning flow. Mostly, I like to think, it's because people are genuinely decent at their cores. Most people, anyway.
This lady who died, she was very nice. She was very friendly. She was also quite pushy at times, and a gossip most of the time. There, I said it. I think she managed to piss me off more over the last couple of years than not, prying as she was so wont to do. I think she managed to make as many people feel uncomfortable as she made feel welcomed.
For the last couple of years, my own interactions with her were reduced to simple hellos and goodbyes. Any deeper discussion was off limits between us, and eventually she figured that out and stopped pressing.
Nobody's perfect. Not even after they die. This might be cold, but it's also true. And the lady who died, she was smart enough and certainly honest enough to know it. She would hold no ill will towards me for the words I write tonight. She'd appreciate them, for they're clearly neither empty praise nor pointless parroting.
That place, Rich O's, has certainly changed a lot over the years that I've been going there. Then, a couple of Thursdays ago, it changed a lot more. Like I told her son at the informal wake the night of the funeral, Rich O's will never be the same again.
The world is a worse place now than it was a couple of weeks ago. I can't always say that, but I can say it now.