So I called the Reverand Roper—did I say that—and got him on his cell phone. He was in his car, driving around somewhere in South Carolina, and found out that Joan’s ashes had arrived back there. I said we would dig the hole. The idea of somebody out in that heat, digging a hole for Joan, disturbed me. But he said somebody back there would do it. So we will be in Ora on the 16th of June (knock on wood) having spent a few days in Charleston for R and R. So it looks as if Brother Dave and sister-in-law Teresa, and Nephew Brian, maybe, and Brother Steve, and Carol and I and maybe some relatives from the area will be at the grave site.
I keep thinking about what epitath I might put on Joan’s stone were I to do such a thing and the phrase that keeps popping into my mind is something like:
Dear Lord, she couldn’t help herself.
That doesn’t sound so hot I guess, but, well, it’s the truth. She really couldn’t. She was miserable and had a knack for sharing her misery with others. She really couldn’t do anything about it.
Maybe that’s what happens When Parents Die. You say to yourself, well, that’s that. C’est finie. C’est tout, folks. That’s a wrap. Elvis has left the building. The show is over. Because, when they do finally die, there is no possibility whatsoever that something might happen that might redeem the whole mess (whatever that might be). Joan and Bill were true to themselves to the bitter end. So that didn’t happen. The redemption thing, I mean.
One finds one’s self thinking about them as unavoidable natural disasters, things that befell one. Stuff that just happened, is all. And it just couldn’t have been otherwise.
Freedom lies, Hegel said, in the recognition of necessity.