I've been thinking a lot about this for some time, and more just recently. You might think that's a bit morbid, but let me explain:
Right now I am in the deep throws of the worst morning sickness I have ever experienced (and I have been pregnant 5 times) during which I have to admit, I have complained. I have complained to my husband, my friends, my parents and anyone else who unwisely asked how I was feeling. Now, most of the time it was with a certain degree of humor, but I never did lie and say I was "fine." This has lead me to conclude that I would be a similar cancer patient if I were to ever get cancer. I'm not sure if It's just me, but it seems like of every person that either survives cancer or dies from it it is said that he or she was never heard complaining (I have been to the funeral of at least one person who died of cancer where this was said). At first I wanted to know, "Who are these people that wouldn't complain of radiation treatment?" And then, after concluding that it just isn't possible, I wondered if the person making this outrageous claim is really just an acquaintance and really the family (particualrly the spouse) is thinking "Yeah right, you should have been there when I was around!" Because I can imagine someone concealing the details of the way they feel from a friend or neighbor, but try as I might, I cannot conceive of a person that would not complain-- not even once-- while going through cancer or chemo.
I have also been reading a biography of Rose Marie Reid that was written by her daughter. This particular biography has been a bit hard to swallow because it goes on and on about how perfect and angelic Rose was. Even worse than that is the portrayal of Rose's parents in which a statement about her father says that "If he had one fault it would be his trusting nature." HELLO! That's not a fault, that's a virtue. When did we start confusing bad qualities with good ones? And I really resent the implication that he was so perfect that his only fault really wasn't a fault at all... puke. To me, this is a sign of poor writing. Sugar coated fluff does not a good book make.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the overwhelming temptation to show the deceased in their best light, but sometimes this just confuses the rest of us. It also makes me wonder what is said at the funerals of the people more prone to wickedness. What do they say for instance, at the funeral of a man who beat his wife and cheated on her, and then stole her money? He was a passionate opportunist?
This all makes me wonder what will be said in my eulogy, because I don't think I would recognize a version of me that only included my strengths (I'm not even sure what that would be).
I guess ultimately I like to hear that people are like me, they try their best to be good, but do not achieve perfection, they are tempted as anyone is, and make mistakes-- and when they were sick, they complained.