Can someone please explain to me why we "saint" people after they pass away?
Have you ever noticed this, or have you done this yourself? After someone passes away, no matter what that person was guilty of and no matter how irritated you were with this person, after he or she is gone, it just doesn't matter.
Whatever his faults were, you no longer hold any hostilities toward him. All the anger you held onto while he was alive miraculously diminishes. Apparently, this person never did anything wrong and was never responsible for any wrongdoing!
I know I am guilty of this. What I don't understand is why I couldn't have had this perspective while these people were still alive.
Why are all of those little idiosyncrasies that once drove me insane now entertaining and charismatic? In retrospect, why do I miss their crazy antics so much? Why couldn't I have been more tolerant before, and why now is it so amusing?
There were many times when my father's escapades not only infuriated me, but also embarrassed me. I recall times when I would excuse myself from a room so I could gain my composure. Now I eagerly tell stories to my children and friends with immense pride. I have put my father on a pedestal.
When I think of how many times I was angry at him and how long I would hold a grudge, I am ashamed of myself and filled with much regret. I question myself when I reflect back: Why couldn't I have had this insight before? Why couldn't I just accept him and his behavior?
Now I acknowledge and accept that this, in fact, is who my father was. This behavior made him distinctive, exceptional and irreplaceable; it's what made him the eccentric spirit he was.
I wish I could have stopped and put things in this perspective while he was still alive. I can only imagine the peaceful atmosphere I could have lived in.
Recently I lost a beloved friend; he, too, was a force of nature and a character -- a scriptwriter's dream. His temperament and disposition at times drove me insane. I would question, "Why does he have to be so difficult? Why can't he just think and react like a normal person?"
On certain occasions, I would have to distance myself from him. I wish I could get that lost time back. My heart now is filled with remorse for my stubbornness. What I have come to understand and appreciate is that this is what attracted me to him; this behavior is what made him the priceless individual he was.
A day doesn't pass that I don't long for their dysfunctional behavior. My father and my friend made life exhilarating; they made an ordinary day extraordinary!
Which brings me back to acceptance. Why can't we condition ourselves to live like this? I now try to see individuals for who they are, and when they say or do something that irritates me, I remind myself that this is what makes them special, and it's certainly why I love them.
It doesn't work all the time, but I find myself letting go of small things that could have escalated. I remind myself that this person may not always be around, and try to make light of unsettling situations.
The next time you're with a loved one and your teeth and fists are clenched tightly, please remember this article. If we could all just "saint" the people we love now, our lives and theirs would be enriched.