He shrugged. ‘You don’t care.’
He was so matter-of-fact, so completely unperturbed. He was our best friend, who’d returned to college from a holiday a few days late – the only reason we knew his mother had died. And when we asked in dismay why he hadn’t told us she was even sick, we got his dispassionate answer.
Some kind of pride has always made it hard to admit that there’s a certain truth to what he said. I do care about the pain of the living. I care about their heart ache, their grief. I care very much about their healing and how their future will look to them without someone they love.
But what about those dead people – people I didn’t know?
I’ve got some dead people I loved deeply, truly and dearly and I don’t expect anyone else to care about them. I do wish you knew them, though.
* * * * * * * *
‘She wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea,’ a friend said, ‘but she was ours.’ There’s a good possibility you wouldn’t have liked her.
She was an information junkie before the internet made it easy – outrageously smart and sort of floating around in a cloud of righteousness. She almost always knew what to do because she just … did and did it with inimitable, uncompromising character. People with that kind of character aren’t so easy to find and when you find them – they aren’t so easy.
She was many things great and wonderful and she had weaknesses, too. She was unforgiving. She saw betrayal where there was only disagreement. I miss her strengths, but those weaknesses, those quirks, continue to educate and guide me.
She is very much alive not just in memory. She shows herself in the way I live.
Those dead people. We love them without even knowing it when we love someone who loved them.