I feel the need to eulogize my friend Janice, who passed away this weekend. Janice, in the name of full disclosure, essentially drank herself to death. About a year and a half ago her doctor discovered liver damage and warned her that to continue drinking was a certain death sentence. A few months later her first born, in his early twenties, died in a rather freak accident. I guess she decided drinking was easier than not drinking. So she did.
In the late 80's, I was very close to Janice and her husband. She didn't have much, but she was always very generous with whatever she did have. I was just thinking about her last week, actually, following the acrylic nail tirade. She was never the type who would've indulged in something frivolous like that. I remember one year for Christmas I bought her a beautiful silk scarf. She said something to the effect of, "I don't mean to appear ungrateful, but you know what my life is like - when would I ever have occasion to use something like this?" I said, "wear it as a babushka next time you have a bad hair day, use it to tie your coat tighter around your neck when it's cold, throw it over a lampshade when you want to set a romantic mood - I don't know - just use it." I just wanted her to have something beautiful and elegant and refined. I knew it was impractical, but I still thought it was a swell gift. I'm not so sure she agreed.
Sitting in the back of the funeral chapel, I watched her three remaining sons mourn. They were sturdy young men I didn't recognize. Yet I'd held and cared for all of her babies. I wished there was something I could do for them - something I could've said to them - but I was a stranger to these boys. I felt some degree of guilt about this. I was the one who moved away and lost touch.
Janice, was a lovely, generous, unassuming woman. She deserved better than what she was dealt. As cliched as it is to say, may she rest in peace.