Real Friends Watch Calphalon
Last night I served a very odd function: I was asked to be a “neutral observer” as two friends who are going through a divorce divided some of their property. The request was simple: watch them go through a list of items, mainly cookware, determining who would take what. If either of them wandered off topic or started to argue, I was to simply remind them to get back to the list. I didn’t actually have to say anything, but standing there I had a lot of time to think about how the end of love should be witnessed. They were meticulous and focused as they discussed knives and Calphalon pans with the occasional fond reminiscence about their cats.
Speaker for the Hearts
There’s a blockbuster movie coming out soon, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. The sequel to that book will be a bit more difficult to make into a movie. It’s called Speaker for the Dead, and among other things it posits the existence of a new kind of officiant at funerals:
Speakers are treated with the respect afforded to a priest or cleric. Any citizen has the legal right to summon a Speaker (or a priest of any faith, which Speakers are legally considered) to mark the death of a family member. Speakers research the dead person’s life and give a speech that attempts to speak for them, describing the person’s life as he or she tried to live it. This speech is not given in order to persuade the audience to condemn or forgive the deceased, but rather a way to understand the person as a whole, including any flaws or misdeeds. – from Wikipedia (warning: Spoilers!)
I’ve known these two friends for a couple of decades now. It is sad to see their union end, but at the same time I can see the factors that contributed to it, as well as why they found it necessary to end their marriage and continue their life journeys apart. My own perspective, without the hormonal swings of anger and love attached, simply is filled with the fond memories of the times I’ve shared with them and other friends, together and individually. I realized, standing there, that even though their relationship had passed on it could still find a voice in the way it had touched my life and others.
It seemed strange to me, standing there, that we don’t have eulogies for our relationships. That we don’t have ceremonies that celebrate the existence of love, even when it has passed on or changed into a form that we don’t recognize. Instead we seem to have the opposite, focusing on the fact of it ending as being proof that somehow it never really existed at all.
What would a Speaker for the Heart look like? How would they go about speaking for the love after it’s gone? I don’t know, but it makes me thoughtful…