I learned a lot through his passing. I learned a hard lesson about family. I learned the true meaning of "family".
No matter how you treat a person, care for them, feed them, provide shelter to them, look after them, give them money, help them with a problem, even be dependent on for their very survival, if you are not a blood relative, you are not family.
Oh sure, people will say that you are just like family, or you are married in to the family, but there is no list of good or charitable deeds long enough to get you completely vested to be able to consider yourself family. If you are not born into a family, you are not, nor will you ever really truly be, part of that family.
You will never have the right to have a real opinion about another's family members. All you will be allowed are smiles and nods and a willing ear, but your voice is never valid enough to comment - unless it is something good. Then, you can add that comment to the list of things that will never, ever get you vested enough to truly be considered part of the family. Ain't happ'nin'. Ever. Get over it.
The wife and I moved back home to help care for Ozzy back in June. We (mostly the wife) fed, dressed, provided medical care to him and sometimes we just sat and provided company. It was a 24 hours a day thing. So, we were there when he passed and we helped bathe and dress him and prepare him for the funeral home. Rarely in the 6 months since we've been back here did we ever see anyone from his "family" for more than 5 minutes at a time and often weeks would go by between visits.
Until he died.
Then people came out of the woodwork.
It is a very sad commentary on the human condition. People, for the most part, are ugly when it comes to this. Like vultures lined up at a road kill, people start listing off the things they intend to claim for themselves. I do believe that most people are quite capable of murder over something trite like an old box of tools or a cowboy hat.
Me, I was under the false impression that people are either good, or they are not. The good people you hang on to and the ones that are not, you keep at arms length or better. The false impression lies in the fact that in almost every case, family trumps this. People will defend even the most foul of family members over a true friend or a spouse. Spouses are not family no matter how nice they are and don't ever let anyone tell you different. If you think that, then you have not experienced a test of this bond.
The Bible says that you are supposed to severe this aspect of your life in favor of your spouse because they are supposed to be the seed of your family future. But this is a rare occurrence and I would wager that those who would claim this to be true for themselves, again have never faced the test.
Wait until someone dies and see for yourself. You will find out then what the definition of "family" is and see if you fit into it.
After having sacrificed a life elsewhere to come here, it was Ozzy's wish that I at least be a pall bearer. Unfortunately, I am not "family" and so a big stink was raised at the funeral. I stepped back in the interest of getting it over with and and just being away from the vultures. The will hasn't been read yet, so the pot still simmers. With Ozzy's "family" lurking in the background, there is no telling what shenanigans may be in store.
I am saddened by all of this. I am saddened to my core to come to the realization that people, by and large, are horrible, self-centered, selfish self-absorbed, hypocritical, unkind creatures who expect the world to bend to their wishes regardless of the moral implications.
What ever happened to basic right and wrong? What ever happened to espousing goodness and light? What ever happened to love for your fellow man?
There is no justice any more. Everything is just talk, just words to paint one's self a cloak to hide the absolution of any personal responsibility to be remotely human. I mean, all we have to do is say we're sorry and we're supposed to be forgiven. Even if we don't mean it. We'd do what ever we did wrong again in a heartbeat if we thought we could get away with it, or if we thought we would get somewhere from it.
What's the worst that could happen? We say were sorry again? We always know our family loves us no matter what..
Pity the orphan who has to earn their love every day for they have no real family to love them unconditionally.
Me, I am sticking to the good people, bad people theory, family or not. This, I am comfortable with. This, I can justify how I treat people. This suits my moral compass. I don't care if you are family. If you crap on me, you will have a hard time washing it off your hands when you wipe. I expect people to do the same to me. It's how we account for ourselves and is a deterrent for behavior that could have ill effects. That is my goodness and light and that's what gets me through the darkness.
Early morning, the day after Thanksgiving, Gene Harris, a.k.a. Ozzy, passed on to the Great Hunting Preserve in the Sky.
I learned a lot through his passing. I learned the world is a much darker place than I ever imagined and one is better off if they learn how to hold their own.