I have been to more funerals than I ever thought I would experience. Besides the ones I went to before I started this business, all of them have been the funerals of strangers. Funerals get a bad rap, because death sucks. Death and funerals are always accompanied by some level of regret for things never said, trips never taken, and emotions never expressed. Funerals are meant to be a celebration of a life and the opportunity to say goodbye to the person who no longer has one. Most importantly, I’ve learned that funerals are about the living, beyond the obvious with the grieving and life lessons and all that stuff, they are about the living because it is the living that are there. If we left funerals up to the dead, we’d be waiting until the apocalypse for anything to get going.
At every funeral, before and after I crossed the hired gun threshold, the person being feted wasn’t a saint nor were they a demon. No human being is of either extreme. The happy memories are always spoken of, but so are some of the sad ones about arguments or an anecdote about one of that person’s shortcomings. The sad ones always end in laughter I find, because I think funerals are not only the celebration of a person, but ultimately of humanity’s belief and hope for the good. Yes, this world has seen tyrants, but you’ll never find one at your “everyday”, or “run-of-the-mill” funeral. We like to remember the good and the good that came from the bad. That act is nothing more than an act of hope and a belief, conscious or otherwise, that while we are going to hurt ourselves and others with some of things we do – this is an inevitability – that we aren’t bad or evil, nor are we righteous. We are simply human.
I’ve spoken about my legacy already so I won’t get into it more than to say I was human as well. I think the evil I brought into the world outweighs the balance of good, but I have tried to stay hopeful that at some I could atone. As I’m writing this I still have that chance, will I, like the brave artists I’ve spoken of previous, take it? Regardless of the “crime” of any of my jobs, their funerals showed me they were loved and that help cushion the kickback I would feel afterward. Even though I took away their life and cut it short, I knew that they smiled and made people smile and I hope that the good that they collectively brought into the world outweighs the bad I have done by taking them all too soon. I know it doesn’t work that way, but I can hope.