“By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.”—Kipling.
I was cleaning out a corner of my office that very much needed it the other day when I came across something personal, a note of condolence of sorts that I had penned to my grandmother now fully 40 years ago upon the occasion of her having lost a loved one.
I started to put it away again for inclusion in my “papers” a certain university across the state for some reason wants, but it then occurred to me that the inappropriate and offensive way in which the President of the United States insists upon using a truly noble word as a pejorative with such regularity renders its sentiment quite relevant today
My grandmother, I am quite certain, would approve:
There was no pomp, no obligatory ceremony at her interment.
It was a very simple service.
There were no clergymen spouting their half-intended eulogies, there was no morbid by association music, nor any wreaths of soon to wither flowers.
There were only the two, but most importantly the one nearest to her—the one that Mitzi M. served and loved the most.
Mitzi M. left this world much in the manner in which she resided in it, quietly,
unnoticed by the multitudes that I sincerely doubt to be her equals.
There were tears, of course. There were the tears of the woman, the very good woman with whom she resided for the majority of her life. There were the tears of the man whom she always greeted when he arrived at work every morning for a great many years. That man was forced to bury Mitzi M. himself, even as her almost life-long companion and dearest friend fought the early morning and salt-flavored mists to look on.
But as is so often the case at such occasions, the bitterness of the moment was diluted a bit by compassion. Mitzi M. had suffered mightily in her latter years. Tortured by arthritis, her very movements, once a moving portrait in grace, had become visibly fraught with pain.
Yet, she never once complained. Never lay down on the job. Never was a slacker.
Her role in this life was as elevated and noble a one as ever presented by an author for his most favored character. She embodied a great many of the qualities of virtue for which too few of us quest, and even fewer of us manage to attain.
She gave of her love in a completely selfless, completely unqualified manner. And her capacity for that love was bountiful.
From her youth, throughout her full but too short life, she was always a striking figure. Sleek and shapely, with sparkling eyes and a smile that practically screamed its genuineness, her outward beauty, reinforced by that from within, never waned, even in her hours of most obvious discomfort.
Mitzi M. gave herself totally to her readily accepted role of housemate, comforter, confidante, and friend—most importantly, that of friend—to the one who needed her. She never asked for anything in return and never once ceased in her strivings to please.
She was loyal unto death, and though perhaps not cognizant of the fact, earned not only the adoration but the respect of the one she so strived to serve. Their dedications became dual and neither entered into any endeavor, no matter how large or small, without first thinking of the other.
In true poetic fashion, they loved with a love that was more than love.
And now, but one remains.
But although from comparative physical appearances, one might not think so, the survivor of that truly glorious pair has always been the stronger. She is the only one who could, and who will be able to cope with the passing of the other.
Mitzi M. couldn’t have done so. She wouldn’t have wanted to.
And the survivor of that truly specialunto-inspiring, emotionally elevated and interdependent pair, even with such a loss, is not alone.
She will forever have the memories of a friendship and love that transcended the commonplace. She has the warmth and comfort of another spirit that will ever remain intertwined with her own.
And she has this no longer quite so young man who defies any single, solitary sonofabitch on this planet to dismiss Mitzi M. as “just a dog.”
Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.