Friday, March 02, 2007

At what point..... ?

At what point do we need to put our own needs or desires, even our convictions, aside because it is in the larger good to do so?

This morning I am watching MS-NBC and we're once again subjected to the national soap opera known as "Anna Nicole's funeral".

Her mother and ANS's ex-husband have filed another lawsuit to stop the burial because they want both her son's and her body moved to Texas.

Maybe I don't understand grief of that nature, the kind of grief that is clinging and demanding, the kind of grief that ignores decency and common sense.

May I never know it.

This now appears to be a control issue gone wacky. While I can certainly understand her mother believes it is appropriate to bring her daughter back to Texas to be buried with the rest of the family, is she going too far?

Yeahm... she is.

This is not a property rights issue. Virgie Arthur appears to be someone I hope she is not. She appears greedy and controlling. It makes her look selfish. It makes her appear more concerned with her own needs than with the desires of her daughter which have been made rather clear through a variety of sources.

At the beginning, I was sympathetic to her position. Being from a family that is largely estranged, I know that we all carry a secret hope of reconciliation. None of us are young any more and we've been trained to believe in happy endings.

But we can't manufacture it through lawsuits.

True reconciliation takes a lot more than that and must be done in life, not in death. Unfortunately in my family, no one has been willing or able to step up to the plate so we remain fractured. Each in our own ways, we tried but sometimes the configuration just doesn't work out, the pieces of the puzzle won't fit, and we have to let it go. Sometimes it's more compassionate to admit defeat than to continue stubbornly fighting.

As we begin to die off, I believe the only right action is to respect the wishes of each family member as they have been expressed to those closest. There comes a time when our spirits need to rest.




Laurie said...

I agree with you. This is not a property rights issue. It is about the wishes of a woman who died too young.

The important thing to remember here, in my opinion, is that her body is just a vessel. ANS and her son will live on only in the memories of the people who loved them. I guess people don't see that.

Great post. It needed to be said.

jen said...

i agree. i've never, and will never be in a situation like the ones you are describing - but I have to assume that we should better focus on the time we have with people while they are still here...assuaging our guilt after the fact can't really do much at all. but doesn't make it any easier.

QT said...

I have to think from the little I know of her life, that ANS was closer to her son than her mother. I think her mother wanting her buried close by is desire manufactured by attorneys looking to collect fees.

MsLittlePea said...

Yeah. I sort of gave up on the idea that my family would be a 'hallmark commercial' a long time ago. This is definitely a control contest. I agree with qt.

Anonymous said...

I am fortunate to have a very large and harmonious family which meets a couple of times a year. Maybe Europe is not "behind" for that, so we don't have to care for celebrities'fate to fill our life? :)

Thailand Gal said...

G, I am happy for you, that you have a large harmonious family. :)

I think you'll find here that many people do not.

Additionally, no one (least of all me) is "filling [my] life" with celebrity lives. However, I do think it is a reasonable launch pad for examining an issue. It's something everyone knows about and is an example. In this case, the issue is respect for the wishes of those who have passed on and not using them to fulfill our own unfulfilled control needs.

I'm not sure of the status of families in Europe. Perhaps you would be willing to tell us something about it.

At any rate, I (just me) am not willing to get into a cultural competition. For me, Thailand would always win anyway. LOL



Anonymous said...

Although you assumed that Europe was behind about honor and self-restraint with regards to the USA, I sincerely think that every culture has its richness, and none is better.

Until last month, I was teaching to 19 foreign students(age 19 to 40)coming from 11 different countries, from South America until China ( and a Thai boy of 26, very cute and sensitive,)and I could appreciate each of them.
My one daugther in law is Korean, and I have been in her country a couple of times, but I think I have not yet grasped a clue what her culture is exactly. That is to say that I shall certainly not enter a competition.
As to the will about funeral etc, I think it doesn't matter at all, what matters is how the survivors can mourn the defunct the best possible.

Thailand Gal said...

G, I think we are in fundamental agreement on several points. On the few which we seem to disagree are inconsequential.

I try to find the best in each culture, each place I've visited during my lifetime as well as the ones I've only known through others.

Western culture itself is not compatible with my particular worldview. While I am very progressive in some areas, I'm extremely conservative in others. At the same time, balancing those two ends of the continuum in a western context would be very muddy.

It would be far from me to say that US culture is ahead of Europe on any account, although after re-reading my comment from a few days ago I can see where it appeared that way. At the time, I think I was addressing sexual attitudes. In that regard, I think Europe and the US are compatible although the US culture seems to lack any maturity on the topic. It's still a giggle-behind-the-hand issue. Europe, on the other hand, in my opinion, is a bit too liberal.

Morality and ethics are both huge topics, probably not suitable for comment box dialogue .. but I hope I will be able to show some of my own beliefs, ethical and moral, through various entries, chopped up into digestible nuggets.

As always, I'm teachable. I welcome anyone to challenge me in any area that I seem to be ignorant or lack knowledge.




flutter said...

I honestly have felt worse for her,in death than I did when she was alive. All she ever wanted was to be loved. She wanted to be with her son.
Her mother seems to be such in the biological sense only. ANS did make it clear that she wanted to rest with her son, in the Bahamas.
A mother should want, what her child wants.
God help me never lay a child to rest, but if I will be in accordance with how they wanted it to be handled. It certainly wouldn't be a decision made in a white stretch limo while waving to the fans of my late daughter.
Tragic, and tacky. May Anna rest, finally, at peace.

Thailand Gal said...

Laurie, sometimes it seems logical that we choose when to die. In ANS's case, that appears more obvious than not. She idolized someone who died young and felt a true affinity for that person. (Marilyn Monroe). In some respects, it seems she adopted MM's life.


Jen, agreed completely. Whenever that's possible, that's the ideal situation. If for some reason we can't do that, respect after death is at least ethical.


QT, I'm sure there is an element of truth to that. There's always someone willing to exploit such a situation.


MsPea, that is a moment of liberation when we realize that our families will never be The Waltons. We just do the best we can.

I agree with QT also.


Flutter, I agree. She was a "Lavinia" type character. I'm not all that surprised that she was used and abused in death as much as she was while alive.




Bob said...

I was talking with Laura about this last night. She made the comment that ANS was buried in a pink dress (what I usually call a prom dress) and a tiara. I made a rude noise but Laura observed that that was probably how she felt about herself, or what she wanted to be - a princess. It made me remember that she came from a dirt-poor family in the middle of nowhere and all of her life was her probably trying to live out her childhood dreams of a perfect life. I felt sorry for the woman she was, always reaching for what was probably unattainable for her. I think the dress & tiara were apropos.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think King Solomon would have had a hard time negotiating this minefield. I fully expect to hear that ANS's mother has had her disinterred in the middle of the night and shipped to Texas.

If they were estranged, as everyone says, for 20 years, and Anna's son was 20, it seems probably that Virgie never even met her grandson.

She is obviously enjoying her 15 minutes at her daughter's expense, and that is truly hateful.

As I posited in my recent post, nobody seems interested in actually caring for the baby. She is but a cash calf to all these dreadful people.

I never expected to have sympathy for Anna Nicole Smith, but am so appalled by so much bad behavior that I cannot believe her soul is at rest, and this troubles me. It is the least we can wish for each other when we die.