A life worth living
I knew exactly what they meant, the preacher and the lawyer, about my father’s quality of life in the years before he died. I know both of them well enough to know that their intent was to comfort, to acknowledge that Dad’s last decade was hard and that finally he was better.
They intended no offense, and I took none. For I, too, have occasionally indulged in the same misapplication of meaning as I considered, in the abstract, the matter of “quality of life,” a description rendered benign by its familiarity, which is the purpose of euphemism—to declaw accurate characterization.
But in the here and now, two days after my father’s passing, their pronouncements stung. Their words were a judgment of an actual life, my father’s, and indirectly and unintentionally, an indictment of my mother’s devotion to him.