The Grand Failure
It has been over three months since I have posted anything to this site. Too much has happened, maybe too many opportunities for a more deeply rooted discussion of failure. Missed opportunities feel appropriate to a "me" who is as much intrigued as led by failure....When I began to sculpt an idea of failure, one that I could hold as well as look at, I was a different person. Literally. In the intervening months I have become a motherless child. And been invited into the club where all of us motherless kids hang out. And it is one instance where Groucho's maxim about clubs is completely innacurate. I have never been more grateful that such a club exists, and that an invitation to join was extended in my direction. In fact were I to hear Groucho crackin' it wise now... I would likely think: "joke fail".
And this upside down response to clubs in general is connected to how it feels to lose a parent in the specific. And more pertinently how it affects my own investigations surrounding failure. In the face of The Grand Failure, which is the last breath taken by a loved one, the study of "failure" in its quotidienne, mundane, day to day cloak feels as trite as it actually is. Who wants to think about failure - in theoretical terms - when The Grand Failure can bring a deep, profound, and impenetrable silence to the debate. The power of that Grand Failure is like nothing else. There is nothing else like the real end. Absolutely nothing. And so perhaps I have come to recognize that my interest in failure is really an interest in a rehearsal for The Grand Failure. This seems obvious and embarassing to write. Because "Of course it's about the rehearsal for the end! Of course!" But the paradox is rich. There is gold in them thar veins! Because the paradox is this: regardless of how much failure we are able to accrue over a lifetime, (Go Team Failure Go!) in fact, in actual fact, we will all die perfectly. The circumstances of our deaths may speak to injustice, tragedy or mishap but the ACTUAL DYING gets to be done perfectly by each of us. Because we succeed. It is irrefutable. It is completely irrefutable. The real end.
My mother was a beautiful woman and remains so in my heart, mind and body. But each life is filled with all manner missed opportunity and regret and my mum was no stranger to this. But as she left this world, I was witness to a generosity, an act so filled with love, patience, empathy and courage that while I sat with The Grand Failure, I was also given the gift of kneeling at the feet of perfection.
There is grandness in failure. And perfection too.