Wow...last week ranks up there as one of the worst weeks ever. I felt numb, and was going through the motions, but I didn't accomplish anything, at work or otherwise.
Dwayne's service Friday was fitting. Even though the officiant had never met Dwayne, I could tell he made a great effort to learn about him, his family, and his life. He told some second-hand stories about Dwayne's early school days, practical jokes that he played on people or were played on him, and listed some of Dwayne's many accomplishments.
Some of Dwayne's friends told funny stories about him, and his best friend relayed details of a conversation he and Dwayne had about death and how they wanted people to grieve for them. Not surprisingly, Dwayne said he wanted people to grieve for him for a week. Robert convinced him that was a long time to grieve, and Dwayne lowered it to 5 days. Robert persisted that people have lives, and have other stuff to do, so Dwayne said "OK, 4 days, but that's as low as I'll go!" So Robert said he was satisfied. If he only knew how soon he'd have to be holding up his end of the bargain. So sad.
Then the officiant referenced a book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which analyzes Joseph Campbell's theory about the formula of the hero story and illustrates his theory by analyzing stories from mythology on that incorporate that formula. In a nutshell, the hero is always born in a remote place, cut off from society. The hero receives a call to leave this remote place, and move to a more bustling, dangerous, "armpit" of a place to pursue his calling for adventure. Then he meets people he should or should not trust, chooses between good and evil, goes through trials to prepare him for his ultimate battle, often finding a mentor to guide him through those trials, and then the climax of the story is the battle for which he has been preparing. Almost always, the hero survives the trial, and then comes the denoument, where all the characters who have interacted with the hero along his journey come together to help bring the story to a close. Tragically, sometimes the hero has to die, and as untimely as his death may be, the world is changed for the better as are the people who knew him. His friends as companions are made better people, motivated to continue the struggle, cause, or journey.
I must read this book...and you should too!
Then he made some observations about Dwayne's life and related them to this hero formula theory. Dwayne was born and raised in Deltaville, VA, which is the epitome of a remote, cut off place. According to Wikipedia, it is home to 500-800 full-time residents, most of which are retirees. I'm not sure what Dwayne's call to adventure was, but he moved from his home to Richmond, certainly an armpit compared to Middlesex County, to pursue a career. He recently received another call to adventure when he was offered the opportunity to move to Plano, TX, to further pursue his career. I'd like to think this was not going to be his ultimate battle; that his funeral was not the denoument of Dwayne's journey, but I'm sad that I won't get to see the hero of this story face his ultimate battle and survive.
Sometimes movies are so good, they end leaving the fans wanting more, and I wish this story had a sequel.