Here’s something I’ve always struggled with: When someone passes, and they’re one of the most exquisitely unique human beings you’ve ever come across, how do you articulate it?
You can say it all, but how do make sure everyone knows they were the best? Them, and no one else. How do you articulate they were just, simply, better.
The intriguing thing about death is that everyone is the best. And if everyone’s the best, then perhaps no one is. As if the minute your heart falters and your brain begins to sleep, every bad decision and every flaw and every mistake goes with you. Your slate is clean. The dead sit together on an even playing field.
And because of this, the one’s who weren’t so good aren’t remembered so, and the one’s who were particularly good don’t stand out as much.
So what happens when we buck that? What happens when we call out humans in death as we do in life?
This, it would seem.
Leslie Ray Charping passed away in Galveston, Texas, last month at the age of 74. His very honest obituary, written from his family, has amassed such traction that the website it sits on has crashed.
Charping was a father, a husband, a grandfather and an asshole. And not particularly in that order.
He passed after a battle with cancer, and according to his obituary, lived “29 years longer than expected and much longer than he deserved.”
“He leaves behind two relieved children; a son Leslie Roy Charping and daughter, Shiela Smith along with six grandchildren and countless other victims including an ex-wife, relatives, friends, neighbors, doctors, nurses and random strangers,” the obit continues.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Charping was convicted of myriad of violent offences over his time, including an assault in 1979 and another in 2008, when he poured hot liquid on his wife. In 2009, he violated a restraining order when he threatened to kill a female relative.
His family went on to say he would "not be missed".
Andrew Denton talks about voluntary euthanasia with Mia Freedman. Post continues after audio.
“Leslie’s life served no other obvious purpose, he did not contribute to society or serve his community and he possessed no redeeming qualities besides quick whited [sic] sarcasm which was amusing during his sober days,” it reads.
More than that, they wrote that their father became "model example of bad parenting" who was committed to drinking, drugs, womanising and being generally offensive.
“Leslie's hobbies included being abusive to his family, expediting trips to heaven for the beloved family pets and fishing, which he was less skilled with than the previously mentioned.
“With Leslie's passing he will be missed only for what he never did; being a loving husband, father and good friend. No services will be held, there will be no prayers for eternal peace and no apologizes to the family he tortured. Leslie's remains will be cremated and kept in the barn until "Ray", the family donkey's wood shavings run out," it read.
The family concluded by acknowledging Leslie's death as overwhelming proof that "evil does in fact die", and marks "a time of healing and safety" for the family.