"That Ted, he hasn't done anything wrong in twenty years."
That line came from Paul, in response to some issue in which my parents' were aggravated with me, and the spector of my brother's perfectness hung in the air. Paul managed to be funny and totally sum up the situation with that one line, something he manages to do a lot. (My brother, for the record, was amazing--but not perfect.)
I don't find a conflict in not thinking my dead brother as perfect. I loved his imperfections, too. But I think it's hard--especially when family members are on a different track--to not feel guilty about that, and also to not feel aggravated by others who take the deification route.
Plus, for surviving siblings, it can be hard to ever measure up again--as Paul's one liner brought home. It's just one of many ways that grieving within families gets complicated.
What brought this to mind? This unusually nuanced article about family grief in The Wichita Eagle.