Monday, February 09, 2004

There's a song in The Music Man that goes, "how can there be any good in goodbye, how can there be any fair in farewell?" I think about that line quite often. I just spent two weeks saying goodbye to mom and dad. Not that they're dying real soon, maybe, but they sure as hell ain't getting any better. I've been saying goodbye to Jon for three years and he's still breathing on his own. Dad needs oxygen but he doesn't like the idea of wheeling around in his chair with an oxygen hose under his nose. Jon never liked being wheeled around Lake Katrine in his chair if there were people around. The nurses thought it was the stimulation, but I think it was not wanting to look like those cripples in the hallways. Dad doesn't want to look like an old man. Every Wednesday they have a tea out in the community room and mom and dad go and have tea and cookies.
So I went too. They sat at the end of a side table, away from the others. Mom would turn and speak to the old ladies, smiling in her foggy memories. Dad would hunker down in his chair, living in his fog of back pain and painful memories. His blindness protects him from the sight of the old women smiling at him. He said they always like to talk about their dead spouses, but all I heard was weather reports and gardening news and occasional "Missed you at the poker game, Peggy...." I think dad looks at them thru his misty vision and thinks of all those dead spouses and thinks about his being a dead spouse. Worrying about someday wheeling himself to the table and hearing "Sorry about Peggy, Bill...she always liked to play bingo, didn't she?" His big thick hands tremble as he sips his tea. He isn't blind, he isn't stupid. He sees that cloaked gaunt figure at the other end of the table. He sees the bony fingers pointing first at him, then at mom.

So he spits at it, and that starts a fight. Now he's got that skeletal asshole in a headlock and the skull pops off......
Now he's back in the frame, a tired old fat man with a decaying spine who's losing his mind living with a beautiful old thin lady who's losing her mind. And she's always laughing and smiling, forgetting her pains or doubts almost as soon as she frames them. Why can't he be like her? That makes him smile, almost laugh, at the thought of both of them, fooling them all, living forever, but thoughtless and care free. It makes him laugh. I watched him do this but the pain always pulls him back.

Back into the frame. When I mention this to my brother in law, he reacts by telling me that this is what I can expect to happen to me, to us all. What an odd concept.... that everyone might share the same fate. In the mind of god, sure, everything is possible...and also impossible. So, yeah. But also, no way! And no who, no why or where. So many ways to phrase it but a core somehow and it has to make sense. My parents now. First it seems important to take my son. I was already fairly calm about things when that happened. Growing plants, tilling the soil. But a part of me was waiting and anticipating. Now we hear that such thoughts the force that keeps us from enlightenment. I just find it odd that taking things away would make the consciousness expand. We tend to recoil from pain, not run to it. That's why it's pain. Doesn't make sense that they took my best friend, Teddy, in the same way.

Everybody is losing their mind. Wow. So the mystic in me understands that everything changes eventually and nothing can be destroyed, only transmuted. So nothing is ever lost, life changes things. Like the body of the swimmer changes the shape of the water nearest it, and warms it, exchanging heat with it. The thoughts and influences of us all are dispersed thru the universe, effecting the shape and quality of that universe which is closest to it. How close do you want to be to a change? See, 'want' is a very vague term. I may not want to be elsewhere, but that 'want' can put me where i don't want to be. Like a swimmer in a wake can be disturbed, but still influences the wake, both physically and temporally. You can't help but be immortal in one way of looking at things.

With that comes a certain loss of fear of death, and any loss makes you less than infinite or immortal, so THERE is the paradox. Woosh, too much thinking. Time to wash the dishes.

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