I don't know what he looked like at the end because he had just been released back to his new facility, Riverside in Castleton. All I know was that he stopped breathing. I suppose it looked as if he had just gone to sleep, which is curious because of course he has been sleeping for years and years. In the end I knew it would be his lungs, it's so easy for an unmoving person to just clog up and stop breathing. Jon had been healthy once and I suppose that he stopped smoking long enough to have healthier lungs just before he got hit. Ironic that Life seems to match things up like that. Some people think of the date of the accident as a kind of birthday into a new life. I had often wondered what Jon would be like when he awoke from that sleep. I wondered if he would be strangely sweet and childlike... I had seen many survivors who had slipped into an innocent phase. As a father I wanted to be prepared should that happen. Jon had been at times gullible, dumping fingernail polish on the hood of a neighbor's car on Cabbage Night. The kids next door could get Jon into so much trouble but he just didn't seem to want to hang with kids who just explored, swam, played and did not try to shoplift. In other words he was a lot like my Dad.
Back on Pershing Drive in 1975 when Jon had not yet walked I woke up early for some reason and tip-toed out to find a trail of crackers and crumbs from the pantry to Jon's room. I peeped into Jon's room to find him trying to climb back into his crib with a cracker in each hand. he heard me, dropped into the crib and began to cry. Nancy called from the bedroom, "You woke him, you take care of him!"
Somewhere we have a picture of Jon a few years later, hiding in the bathtub while eating a box of sugar donuts. He looked like a clown putting on his makeup, white powder all over his face and a big shit-eating grin on his face. No shame, no gain I guess. He was a cute kid.
He wasn't, of course, all bad by any means, but like me and his mother, he was heavy maintenance. You had to look out for him and be patient. I was not very patient with him, but then he did look a lot like his mother, to me, and sometimes that just pissed me off. Odd, ain't it? And again, not always, just some memories won't go away, and me being unreasonable to a young man being defensive was a memory i would like to work away and now Jon cannot hear me say I am sorry and I can't hear him say it's okay. Sucks. We have many such memories that can't work out like some strange vine with thorns has wrapped it self around my heart and you can't pull it away without tearing the heart up. So you figure something else out.
There's a video you can find on the Web which shows the tsunami washing over a town and dragging it back in pieces to the sea. It was unstoppable, there was no way a human force could deflect it away from those paper and bamboo huts. The brick and mortar buildings got knocked off their foundations, which got washed away too. Eventually besides the debris field the town itself stopped existing. Traumatic brain injury is like that wave of greatest force that rushed into his mind and brain and tore it loose from it's foundations. Eventually it swept away in debris fields. Each seizure, each fever ate away at more of the Town of Jon. There was enough to hope for a re-build, a newer, different Jon who would nevertheless be the same kid somehow. I often thought of what Jon would be like when he awoke. I do know that the money angle insured that Jon would never get the therapy he needed to force his brain to wake up and heal. They just don't care to save someone like Jon whose future was unsure and whose past had been, in the eyes of Society, somewhat ill-used. Driving an old VW van around to concerts in strange cities, working as a car tech, a chef, a dishwasher... whatever work he could find to pay his bills.... dog food, gasoline and the occasional new block for the van.
Dad loved to fly. He loved it so much he went to war to be a glider pilot and probably die in battle, but in the air. Dad loved to fly so much he wouldn't let no damn thunderhead the size of Mt. Washington get in his way in his one engined Cessna. No, he'd fly off, take a few spins and slam into a mountain the size of a regular mountain. The sheriff called us to say he was alright, just a broken nose. Jon didn't have Dad's "luck". When he flew out the windshield he did not break his nose.
Tomorrow is Jon's birthday. Tonight Margaret and Jess and I will burn some wood, drink some beer, light candles, incense and such and celebrate his life with us. This is too much of a good thing if you ask me. Too many circles within circles and yet like a Moebius strip you end up at the same place. I think it is possible that in time we get back around to where we were but without really grasping how we got there. Then you can wander over to Why, although as we know from the Brighton Theory of '50: "There is no Why, Only When.".
The Law states that It is Good to Love. This opens us up to growth, spirituality, satisfaction in Life... that which Lives, Loves. When you think about it, there has to be an earlier Law which states that Good Exists. It would have to be defined by adding Bad. You'd have: Good/Bad... or Bad/Good, but I favor the former. Better to start out with Good. We are born, certainly, with Bad first as we are drawn and pushed out of our mother. Then as we are given a breast to suckle we sense Good. I hear it is possible to come forth in quiet, loving environments with no squalling and beeping of instruments. Jon was pretty quiet about the whole thing, he just sort of popped right out in about ten minutes. The OB didn't even have time to get involved. So maybe he started out with Good and then later got to Bad.
It is beautiful today. I saw a pair of great birds flying in lazy circles. We have a few pairs of eagles in the region and they sometimes check out the hen yard as they make for the riverside east of us. Lots of critters to find, but it was better when the acreage between us and Northern Pines was a field and not a subdivsion. They can, however, also take small dogs, cats and rabbits. They are after all, full grown eagles.... perhaps BIG redtail but you get my point. Actually my point was that in Egyptian religious tradition Scorpio was an eagle, not a scorpion. Thus a pair of eagles flying overhead as we celebrate Jon's life, him being a Scorpio three times over, was somehow ironic or poignant. I'm not sure it is, but it was a lovely concept. Dad had a wonderful eagle tattooed on his chest, and he loved to fly.