pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out

10 October 2014

The lineup


Santa Ana, California
7 October 2014 or thereabouts

Time has assumed a certain fluidity. It's tough to track, squirms away from my grasp like a fish in a river.

A contractor was here to give me an estimate this week.

"We'll honor that price through the end of the month," he told me, a look of satisfaction on his face.

I squinted at him for a moment, trying to remember what month he might be speaking of.

The spouse was out of town most of the week, so I had the morning and evening commute, never good. Seconds ticked off until the next task to be accomplished, seconds that became minutes, minutes turned to hours and another day.

Death like birth has a time of its own. We wait.

He sleeps alot, eats little. I saw him turning inward weeks ago, caught those first signs of internal retreat, knew what I was seeing.

And my inclination was still to fight. For his sake.

But increasingly, I am seeing the futility of the battle. I am coming to acceptance, trying to be the fish instead of the grasping hands, looking for ways to comfort rather than control, seeking the flow.

I am not one to give up. I solve problems. It is what people hire me to do. Fix things. And I'm so good at it.

It is when I confront the unfixable that I am no good at all.

Tech stuff: Taken with my my iPhone4.

30 September 2014

I'm watching baseball. Don't bother me.


Milton
26 September 2014

He did seem engrossed in the game.

Tech stuff: Taken with my my iPad.

29 September 2014

Deadline


From Sequoia
28 November 2008

Two to eight weeks.

I am no stranger to death. Its workings aren't unknown to me. I've seen the process and the end result. I understand time frames and probability. I know, only too well, what a terminal diagnosis is.

And yet.

And yet, yesterday, I was told that we are there. Two to eight weeks.

And yet, my brain continues on in some sort of denial.  I know he's dying. I knew he was dying 11 months ago. I told my children to expect that last year was likely the last time we'd spend the holidays together. But, I hear two to eight weeks, and I try to process that idea. It's like he's leaving on a trip, I tell myself, but he's never coming back.

Unreasonably, I envision him in his prime, standing in the doorway of airplane, waving goodbye.

I can't explain why the concept puzzles me. I test the hypothesis but it makes no rational sense.

He is not helping the process, of course. Yesterday, I took freshly made meatloaf and mashed potatoes, which he picked at. I knew he would--he has no appetite--so was unoffended. I was grateful that he'd made the effort. He made the effort, too, to joke with us, telling us that his soft drink was too cold and he'd have to "sneak up on it."

"Don't let it see you're coming," I warned with a smile.

"You are so right," he responded with gently mocking gravity.

At the end of the afternoon, he thanked me for making a meal, and pressed my hands to his face. He told us that he appreciated our help and with our help, he was going to get better.

Going. To. Get. Better.

At first I was stunned by what seemed blatant denial of the situation. He is so thin and his skin is parchment-colored, almost waxy. His hands were like ice. My brain--oh my treacherous brain--parsed his words. "Better" meaning he would be dead and in a better place?

Was he actually, in his head, taking the parental role to its ultimate place and trying to reassure us?

I have no answers.

And as someone who generally has a game plan, this time, I don't even know what to do.

Tech stuff: Taken with my my Nikon D40.

26 September 2014

25 September 2014

Mirror


Santa Ana, California
25 September 2014

Driving down to pick up the daughter, I felt the weight of sadness settle on my shoulders.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

24 September 2014

So this happened


NO!
Beale Street
Memphis, Tennessee
30 June 2014

It was the last one on that list that got us.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. Which will be retired...someday.

23 September 2014

Ready or not


Blanton Art Museum
Austin, Texas
20 September 2014

Consider a plane. A skeleton covered in butterflies. Flight. Change. Transition.

I dreamed of my childhood home last night, and my aunts and mother were there, like the three witches from The Scottish Play.

Double double, toil and trouble.

One of those aunts is dead, has been for many years, and it was to her that I was speaking in the dream. She was preoccupied, but there was a frantic energy to her, not unlike when she was alive.

I woke feeling deeply lonely and terribly sad.

Over the weekend, texts. Entreaties. I had to take calls and answer questions while spending time with my daughter and my dearest D. I felt so rude, but I understood this person's despair and frustration.

Talk to her...

I am carrying a secret, one I've shared with few people. It is more than a relative with terminal cancer. It is that his wife needs to be evaluated for dementia and depression. I don't want to say those words aloud and saying them here makes me feel traitorous, as though I've overstepped a boundary. It's not my job, reason says, but my heart knows that it will be my fate.

Tonight, my mind wandered down a forgotten path. Crystal and china, and choosing patterns for my wedding. "Kosta Boda," I heard her say in the accent she's never been able to shed, but her voice is caressing, the thought of such luxury making her happy.

It is in that moment that I feel the weight of loss, the stab of recognition of what none of us will ever have again.

Flight.

(A joyous state, the state of moving forward. Cowardice, the state of running from.)

Change.

(Inevitable. Inviolable. Nothing stays the same, for better or worse.)

Transition.

(A boulder weathers until it becomes the sand on the ocean floor. A tree dissolves into the hummus of the forest. Our bodies are born and age until they are carefully put away under a blanket of earth.)

The spirit goes. And we are left to wonder.

Where?

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000.