oh Ma —
it’s been one hundred seventy seven days today since I last spoke to him —
one hundred seventy seven days since he —
gotta go, Ma –
There once was a princess named Reese,
Who pulled on her coat made of fleece
pulled on her gloves, and her bright yellow boots,
then wiggled and giggled, shouting out great hoots,
as Great Aunt, Roxanna, tried to hug her great niece.
What privileged robins live in my back yard…
racing through the sprinkler, barely giving me any notice…
but WHO, may I ask, tipped over the big blue pot under the umbrella?
Emil Catt, was it you?
If you have seen it, you know.
Life does not end. It does not. No, it does not.
It peels away and moves beyond this body, those once treasured plans, these sweet, dear beloveds. Often not easily, nor willingly; sometimes not even completely, but eventually -when exhaustion prevails, organs fail, when all is ready, enough is said- the anchor lifts. And the soul’s strong sails spread on the wind, sailing, sailing with sad, exquisite relief.
Brandon took sail Monday, March 27, 2017. Wishing him a good journey…
Excuse me, what are you saying?
he is not a candidate for hospice?
he is not in enough pain?
he is not sick enough?
did not someone tell him yesterday there was no hope?
that he will not live out the month?
and that is why you called hospice?
do you not see that is why he said to leave him alone?
refused to eat?
asked that his children not be allowed in?
do you not recall his brain injury causes him to misinterpret what you say?
did we not leave requests to call his wife if you have something to tell him?
did you forget that he will forget?
Excuse me, what?
you called for a consult for the liver transplant?
did you not do that last week?
and what else?
you are immediately transferring him to the transplant hospital?
so there is some hope?
or are you simply concerned we have finally had enough?
that we shall begin to question every word said?
every thing done?
will you even remember he and we were here?
Today she meets with hospice,
my darling heartbroken daughter,
to discuss how best to establish care
for her darling dying husband.
It is not the dead part I hate so much,
it is the impossibly hard work of dying.
This is the truth I have come to know:
people are not dead until they are dead,
and maybe not then.
You cannot talk over them, pretend they are not there.
You cannot plan without them, assume they don’t care.
They are here! They are here, and fully aware.
So quiet the panic as best as you can,
sit down, shut up, take hold of their hand.
Just at this moment it is not about you.
Cry if you must, wail and weep,
but sit there, and listen, and live in the moment,
while they are here living with you.
How can it be?
How can it be
that that thin, thin body
can hold four liters of fluid?
Four liters of fluid!
There is no room!
Certainly there is no room…
how ridiculous to think the lovely, miserable music scratching out of this fifty year old Janis Ian lp would somehow lift my sinking, self pitying, weeping- into- my -morning-coffee spirits above perceived injustices and aged indignation, humiliation, worthlessness…
or that reading MIDNIGHT WATCH by David Dyer, sitting in the anguished heads of those on the Californian thinking they should have, could have done something, anything, to save the Titanic because they saw her rockets, failed to find any bodies, would inspire me to renew some thirty year old belief that my life would be the one to inspire all of mankind to perfection… not the corrupt, other worldy lives of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump…
or that reviewing all decisions made in my life all these many, many years and believing I made the best decisions to be made, given all the variables, would change the gut slashing pain from your sigh of forced tolerance, your slight roll of your eyes, your barely hidden disgust when we talk…
you, the one person who hangs my moon…
oh, how my mother disgusted me at one point in my life, with all her cold, deliberate moves away from all of us while never letting go…her looks, her style, her men, her incredible survival tactics… how I cried each time she visited, then left again…Dad died, she left again, and again, trying to keep it together… life is so rude
oh, and my self-assurance that I was so smart, so worldly, so advanced beyond her…that I understood what she did not…I, who am now the disgusting, old,the pain- in- the -neck mother who fucked up royally, but who wants some of your time, who wants an occasional, spontaneous, surprise visit, an invitation to dinner on your patio with you and the kids, who imagines we have such laughs and remember such good times… and that you and my grands love being with me…(and who knows by writing this that I come off like some cliched Jewish mother, damn it…)
they weren’t all bad, were they, the days of our lives? or has your perfect, long suffering mother-in-law convinced you that it would have been better if I had learned to sacrifice, to live with your father no matter how many slaps or put downs? are her answers better because she stayed with her asshole (I can hear you sigh at that)? I hated leaving you with him, but how can you know (and I, now, imagine) how cowed I was by him? I believed I had to leave to save us both… I believed that with all the idiocy of a twenty eight year old battered wife.
is one good memory that makes you smile and glad I was/am your Mom?
Maybe not…not today, anyway, as I wait for you to call to say “let’s go to the fair!” ( you told me Wednesday we would go today, but it’s eleven already).
I s’pose they may come later, the good memories, when I have no more memory, as when my mom had no more memory, and it was up to me to remember the good stuff…
and I did…
and while I was writing this oozing mess, you were texting me to meet you all at 2 PM to see the last big events and awards…and I can’t wait to get there and see you! and life is good and happy again…and I put on American Woman by the Who loud to celebrate, all the while thinking what a stupid thing to do…HAA
Maxwell Gavin Phinneas John
went to bed with his Nikes on
and his Monsters Inc tee, and his Comicon cap
he set his chess board on his lap
squinted and pondered and stroked his chin
touched his nose, gave a very wide grin
then made a move ne’er before seen
in any chess game in any known scene
he jumped his knight up two over one
then moved very quickly until he was done
check mating the queen across the board
so smoothly he moved, oh my sweet Lord,
in just two more moves, yes, check mate in three
he threw out his arms and laughed with glee
Max made major history that day weeks ago
and now he is planning another great show
…stay tuned for more from our Max!