i’ve got this whole hole sized lack in my vision of the future now, for the first time in my life. not my literal eyesight, but within my foresight.
i sat up near a month ago without a wink or nod. at 5:15 i tossed around, worried sick about my mother’s friend who had had a fourth malignant tumor in her thoracic spine. she was more than on my mind, she was damn well in it. as i tossed across and up to the airing of mr. rogers at 6 am on pbs, patricia kelly had passed on at 5:14 am (just a moment before i had taken note of what time there was. well warmed with safe and soft morphine and Christ’s inspired crooners and hymns washing over her like a tightly tucked fleece blanket as she passed, listening to her favorite song there at cristopher house i had been with her in inescapable thought. why a hospice death romper room? her two “adult” children couldn’t be bothered. at least not until she really kicked the bucket. patrica had made the decision to quit chemo and she found GOD in the last couple of months before (if you can really count them like that with a calendar). her seemingly early choice to escape the pain and isolation of life, and take a chance on the hereafter even if it really is just black and emptier was so raw and brave to me. since she’d taken the LORD of white gods into her heart, she felt a comfort that i never could grasp, i just thought she was a ocean of intention, followed through in every wave as she became nearer and nearer to the high tide of her existence. a warrior princess. a triumph of right to die ethics. a person who realized that life poorly lived in suffering isn’t really life; in brilliant spite of all of our medical progress in the realm of playing GOD. pat wanted her own GOD with her own dignity.
since meeting HIM, she let HIM take charge and gave herself to HIM when without a bit of fight left in her. before, pat would argue many valid points such as, “what has HE done for me lately?” if HE’s there, why aren’t any of my prayers answered? these were tough questions of a thin faith, for many of her devout friends, but when we talked about it we both found peace with the conclusion that we just didn’t know anything… although if mysterious ways are the tactic HE prefers, we both found it a little passive aggressive with an icing sugar coat of cruelty on top for our species with so very many questions in the first place. i never handed out my own feeling about her heavenly father, what would have been the point? she was leaning on one of the last crutches she would ever handle and i wouldn’t have ever taken that from her.
i’ve not quite ever been able to find HIM yet, but i do often think of how nice it would be. i doubt sincerely that it’s in the cards for me, but desperate shit leads to desperate bullshit. it had been three years of the worst fighting, the worst surgeries, taking bones from her spine and soft tissues for the short respites and then the feeling and hope that was dashed at every corner. baseball sized, grapefruit sized masses in a matter of months (if you can really quantify linear time in a jar like that), just catch a cloud that looks like a balloon to you… how long can you keep it? remember it? maybe it happened. maybe it didn’t. in the kingdom of everyone’s heaven, is there time anyway?
for us, living near to her war, we were on times then. surgery times, chemo visits, radiation, grocery runs, housekeeping, moving and the final move, since her survivors were unwilling or unable to clean out her home. we came again to put pat’s material life to rest. and now, time moves again in the way it does, forward and away from the dead.
can you walk into an enclosed public space without seeing anyone ravaged by cancer? i’m not talking about your most favorite irish pub. i mean the grocery, the library, the doctor’s office or the buses or subways? my mother is at a rate of 7-10, cancer victims to survivors within her close circle of friends. the next week, feeling that, after-funeral-joy-of-life b.s. my mother went in for her yearly mammogram.
so far, cancer was the burden of beloved friends, poor devastated grandparents we knew and of course all of those strangers who make up the flawed statistical data. we’d seen plenty of it, but out family history was genetically blank. it shouldn’t have happened in my family, beyond my life-plan smoking grandfather and eventually myself. however, funny story, true story, mom popped a positive in those three days after pat’s funeral. can you imagine the paralyzing fear?
well i didn’t have to imagine. it came quite quickly and naturally before the rest of my small corner of the world did something else funny and out of character. it (my heart rate) hopped from an inaudible peristalsis like stirring to a rumba beat before changing course into math rock… like a battles song. it’s bad heart music for me again. the heart problems again and the panic the palpitations and paralysis. i imagine that hair loss is next. that seems to be the pattern i get when everything falls out of it’s pattern.
for next time, please remember the blank spot i referred to in the first paragraph. it’s important, i promise. i’ve never had a psychic blackout on the future. i guess it could be a coma, the plague or even the big sleep. i’m not sure and i don’t like it since i’m not actively suicidal at this point, just beaten down real deep.