I wonder- sleeping? dead? doll?
There is something just not right, something incomplete and unfair, in an untimely death.
A good friend of ours, who claimed at one point to be an atheist, died Saturday night. It was not a pretty death (if there is such a thing) nor was it a quick or painless death. The poor man had dealt with cancer for the past four years- a bout of colon cancer that almost killed him back in 2010, and the stage 4 lung cancer he was diagnosed with back in April that finally spread throughout his body and slowly, painfully and agonizingly did him in. To greatly summarize the gory story, this guy spent the past month jacked up on every narcotic known to man, and was almost always straight out of his mind due to the cancer spreading to his brain. Nothing could quiet the unimaginable pain associated with cancer spreading like wildfire, not even the Tramadol and morphine and whatever other heavy duty drugs that the hospice people have at their disposal. Cancer is a pretty shitty way to die by all accounts. I don’t say that to trivialize his pain or the pain that his widow is still going through and reliving all those horrors, but words just can’t paint an accurate enough picture. I pray to God that I don’t die that way, and that I would be spared the awful reality of being a primary caretaker of a loved one dying that way, because I don’t have that kind of courage or strength.
Since everyone has to die, I could only ask to go the way my maternal grandmother did- suddenly, via a massive stroke that took her from walking, talking and being completely normal to being pretty much dead as a doornail in an instant. It really sucked for the rest of the family, but it actually gives me some peace knowing that she didn’t linger around and suffer for months or years, slowly and painfully deteriorating until she was unrecognizable.
Stephen King said it in his book Pet Sematary: Sometimes dead is better.
I am not in any hurry to take the Dirt Nap- nor am I in any hurry for anyone else I care about to bite the big one either- but I still have a really hard time with suffering, and watching people sort of fade and melt away before my eyes.
Maybe that’s what that whole “mid-life crisis” thing is- understanding that personal mortality is about more than just the Dirt Nap- it’s the little bites of decay and loss and downhill slide of entropy that we endure every day. Things like the realization that my eyes don’t adjust to close vision when I have my glasses on, or that the people I went to high school with look like my Dad’s friends- and that a good number of my Dad’s friends are dead.
The places are either gone or drastically changed, and that’s not even been from the distant past. I usually don’t have too many reasons to go downtown- save for the paper nightie appointment once a year- because I go to a different primary care Dr. and his office isn’t downtown. Yesterday I decided to take my granddaughter to the art museum (which I must recommend, as they have lots of fun stuff for kids) and I was amazed on the way down High St. to take her back home at observing the OSU campus. At least temporarily, campus has been de-skankified and yuppiefied almost beyond recognition. I think they’re trying to overcome their reputation of being the Midwest’s #1 school to get robbed and raped. Good luck with that. Especially on the night of the Michigan game. Leave your car- and yourself- at home. Watch the game, if you must, on TV.
Of course, campus gets a makeover about once every 20 years. It will take about a year or so for the current renovations to get trashed, and when you think it can’t get any nastier, some builders come in with bulldozers, raze most of it, and start again.
Maybe that’s what’s going on with me. I could use a renovation.
Home improvement is nowhere to be found in my box of talents. Believe that.
I would like to expand my education- not necessarily in a formal way, because, sadly, most so-called institutions of learning are all about the almighty dollar and/or all about filling young people’s heads with socialist/globalist garbage. Even poor Steve-o had to take two courses that I believed were total politically correct garbage- one course in “cultural sensitivity” and another on “our global economy.” The first course mostly informed him that as a white male he is/was responsible for all of the evils in the world today, from inequality in the workplace to global warming (both concepts are crocks of crap, IMO.) The second was supposed to be on economics but it ended up being a formalized diatribe on how industrialized nations are victimizing tribal peoples in third world holes, and how we should bury our cars and wipe with reusable cloths. That would have been sort of funny, except that his major was automotive science.
I think I will embark upon a self-directed expansion of knowledge, even though I know that my biases will play into that. It’s no worse than a tech school requiring my son to take courses in BS to graduate.