I try not to regret things. Bad or good, what happened has happened. Good things end, bad things end. I must be grateful because these things mold me into who I am. I am growing. I am a living, breathing person, made of flesh and blood and bone. I’m not who I was yesterday nor will I be the same person tomorrow.
Sunday. I’ve never been keen on being home on Sundays. I always feel like I should be as lazy as I can be on Sundays but there is clearly always something to do.
The Walking Dead is on. I put it on. It’s streaming on my computer as I write this. The third window on my computer is open to a social network I use often.
I don’t feel myself today. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I sit beside a window overlooking a rural dirt road. Not many cars drive on it. It’s peaceful. I like it. There is no reason for me to move from my current position.
I noticed something recently and I’ve been keeping tabs on it. I noticed that I’ve been forgetting things minutes after they’ve come to mind. There are mornings when I’ve made coffee, poured it into a mug, added two sugars and milk to it and when I’ve gone back to the mug, I had forgotten if I’ve added sugar. I try hard to remember but I can’t.
There have been other instances. I’ve been driving and, all of a sudden, I am unsure as to whether I am heading to the office or heading home. It takes me what feels like an eternity to begin recognizing the route again.
With that said, I don’t know whether to be fearful of the prognosis or that I’m adjusting comfortably to this new state of being. I’ve built routines and have begun utilizing apps that help remind me of things. I’m still working on the Did-I-put-sugar-in-my-coffee-or-not thing. I’ll figure that out someday.
Tomorrow will be the twenty-first anniversary of my mother’s passing. We were very close though we often did not see eye to eye.
Recently I’ve drawn comparisons between my mother’s life and the one I’m chugging along with. I left home around the time my mother was forty-five, the same age that I am at now. My kids moved about a year and a half ago with their mom because they’re not at the point where they can be on their own.
When I left home, my mother continued working but unbeknownst to me, she was abusing alcohol. I know now that she was very lonely and there was pain, a pain that I’ve not been able to put my finger on. She lost several siblings before she died and perhaps the losses weighed more heavily on her than I imagined.
For the last four years of her life, she lived alone. I know that she watched lots of TV and read the daily newspapers without fail. After she had read the papers she would doodle on them. I have a few of the newspapers she left behind to this day.
I think of the times when I’m alone and at my loneliest and I think of her. It’s painful as fuck to be alone. And when I say alone, I mean without friends or family nearby. I’m saying that if I dropped dead right now no one would notice until I didn’t show up for my next workday. I understand her pain more today than I ever did.
I know now that my mother chose a slow and painful road to death. I say chose because I think she made a conscious effort to give up. It was one of those choices you make that you’re too embarrassed to share with another person. You just continue on a destructive path until its over.
Sadly, she lost the opportunity to see me grow into a middle-aged dude. I’m gray, my hair is receding and I am at the beginning stages of arthritis. She would have gotten a kick out of all that. She lost the opportunity to see her grandchildren grow up. Two are in adulthood and two are at the cusp of it.
To that end, I noticed some people on my dash voicing their despair. Most of them have children and families. If you are in pain, seek help. Don’t deprive yourself of the good and exciting things that lie ahead, both for your family and yourself.
In the last year or so, I’ve lost my ability to drink myself to oblivion. I don’t know when it happened or how it happened. I just woke up one day and stopped drinking myself to death. There would have to be a monumental turn in my wellness for me to die at the forty-nine as she did.
That monumental turn has three years to go. Give it your best shot.
There will be no rest from tragedy. The world is a place that will not rest from it. It’s inhabitants will have none of it.
The pain will continue, the earth will revolve and the blood will flow into its waters as a reminder that its inhabitants are fragile creatures who are prone to wickedness and kindness from time to time.
I fool myself on the weekends. During the week there is always a build up of good feelings. Sadly they all come crashing down during the weekends when I feel most alone.
It’s no one’s fault. I’m not even at fault. Although I mostly rest on weekends there is still a desire to paint the town red, and more importantly, with someone else in tow.
I filled this weekend with work. When I do this I barely have time to get to work much less do anything I might enjoy doing. Saturday was uncharacteristically busy and Sunday will be more of the same. On the one hand I make extra money but on the other, it sinks me deeper and deeper into loneliness and depression.
It feels like I’ve been holding my breath for over thirty-six hours. I’m suffocating and there’s no one to share it with. And yet I don’t want to. I don’t want to share. I don’t want anyone to suffocate with me. I want to go at it alone until I can go at it no longer.
I remember the last time I saw her alive. She was two months short of her fiftieth birthday but she looked small and ancient in her hospital bed. There was an incessant beeping sound and the room was cold.
She laid in her hospital bed with a large tube in her mouth. There was blood on the floor and on the bed. When I got closer, I noticed blood pouring from her nose and from her eyes.
A nurse rushed into the room seconds after I had arrived with hopes to shield me from this scene. The seconds in that room felt like an eternity. “Not much longer to go,” she said.
I walked out of her room and into a room where the rest of my family gathered. I received a hug from everyone. It was evident from the beginning that those who were once the decision makers of the family were no more. They were too old. They had their own health concerns. It was up to me to decide.
When her doctor pulled me aside and informed me of the prognosis, I could only manage a blank stare at the hospital hallway wall. It was white. I remember thinking that the wall needed a picture. Maybe a picture of a garden or a river.
“There is no hope,” he said, “I think you need to make a decision.” I heard this as if it was being shouted from the mouth of a cave, a cave that was in danger of caving in all around me.
My family would hear none of it. I couldn’t face them again if I pulled the plug. That much I was certain of. She died a few hours later at the age of forty-nine.
Cirrhosis of the liver, they said.
I remember thinking it was all a dream. It was like being asleep and being completely aware that what your subconscious has cooked up is not real.
But everything was real. Your kiss, the walk through your city, a precious jewel located in South Australia and the moments we spent making love or simply watching TV.
From the moment I felt your warm embrace (shortly after I cleared customs and found my way to your airport’s common area) to the moment I reluctantly left your presence, I felt at home. And home is wherever you are. I learned that the minute you visited me in America and I took you to my home.
But the dream ended. I would have forced myself awake if I knew it was going to end. Now I’m left with an emptiness I find difficult and unwilling to fill.