Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Courage to Take it To the End

Having Diet Coked myself right past a decent time to go to bed, and having now taken Tylenol PM, hoping to give myself a second chance (oh and to ease my ever present aches and pains!) I will write about something I thought of this evening, after having killed THE MOST enormous arachnid that was teetering on the edge of my scrapbook bag. I couldn't have that. God, it freaked me out. Things should not live that big in my area and they should NOT be in my house.

Well, anyway, my mother gave to me today presents from my Dad and his friend. And one of them from my Dad was a brand new picture Atlas of the world and everything in it. I looked through this with joy and interest. There is an actual entry for psychosis, manic depression and SCORES of other things that I am sure I will delve onto here sometime.

I also found things of interest to me, like Ernest Hemingway, a lovely definition of Jesus Christ, an explanation of heart failure, Nelson Mandela, etc.

I learned that Mr. Hemingway, a known depressive and interestingly ALSO into big game, big fishing and thrill activities (does anyone see Tart wondering if he was Bipolar?) wrote lots of well-known stuff, won two major writing prizes including the lusted after Pulitzer, and then shot himself within two years of winning that prize.

I'm not impressed. I've heard of the Hemingway Collection which is basically bedroom furniture and I'm glad to know that his untimely, personally orchestrated demise did not take away his commercial appeal. I would be much more excited by him if he took it to the dirty end, lived and died the way he was meant to. I feel the same way about Mr. Hunter S. Thompson and to some extent Kurt Colbain. I appreciate genius, don't get me wrong, but more than that what each has in common is one thing: they're a bunch of pu**ie*. Yep, you heard me right.

I have excellent role models for knowing what real heros, real champions, and non-pu**ie* are. That would be both my father and my grandmother (on Mom's side). I may have been cursed with a nasty gene pool in some ways but I am so blessed, on both sides with true tenacity and Strength.

Case in point, my Dad is bipolar, divorced, living miles away from family, has heart problems, diabetes and can barely get up the stairs to his apartment. He is the only person left in his immediate family including his twin who died shortly after birth, a brother that he never knew, a father he barely knew, his sister and mother and jerkoff step-dad. He suffers from THREE catostophic illnesses, and believe me just one of those would get you down. He has never published a prize winning book, although I'm sure he wouldn't mind as he does belong to a Writer's Club (you go, guys!). He worked tirelessly for the gov't for 25 years and for all practical purposes is the quiet type that carries on with life.

And THAT is what he does: carry on with life. He was a Marine and knows how to handle a gun, and I'm pretty sure they teach you right off not to point that thing at yourself. That man is more of my hero than any spoiled, 'gifted' writer who threw it all away. That is Strength, quiet, loving strength and a pittance like Hemingway and Thompson could have learned a lot from a Man like my Dad.

Then there is my Grandma. Grandma is reaching the end of life. She should be dead already, with blood clots that caused them to remove her leg below the left knee a few years ago. She should be dead from the mild stroke she had recently, that caused her to not to be able to use her tongue, and took weeks of beaurucratic nursing home tape to be tested for them to realize the poor woman literally could not eat! She should be dead at 92 when they put her under to insert a gastro tube directly into her stomach. She should have LOST the will to live when all she wanted to do was get out of her bed (with only one leg!) and get into her wheelchair, the only thing that has made her even the glimmer of happy of late (of course, she's not allowed).

They are starting the process of doping her into oblivion. They have already procured the DNR (Do Not Resusitate order). They are waiting for her bed to be empty to make money off of someone's else's Medicare.

Now, Hemingway, Thompson and Colbain would have said the hell with that. If I can't kill myself, dope me into oblivion. This woman will NOT give up. She clings to life with literally bony, skeletal hands and is fiesty in everything from the IV to the oxygen mask placed on her. Is it orneriness, a deep and abiding fear of death and whatever might come after it? I say may we all be that ornery, because I see a tenaciousness that has no rival. She lives with dementia, no mobility, a hole of a place to live, no privacy, no way to do the hobbies she loved (she is soo, sooo (as in Very Much!) musical she played her beloved keyboard until recently, something she has done all her life. Here's one for you: As a job, she played the piano/organ for silent movies! How neat is that!)

She is not, and never will be, a nobody at a nursing home. Mom sees her constantly, and when she was away I tried to maintain her see Gma every other day schedule, with my dog and clean laundry each time. I have never seen a resident visited that much. Don't get me wrong, Gma's no saint. She had to have her own room, because she canNot get along with anyone else, and she has actually hit and pulled hair of another resident. But they say its part of her dementia.

The hell if she's not going down without a fight. I don't know if my grandma ever heard 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night' but it doesn't matter. She's living it.

So you see, I have witnessed firsthand what it means not to pu**y out of life. Famous people can eat their heart out, I have a family, a gene pool that's got you beat.

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