Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Friday, August 04, 2006

Death is not a metaphor.

"The moment we are born we begin dying."


"Those not busy being born are busy dying."


Self-pitying twaddle.

I got back to Seattle yesterday afternoon after helping to care for my dad for six days and watching him decline unto death, meaning, step-by-step lose more and more of his faculties and control as the disease took over more and more of his body. Death is taboo like sex is taboo in part because both include the loss of physical dignity, and in our culture, we keep these things private.

Dad wanted to go to end-of-life palliative care at the VA on Monday, but they didn't have a bed until Wednesday, so I stayed until Wednesday to help out. When I left he was still talking and somewhat lucid, but he stopped talking yesterday and he's much worse today. As of a conversation with my sister an hour ago he's still alive, but he could go any time now. At the time I left, we didn't -- still don't -- know how many days -- or hours -- he'll hang on.

The reaper is grim.

When I got there Friday he was perfectly alert and still into the Tigers, watching the ballgames on TV, falling asleep and wanting to know what happened. By Sunday he'd lost interest. He was still making jokes on Monday or Tuesday (don't remember exactly, kind of a blur). My dad has always had big prominent jug ears. On Monday or Tuesday he was dozing in a chair and my brother was rubbing his neck. My brother said, "Can you get surgery to pull these things back?" My dad woke up, lifted his head and said, "I want surgery to push 'em out further."

"Well, you could hear better that way."

"That's not the only reason."

When we were there in June, Dad was still up and around. On the 2nd of July he took his last walk away from home, five doors down the lane to an Independence Day party. My friend Jay was at that party and took the picture above of the open lawns of people's front yards where my parents live, where I spent summers growing up, one big open front yard for a mile.

We'll go back for the funeral.
John, I'm so sorry. My mom followed a similar arc, so I can sympathize. But I was also hoping that your dad might veer off course for a few more unexpected years. All my best to you and your family.
my sincere and heartfelt condolences, john. best wishes to you and your loved ones.
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