• Verse, Fame and beauty are intense indeed,
    But Death intenser – Death is life's high mead.

   "Jim, do you think we're getting close," Margaret asks, casting her eyes to her sleeping slumped shrunken mother in the nearby recliner. "She just said she was going to get up and make spaghetti." After lingering on her mom her eyes unfocus and tear up , transforming her face to that of a little girl resigning herself to unfathomable sadness for the foreseeable future.

   "No, I think she had a precipitous downturn but has reached a plateau where she will persist awhile. She will never be like she was before, we have to get used to the new her, " I sighed. I could be wrong (I am speaking from memory of my own parent's decline) , I have been wrong a lot about Donna this past month she went from older woman with lump in her breast to dying woman with three different cancers eating her breast, lungs, liver, and possibly more lurking in the recesses of her physical body the doctors have not scanned.

   The plateau is: sleeping for brief periods, waking up in panic or imperious demand for alleviating a physical pain, speaking incoherently (her gums have shrunken, her dentures no longer fit, she slurs) whatever concern floats up when she achieves consciousness.

   "Oh Jim I am all agitated, I feel like I am dying too, " Margaret tells me after tending to the latest thing wrong . Nauseau. Dry heaves.

   I know what she means: a hollowing out of the inner vitality, a sense of frenetic need for  pointless action which will bring no real help , the mental exhaustion of not achieving real communication, the reward of her falling asleep we take advantage of by hunching inour chairs fretting over Donna's next return to awareness.

   What gets to me is what seems to me to be the miasma that is the  substructure we take for granted, the human body, the so called miracle of evolution. It is thought of  as the self sustaining organism with an intelligence of its own; and it is, til insulted beyond possibility of repair, whereupon this self sustenance becomes a horrific parody.

   She doesn't eat anymore.

   The nurse explained that when death is near, there becomes a competition so to speak between the heart and lungs to persist. All energy goes to these organs. Too much would be taken up by digestion.

   And she persists in a body which brings only agony.

   And we are empathetic: we take on her agony and die along with her, and when she actually dies I suspect we shall be reborn.

Views: 606

Comment by Arthur James on October 3, 2015 at 3:16pm


James Narc E. ?

Ya's no doper ?

I thinking of Ya's

two. Best Wishes.


I got uninvited

Visitors Who 

Stop Off

For Free Beer.

So? So I

Visit Local Beer

Store and

Stop @ wifi &

Go Back Home.

It Rainy & So-

So Gloomy. So I

Started a Wood

Stove Fire. I Go

Sip FlyingDog's

Seasonal Brew-

Pumpkin Ale.

The Visitors 

Are Pleasant,

and Brought?


Never Mind.

I felt a bit

Guilty? I

not too



Farmers say:

Yo Light Up!

Yo Lights Out!

Lighten Uo Yo!


Good night,

and Best




We are


and die


` , `


Comment by koshersalaami on October 3, 2015 at 3:23pm

In a way, you will be. The important thing is to accept your rebirth. Her death will bring sadness, which in some ways I think will be more expected and maybe easier to handle than the emptiness it brings, but it will also bring relief. I don't mean just for her, though of course there will be that; I mean for you. You have a great deal of responsibility and worry at the moment. When that leaves, you will feel lighter. 

You probably know this already, because you have experienced the death of declining people close at hand, but accept the lightness. There may be a temptation to feel guilty about the lightness because it feels very strange that the death of a loved one ever brings anything at all positive. Under these circumstances death can, though. Death is not remotely a net positive; it would be more accurate to say that the relief is a sort of combination of a slight celestial payback and a slight cushion for the fall. Given the amount of loss and grief you'll experience, particularly given the amount of loss and grief Margaret and her kids will experience, accept the gift of what little positive there is. Don't make the mistake of refusing it. 

I'm not telling you something like "it's all for the best." That's bullshit. But you're living with a lot of stress now and some of that stress will leave. I'm not advising you to talk to anyone else (outside the immediate family) about this, because it's nobody else's business; just be sure you know it's OK to accept. As my sister told me, be wary of relief guilt.

That piece of advice helped me survive the death of my son more than anything else. Not that his death was a long process; on the contrary, it was terribly sudden. However, because of the nature of his life, raising him was physically difficult and brought with it its own set of worries, even though we escaped a lot of the worries of the parents of able-bodied kids. Going from being a caregiver to not being a caregiver was a relief, as was no longer being worried about his future, which frankly scared the Hell out of me. I would rather have had the difficulty and the worry than lose him, but I wasn't given that choice, as you are not being given that choice, so accept whatever cushions the blow. 

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on October 3, 2015 at 3:25pm

Thanks for the crazy wisdom Arthur ya remind me of Chungpa .


That which possesses discriminating awareness, that which possesses a sense of duality—which grasps or rejects something external—

that is mind.

 Fundamentally it is that which can associate with an 'other'—with a 'something', beer

 that is perceived as different from the perceiver.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on October 3, 2015 at 3:26pm

Free beer frees tongues tied by inhibition.

Comment by Zanelle on October 3, 2015 at 3:33pm

No choice.  You are there and she is there.  Is hospice helping?  My turn is coming.  My body is eating itself now and my skin is decaying before my eyes.  We don't speak of it.  We turn to the young here but my turn is coming to be the old one, dying.  Margaret has enough dignity for all of us combined.  My heart goes out to you all.  Somehow there is beauty there and I know you will find those moments and honor them.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on October 3, 2015 at 3:34pm

Yes I know this relief well , and admire how you express it: Death is not remotely a net positive; it would be more accurate to say that the relief is a sort of combination of a slight celestial payback and a slight cushion for the fall.

I guess my guilt comes from feeling hints of that relief in imagination while she is still here, suffering.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on October 3, 2015 at 3:36pm

The moments of beauty often come after the most abject moments of irritation, agony, incoherence.

I doubt you will become incoherent, Z

Comment by koshersalaami on October 3, 2015 at 3:38pm

Sorry to continue given how much I just wrote. I don't know what deaths Margaret has experienced other than the death of her husband. A death like that has no silver lining. There is no relief from anything. It's just a stunning amount of loss with a ton of added responsibility dumped on her precisely when she was in the worst position to cope with it. So I don't know if Margaret has experienced death with relief before, though I have to remember that she was in the funeral industry, so she may have been exposed to enough to pick up on that. If she doesn't read this, please make sure she knows that the relief you get is OK. 

Comment by JMac1949 Today on October 3, 2015 at 3:47pm

Steer the course and help when and how you can. 

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on October 3, 2015 at 3:54pm

Her father succumbed to Alzheimer's, Kosh, so she is conversant with death with relief. Dad was ready . As were my own mom and dad.

Donna, however, has a ferocious will to live. She cries out in her desolation:"I am scared to die".

Jmac, the course is steered down a rolling river. Bouncing off the rocks as we approach the waterfall.


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