Tag Archives: mortality

I Want to Go On

I Want to Go On

Lately, I have spent much time thinking about how far into my life I am.  I can’t believe that it is most probably 3/4 completed–if I am lucky!  I’m not ready for it all to be over that soon, but I am caught between enjoying fully what I am doing right now and finding yet another experience to round out my life.  What is important––the moment or the whole?  As much as I love writing all morning, reading blogs, taking photos, nudging my house into line and the serendipity of venturing out a few kilometers to see what life will present—what friends I’ll run into, what new friends I’ll make––I sometimes wonder if there are entirely new adventures farther afield that I should be investigating.  Is there another perfect place to live—people and friends who will bring me closer to a part of myself I’ve never investigated before?  Eight long years after Bob died—when I was ready for one more love in my life—I said that I would not look for someone like him but just be open to the amazing possibilities.  Perhaps some new love would open up an unexplored side of me as he had mined my artistic side. 

I tried to maintain an open mind as I was invited into the personal lives of men who urged me to explore sides of myself that I came to realize that, although titillating, I had no desire to explore.  I had no interest in becoming a second wife in a love triangle or in donning a leather mask or in being humiliated sexually.  I had no interest in being the “all” for any man.  I flirted with the idea of accepting an invitation to take off in a boat or a road trip down to the tip of South America, but in the end, was not desperate enough to take the chance of being stranded mid-ocean in a typhoon with a inadequate captain or riding as a captive sidekick to someone who proved to be more boring than his much-labored-over profile on OKCupid.

In the end, I made a very loving cyber-friend, and repeating a pattern, it seems that this friendship is a substitute that I have convinced myself is enough.  It fills in lonely hours and keeps me from yearning for that actual private touch.  My bed partner is my computer—two of them if the truth be told. One downloads episodes of favorite shows to binge-watch, the other provides a place to to read and comment on blogs I follow, to post new blogs and to read comments from those who have read my blogs.

They reassure me, these readers of my private life published daily on the page.  They applaud my gains in photographic prowess, ask about the adventures of Morrie, the little Scottish terrier left in the wake of a house sitter who first adopted and then abandoned him.  They give advice and seek advice—friends spread out around the world who are always there.  Almost all are supportive, non-combative, interesting, smart, liberal, funny and interesting writers themselves.  Some are outstanding.  They fill in the hours when friends go back to their husbands, dogs go into their beds to snooze—when the activity of the outer world ceases.  Those hours meant to be slept through but into which I cannot surrender myself, hating to give up anymore time to sleep than is absolutely necessary.

Perhaps some part of me is always aware of the very long sleep that awaits me. It is my fear of it that pulls me out of near-sleep into a panic where I cannot breathe—like a foreknowledge of my last gasping breath.  I bolt from my bed to struggle with the key to the barred grid outside my sliding glass door and screen—go outside for the air that escapes me, caught as it is within the room. That panic—that terror of no longer being––what should it drive me towards?  Acceptance? The quest for a new faith? New loves?  New adventures? What am I missing out on that drives me to want more life than I’ve already had? Is there some purpose, some journey, some task that would make me stop fearing the end of everything?  Is there any philosophy that I could convince myself to believe in that would calm my fears of ceasing to be?

Why is it that I have convinced myself that I, of all in the universe, should continue to “be” forever?  For this is what I desire.  I want a long life—longer than that of my mother who died at 91 or my grandmother who died at 96.  I want to go on having adventures, exciting friends of all ages, stimulating thoughts that I will continue to be able to convey to others.  I do not want my life to be three-quarters over. I want to go on.

Birthday Reflections

What person doesn’t, as they approach and then enter the year in their life that marks the year a parent died, feel some trepidation? My father, my grandfather and even my husband died at the age of 70, and some little perversity of my mind has feared all year long that I would join them.  All my life, I have avoided black cats who crossed my path and walking under ladders. When I spill salt, I throw a bit over my left shoulder, just in case. It is not that I believe, necessarily , in these superstitions, but nonetheless, I avoid them. So it is with dangers in my seventieth year.  I stayed home more.  Avoided crowds and travel. I wrote more. Got my house in order—to a degree. I lavished attention on my animals, hoping they would remember me fondly, found surrogate parents for all but the cats. 

Poor cats.  I think those cats, however, represented that sane part of me who knew I would survive this milestone. I would be here to care for them for a good many years.  Perhaps twenty-one. Perhaps twenty-six.  My mother died at the age of 91, my paternal grandmother at 96. Perhaps it would be their genetic makeup in me that would determine my lifespan.  All ridiculous meanderings of a mind left too much in solitude, by choice.  Today I turned 71, riddled by amoebas as I was last year in the week approaching my birthday, but battling back.

Last night one of my best and oldest friends called to talk me into my birthday.  As we talked, Forgottenman sent a Happy Birthday message precisely at Midnight. I opened the cards sent by my sister.  She said they were pre-birthday cards. I await the official one. 

When my alarm went off at 8 this morning to awaken me for my morning dose of antibiotics, dogs and cats remained silent. A strange occurrence.  Usually, at the first signs of my stirring, they set up their morning cacophony. This morning, however, all remained silent.  It was fifteen minutes later, after I’d read Facebook greetings and checked blog statistics, that they set up a terrific clamor.  I heard a gate creak open, although no one was scheduled for work this morning.  A key turned in the front lock. My bedroom door opened.  It was Yolanda and family: Juan Pablo, Oscar, and Yoli, with chihuahua Bryan in arms. Oscar carried flowers. Juan Pablo a gift. It was a surprise early-morning birthday visit before they all drove Yolanda to work in La Ribera. I made coffee, poured fruit juice for the kids and small shots of a special pistachio mescal for the adults. Not me, as I’m on antibiotics. We took photos, tried to introduce Bryan the dog to my dogs.  Oscar cracked open the door to the doggie domain just a bit. My dogs, sniffing and curious, were friendly.  Bryan, the runt, snarled to assert his authority, there in the arms of Oscar, his protector.

We took photos and they departed. The amoebas that seemed to be in abeyance yesterday have returned full-fold.  The late afternoon lunch I had planned with friends, (a tentative appointment since they all, too, are suffering from amoebas) will probably not happen after all. My appointment with a doctor will. I’ll see her for relief from this yearly visitor that, when it departs, always leaves me with an increased enjoyment of life and health. A profound appreciation of just feeling normal. 

As I looked for something to remove from my laptop so I could move the photos you’ll see below there to work with them, I found this poem written a few months ago.  I’ve printed it before and then forgotten it, but reading it today as a stranger might, I realized that it encapsulates a lot of what I’ve been feeling this past year; so here it is again, read with a new appreciation of what it means. 

Swimming to Sandy Bottom

Working my way to sandy bottom,
through murky waters growing clear.
Through all the things I daily think of
down to the plain facts that I fear.

Swimming down to sandy bottoms,
down to past truths and future fears.
The daily details float behind as
I face old matters in arrears.

If my whole life should tell a story,
how do the details all add up?
I’ve always thought time was a sieve, but
perhaps I’ll find it was a cup.

Working my way to sandy bottom,
the flotsam of my years floats near.
All the past terrors and past glories,
and future truths I’ve come to fear.

Working my way to sandy bottom,
no oxygen to draw my breath.
Working our ways to sandy bottom,
we spend our lives to buy our death.

All the glories and the triumphs.
All the failures and the fears.
All the trophies we’ve collected,
and all the tattered, used-up years.

Working our ways to sandy bottoms,
will there be gold grains in the sands?
Too late to spend discovered riches,
they slip like lives right through our hands.

Working our ways to sandy bottoms,
our lives lift up as we swim down,
As we leave the past behind us,
we find our future all around.

Click on first photo and then on right arrows to enlarge all.

What Lesson Have I Learned?

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Five minutes after I posted my last blog (which, along with yesterday’s blog post, dealt with mortality) when I was going to see a sick friend and giving Yolanda a ride to her next job,  I ran head-on into a concrete wall and totaled my car.  The engine caught fire and my door was jammed, as was the door of my passenger.  We got one window open, finally, and then it occurred to me there was an override on the passenger door, so I clicked it and we both escaped.

Luckily my gardener was here and he drove me to my doctor’s  office.  I was afraid to move at all until someone showed me how to do so without risking damaging my spine, which was pretty excruciating by now. When after 5 minutes no one came out to help me, (It’s an emergency, Yolanda told them, and they answered that the doctor was with another patient!) I told Pasiano just to drive on to the Red Cross where with some effort and lots of pain and a back brace, I got out of the back seat of Pasiano’s car. (The front door doesn’t open.)

The X-ray tech and the on-call dr. showed me the X-rays, said there was a severe displacement of the spine and that they were calling in a neurosurgeon.  Only then did I start to panic a small bit.  “Breathe slowly,” I told myself and tried to go into a meditative state.  Meanwhile, Yolanda unbeknownst to me, had left with my purse to go try to find my friend Audrey, who lives more than a mile away and who wasn’t answering her phone. It had been clear to me that when I called both her home and cell phone with no answer that she was probably at a rehearsal and definitely not at home, but Yolanda hadn’t consulted me regarding her decision and unfortunately, my insurance info was inside my purse and I didn’t have any numbers to call to tell me which hospital to go to in Guad. and what neurosurgeon they’d recommend.

A half hour later the surgeon arrived to tell me no surgery was necessary and that all of the places that hurt were just pulled or strained muscles or organs.  He gave me two sets of little pills which I couldn’t take until I got home and had food to take them with.

Five hours since the collision event, the claims adjustor is here. He has affirmed the fact that my car is probably totalled. But . . . call me lucky.  In addition to my sore neck and back, I  hurt all over, have a seat belt burn from my shoulder, down my breast and to my waist, a severely bruised abdomen and stomach and two knees that don’t bend too well,  but it will all mend.  Five days in bed, the doctor instructed, and two of those little pills morning and night for seven days.  Having taken one an hour or two ago, I am feeling floaty and I’m sure the adjustor thinks I’m flirting with him, but it is one of those little pills that is flirting with him if anyone/anything is! As the Raquet Club security arrives, and the guy with the fancy tow truck, I continue to babble on. Nothing like little magic pills to help one take such matters in stride. He seems to be enjoying it.  I speak to him in Spanish and he answers in English!

Click first photo to see captions and enlarge photos. You’ll never know why the virgin is in these pictures if  you don’t read the captions!

okcforgottenman tells me he’s had an uneasy feeling all day since reading my poem. Coupled with the one I wrote yesterday, he had a premonition that something was about to happen.  I can only say that if it had to happen, I’m so glad it happened in this particular way, where no one was hurt except my car and me.  Something like this has to reaffirm the importance of this wonderful gift of life.

What walks on two legs and is black and blue all over?  Me, until I get my rental car in up to 5 days.  Since I’m supposed to stay in bed until then, I guess it’s no loss.

The daily prompt today is adrift

Double Snap!

Double Snap!

“Clap hands,” they said, “Clap hands
to the music,” and we all obeyed
that 50’s and 60’s band
that we might have followed anywhere–
out the door and across the street into the ocean
like geriatric children following a Pied Piper.

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As we had when the music was new,
we gyrated and sweated,
bumped hips, jitterbugged,
did swing and wild improvisation

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at Palapa Joe’s.
Joe himself barefoot at the keyboard,

a bookend to Denise at the drums.
And we? We are as hot
as this February night.

“Oh to be young again” is not in anyone’s vocabulary,
for we are teenagers again below the Tropic of Cancer.
In the ocean or in front of it,
sipping the sunset from tiny cobalt glasses,

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watching children move toy trucks down sandy roads
of their imagination

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and teenagers elfin in the surf.

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The sun falling falling farther northwards every day
until that March day we waited for every year when it sank
directly behind the offshore island.

Snap. It is gone.
Double snap. So are we.

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Here’s more of a photo story about Palapa Joe’s if you are interested:
 https://judydykstrabrown.com/2016/02/28/last-open-mike-of-the-season-at-palapa-joes/

The NaPoWriMo prompt was “double” and the WordPress prompt was “snap” so I combined them today…Here are links to those prompt sites in case you want to play along:
http://www.napowrimo.net/day-fifteen-2/
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/snap/

Sweep (On the Death of David Bowie)

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Sweep

(On the Death of David Bowie)

Our world is clearing out around us,
swept by the broom of whatever moves things on.
Like dead leaves curling in their separate corners,
we miss the sweep this time,
but in our mind’s back edge
we imagine our ends—painful or quick,
alone or crowded with the vestiges of our life:
people, things, a cat curled over our feet to warm what can’t be warmed.
That broom leaning there against the corner has plans for us.
There is a world wanting to be filled up again
that needs clearing.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/teen-age-idol/

Not Much Choice!

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                                                            Not Much Choice!

The prompt today is  Finite Creatures: At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?

I wrote “I’ll Have to Go” to this exact prompt last November.  To see that poem, go HERE.