Thursday, January 26, 2012

elegy, interrupted

and so it ends.

another chapter, the next great adventure, kicking the bucket... whatever you may call it, death is looming over our heads, all the time.

ahem. hold on, that was a little too melodramatic for 10 o'clock in the morning.

my grandfather passed away yesterday around 4:10 pm, next to his wife of almost 60 years, his only daughter, and his son-in-law. they said goodbye, they turned on the drip, and within an hour he was gone. just like that... one hour of morphine. imagine.

knowing that when that little needle begins feeding your veins minuscule droplets of clear, viscous death-liquor, you will drift quietly out of yourself; knowing that you have five minutes of savoring the final visual delights of these people you have loved and created and created lives for before you will never, ever see them again, but wanting it to be over because your organs are rejecting life so vigorously those visions are blurred by torture, sifted with white patchy pain stars from a four year battle with cancer; trying to gather the shifty images of the family that couldn't be there to say goodbye, the ones you wanted to shield from the ugliness and embarrassment of a strung-out and increasingly agonizing death.

and to let go... the beauty of absconding, of getting the fuck out of that cancer-baiting vessel. jesus.

the man hadn't had solid food in over a year, and little he had before that over the last four years he has vomited back up. he could barely walk in general, and even the 15 feet to the couch in the living room was exhausting to the point he would have to nap. and what for? to get up and go back into his bedroom again to change out morphine patches??

i called mom when i got out of work yesterday, and i knew when she answered the phone crying. we've been waiting. all of the family has been waiting to pick up the phone to the standard "crises crying" phone call, waiting and waiting and waiting and then when it finally happens it's like


and the people on the street slow down almost to frozen and the sun starts setting behind you and your heart drops an inch-and-a-half in your ribcage, and you want to reach through the phone to make your mother stop crying, to tell her how sorry you are that she just lost her father, the man she learned strength and goodness and quiet dignity from... ugh.

i sat down on a bench. hugged her through the receiver on my ear. searched for words to say to her that would give her some sort of strength, some glimmer of hope, some iota of comfort. but all that came out was "it's going to be okay". an oscar-worthy choice, if i do say. a real gem.

but - it's going to be okay. it all has to be okay, because death happens all the time, all around us. it seems a large majority to happen to somebody else. it's just that... to somebody else, we ARE somebody else, so there's that.

i want to love the minutes i live more... cause when that fuckin morphine drip gets you, it gets you. tip the cup to my grandfather, Thomas Raysor Risher; to your loving, dedicated family; to your allegiance to the united states and for the courage you deployed as a fighter pilot in the USAF; to everyone's life you made better just by being alive yourself...

we all love you and wish you the best on this next great adventure.


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