Just press this button and it will release poison into your veins through the IV that I've set up.And maybe we've gone on in life as a people long past the point where we're truly ripe. Joseph Heller said something about that, too, when he wrote Catch 22 and spilled the secret of Snowden all over the plane. Life is everything. Being able to live and do the things that we want to do before we get too old and too feeble to go to the good places. I think of my dad not wanting to be alive if he can't hunt and fish. I think to myself of all the joy I get through the physical exercise of hiking while experiencing the beauty of the woods and the world around me as my legs carry me to waterfalls, slot canyons, and mountain views. I wouldn't want to live if I was chained to a chair in the living room of my house, rocking into a slumber that seemed to take ages to get to. Somehow, I believe there has to be a point where we fulfill our need, and that's that. We make peace with the universe, and like Allen Ginsburg, we go "toodle loo."
My neighbor's husband died of a prolonged death just recently. We've lived in this house since November of 2009, and we saw him a few times. He never made it to the porch. A couple of times, I went in the house to help move him. He just died slowly, and it was sad watching how much it took out of my neighbor as she witnessed the end of her husband of 50+ years. She never knew it was the end - even when the hospice team came in. He just slipped further and further out of consciousness as his body filled up with toxins, and eventually, that was it. He was gone. Now, she's lost and angry as he isn't there to give her support to do the daily tasks - even though she's done them for ages now. She's trying to fill up her time, and we talk to her for companionship and because she's a good person, but the bitterness of having a person that was so loved gone is hurting her as she spends more time remembering the bad things that were done to him. She still remembers the struggles that they went through and perhaps there is a sense of "looks like we made it," but there's also a sense of we had a hard life.
And some do, but...
The days just get harder and longer, and thoughts of writing out his life's memories are lost to her (the kids aren't interested in this - even if that's now, and you never know what they'll feel years later - I say this as I have stored the memories of ancient times of my own family - 80-90 years ago and those from 70 years or so ago).
And sometimes, it's all about the giving up that seems to be the answer to living. I remember being around my neighbor at times when you could see how much it hurt her to watch the man she loved suffered, and she eluded to feeling like she wanted his suffering to stop - ashamed in part - but still understanding that the man she loved wasn't there any more. But still she held onto his belongings because they were his. She fixed his car up - even though it was old and gone and she really wasn't using it. She still wanted to believe, and she didn't want him to see his life given away before it was gone.
And there is nobility and love and honor in what she did. Now, she just has to move on to accept death and grief. It won't be easy, but it will lead to something good - hopefully.
For the baseball metaphor of all of the things that have gone and are no longer as they were before, we can only look to Dan Uggla. He's hitting .172 with 7 home runs propping up his 37 hits. Sure, 15 of his hits are for extra bases, but he's batting .172! He was killing me for keeping him in the lineup. I bounced between 2nd and 4th place (out of 6 teams), and as soon as I dropped him - acknowledged the end - I went into first place.
It wasn't easy to say goodbye to Uggla. I've liked him. A lot of the players who come up with Florida are really likable and good players, but sometimes, we have to say goodbye. Like Mike Lowell before him... sometimes, the end comes.
The Baseball Project sang of Willie Mays.
There was the sad end of Ken Griffey Jr.
I wasn't the same after the 2001 season of Mark McGwire until the Angels went to championship glory.
Death isn't easy. The cycles of life aren't easy.
I'm not saying that saying goodbye to a loved one is as easy as moving out a fantasy player or bidding goodbye to a favorite player, but in life, all of the things we love, whether human, animal, or larger than life heroes we never see in our daily lives, are important to us. They make us who we are.
They're not easy to put aside, but there comes a time to understand that we have to help them and us when the time comes and to confront things as realistically as possible - whether we want to believe the end is here or not. I wish my neighbor would have seen the signs a little clearer. That would have made this time now a little easier for her.