Sunday, August 5, 2012

Love is Like the Weather

The storm blows in. They fight. They yell. They curse. They can't "live like this" any more. I get aggravated hearing them complain. They nit pick at each other. They are meaner than I have ever been to someone I loved. I would be devastated if someone spoke to me the same. I would have been long gone. He calls her controlling. She calls him deceitful. He calls her negative. She calls him oblivious.  She complains about how he eats and that he doesn't get out of his nightshirt for days so she can wash it and the mountains and mountains of paper he prints on and never looks at again. They get mad at each other through emails. Emails sent to his children are sources of argument for both. The things they both say are exaggerated and skewed. Seen from a forgetful view through a hazy window.
The storm blows out. They can't keep their hands off each other. They hug and kiss and lean on each other. They practically make out at the table. He makes eyes at her and grins secretively. She grins back and looks over at me with glee. They talk about "the bedroom" suggestively. She initiates the talk. He thinks she's "racey". He calls her beautiful.  Its over the top, sometimes, but I am happy when the storm is out.
Neither can hear. Conversations are said then repeated, then repeated again, slowly, loudly, exaggerated. Their favorite word is "what?" He barely listens, anyway. His ability to focus is incredible. The world ceases to exist around him. A hurricane could hit and he would read his paper. She plays Nintendo DS. This is their morning routine. This is their time together.
I try to convince them to find things to do together. They are stubborn. They are set in their ways. To refuse is to triumph, a battle won. They have all the time in the world but they spend it together but separate. Each engulfed in their own activity.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Meaning of Death

     His family communicates through emails, a group email addressed to all members of the family. They discuss him like he isn't there. Nothing is sacred in the topics of conversation; dementia, nursing homes, incontinence, death and funeral arrangements discussed as cold and matter of fact as a 30 second spot between segments of a television program on the Lifetime channel. He is privy to all of the conversations, all discussing the final years of his life like some board of directors of a failing corporation. SO many emails. Each one is pages and pages, thousands of words. I see it as so cold. I believe they see it as open and matter of fact. I sense no love there. Maybe it is the kind of love that they recognize and I don't.
      I can't discuss my mother's death with her without crying. I dread that day. It is the worst thought of my life. I play that day in my head often. I contemplate how it will play out. Will I be there? Will I get a message through the phone. The most I say to her about it is to try and get her to handle her affairs because I know I will be a wreck. The gaping void that will open in my life will be like a chasm threatening to swallow me. My heart breaks into a million pieces when I even mention it. I stare at her all of the time, trying to see how she feels, to analyze her health. Every labored breath, every swollen limb, every bent vertebrae is a beacon, a shadow of death.
     They want him to respond to their emails. How do you respond to these insinuations, these excessive inquisitions. How can one respond when all moments are spent ducking away from death, living in the shadow of its spectre. I am sure they only have the best of intentions. This is necessary, important. So few moments left and this is how they are spent. I cant imagine what life led to this.