Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One Hundred and Twenty Five

I’m wasting what little time I have left.

Of course I am. We’re all wasting our time. None of us is doing what we should be. But this assumes there’s something we should be doing.

Camus said there’s only one serious philosophical question: is life worth living? Once we decide what we should be doing, we have a reason for living and suicide is no longer an option.

What should I be doing? This question troubled me when I was a child. I knew that, in theory, something is better than nothing; but in practice, knowing that if this world should ever become too terrible for me to bear, I could end it, always consoled me.

The pain of others always troubled me more than my own because I could endure my own, but I could do nothing to help them endure theirs. I sat by the dying and watched them cling to lives I wouldn’t want, and decided my mission would be to help others, making their lives worth living so their deaths wouldn’t be meaningless. But I failed.

Worst of all, I failed the person I loved most. She trusted me, but I couldn’t save her from the doctors who butchered her.

I knew, when I was a child, that this world is terrible. And now it's worse. The day is coming when the living will envy the dead. Many already do. Better to die young. Best is never to have been born.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

One Hundred and Twenty Four

Another false alarm.

The doctor said I’d have to be hospitalized if my condition didn’t improve. I have no intention of dying in hospital, so once again I prepared to kill myself; but now my condition is improving. I’ve even begun taking daily walks again.

But while my body soldiers on, my brain continues dying. I felt the prefrontal cortex go numb after she died, and now the top of my head, the cortex, feels numb.

Leonard is also preparing for death, sending family memorabilia he’s saved over the years to relatives who probably throw it away.

He keeps saying he has only two more years. He doesn’t want to die alone, at home, so he intends to move in with one of his relatives.

Family means everything to him, but I doubt his relatives feel the same, so I wondered if any of them would agree to take him in. I underestimated him.

He’s chosen to live with his nephew Eric, who recently lost his job, his house and his wife, and is now working as a bartender and living in a room above the bar. I’m sure Eric will be happy to share living expenses with an uncle who receives two pensions: one from the city, and another from the navy.

I don’t want to die alone any more than Leonard does, and considered suggesting to him that he move in with me (or I with him). Apparently he anticipated this, because lately he’s been making disparaging remarks about friendship. Friends can’t be relied on, he says. Only family.

Piecemeal the body dies, and the timid soul
has her footing washed away as the dark flood rises.

We are dying, we are dying, we are all of us dying
and nothing will stay the flood rising within us
soon it will rise on the world.

We are dying, we are dying, piecemeal our bodies are dying
our strength leaves us
and our soul cowers naked in the dark rain over the flood,
cowering in the last branches of the tree of our life.

We are dying, we are dying, and all we can do now
is be ready to die
and build the ship of death 
to carry the soul on the longest journey.

A little ship, with oars and food
and little dishes, and all accoutrements
fitting and ready for the departing soul.

Now launch the ship
now, as the body dies and life departs
launch the fragile soul in the fragile ship of courage, the ark of faith
with its store of food and little cooking pans
and change of clothes,
upon the flood's black waste
upon the waters of the end
upon the sea of death, where still we sail
darkly, for we cannot steer, and have no port.

There is no port, there is no place to go
only the deepening black darkening 
still blacker upon the soundless flood
darkness at one with darkness, up and down.

And the little ship is there, yet she is gone.
She is not seen, for there is nothing to see her by.
She is gone! gone! and yet
somewhere she is there.
Nowhere!

Everything is gone, the body is gone
completely gone, entirely gone.
The upper darkness is as heavy as the lower
and between them the little ship
is gone.
She is gone.

It is the end, it is oblivion.