Threshold of Revelations: In the Country of Last Things *
After we arrived at the house, Asshat had himself ensconced in a comfy chair in the basement so he could get IV fluids. My mother hooked him up, and we sat in the basement watching the latest offering from Netflix. When someone is dying, even the most mundane of activities, watching a DVD, suddenly take on completely different significance.
We watched Much Ado About Nothing, the Kenneth Branaugh version. Asshat declared it too sentimental, as it had to be too something in his estimation. I sat there wondering if I was dying, what movies would I want to watch? Would I bother with any of my horror movies? Would I suddenly go running for the musical comedies? Would I even want to see existential movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Existenz?
And this brings up a slew of last thoughts. What would I want my last meal to be? My last book? My last vacation? My last season? My last time of day? And these are all the big things, the things we know we'll miss-real gooey hot fudge sundaes, swimming in the ocean, smelling frais du bois on the streets of Paris, having wild passionate sex (in bed, on the couch, in the backgarden, in the shower), snuggling under the covers on a cold day, hugging an old friend you meet by chance, sitting a field filled with fireflies on a quiet summer night, struggling to walk in knee deep snow, enjoying a rose scented bath filled with bubbles. The list goes on and on. Someday, I will have enjoyed all those things for the last time.
And then there are the things you don't think about. The last time you brush your teeth, take a quick shower, do the laundry, vacuum, go to the DMV, do your taxes, pay the bills, pick up the dry cleaning, change the lightbulbs, walking up the stairs...hell wipe your ass. You'll miss those too one day, you don't think so, but you will. Trust me.
A week before I went to upstate, a friendly acquaintance was watching me eat a cupcake. I offered him some, but he declined even though he really wanted some. I asked him how he had such self control, and he said "Well you're a spring chicken compared to me. When you get to my age, and you've had about nine thousand you think 'I don't need one more.'" I smiled and nodded and didn't trust a single word. How could I? One day I won't be able to have anymore cupcakes and won't I regret all the cupcakes I could have eaten and didn't? And don't even get me started on the truffle cheese, salted caramels, bacon chocolate bars, jalapeno peanut brittle, caramel apples, chubby hubby ice cream...well you get the idea. And that's just the decadent treats. What about the nights out with friends? Laughing in the park? Discovering new lovers in France? The adventures? The creature comforts? The enjoyable challenges? The hard won accomplishments? Even the horrifying farces that will turn into amusing anecdotes?
My therapist told me once that she knew some people who died of Parkinsons. "They seemed peaceful after they embraced the fact they couldn't talk anymore." How does one embrace that? I thought. How could I ever be at peace with having spoken my last words?
How could I ever have enough?
Still, I sat there watching the movie with my eyes filling with tears because Asshat had already passed so many of those milestones. He had already eaten his last meal, even though he didn't know it at the time. The cancer had knocked out his taste buds early so he was living on Ensure, soon he wouldn't even have that. A gourmande all his life spending his last few months drinking Ensure. He wasn't going to get one last decadent meal. Not even a snack. Not one little sliver of truffle. And there would be more sacrifices to come.
He was living through Hell already and he still had worse to look forward to.
I posted a question on facebook asking people what movie they wanted their last movie to be. No one responded. I suppose no one wanted to think about the reality of it.
Still, whether we want to think of it, it's coming. The last movie we shall ever watch. The last meal. The last season. The last time of day. The last thought.
The last taste of strawberries and walking in the snow.
* I started writing this entry, and the following entries, before my mother's boyfriend passed away. He died on Monday 19, 2010.
Labels: cancer, death, dying, lung cancer, movies
Bad Bunni posted at 7/24/2010 11:47:00 PM