Perhaps Mellodramitic

You know which of your addictions holds sway when you think, “I’d be drinking but I’m out of cigarettes.”

It’s a day. Work is work and you plow through, the mindless drone comforting and infuriating in it’s repetitive boredom, when the call happens. Your Uncle has passed. You disagreed on politics, you had different visions of what was supposed to be, but he was a smart, rational man. Once you got past the propaganda chain emails, you could have a discussion. And you’d end up with a better view, seeing another side an understanding that your way is not always the best.

You’d like to think he saw it the way.

He was never old until the past year. Then, slowly, he aged. He couldn’t walk as upright, but he could still work.

And he aged.

Breathing became labored, but not enough that he couldn’t walk with his wife.

And he aged.

Illness. In and out of hospitals. His breathing became more labored, things ignored suddenly an issue. But he could still write, and he could talk, and he didn’t let you forget that it was all a gift.

And he aged.

Assisted living. Hospice. Machines to help the breathing, morphine to dull the pain. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”

And he aged.

The machines are now quiet. He is silent. No more stories of misspent youth and how “you youngsters” didn’t know how to get things done. No more asides of things your parents did, replicas of things you did, and why they were so upset. No more advice, sometimes silly, sometimes helpful, always comforting.

We hadn’t spoken in a while, and now I can’t. An unanswered email stares back at me, silently judging.

More news. A friend from high school. Her daughter died in a car accident. She was 12. I didn’t now her, had not spoken to her mother in almost 20 years, but it still hurts. That’s a level of pain I pray is never visited upon me. It’s something I can’t fathom. But it somehow dulls my own pain.

I feel guilty for writing that.

So now I sit on the couch, not drinking, petting the dog and writing this with no poignancy, no end. Just a quiet house and my thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *