Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Date With Destiny

Each Tuesday and Saturday, I pull up a chair next to my greatest fear, and make polite chit chat with my destiny.

He is big, yet small. Ancient, yet infantile. Wise, yet bewildered. Past, yet present.

His body is failing him, but his mind is still bright enough to comprehend that slow and steady extinction.

He scares me to death.

Once, he made love to his wife, tossed his sons high in the air, mowed his lawn, went to work. He lived.

Is he living now?

It seems less like living and more like dying, which of course it is.

But are these last days any less precious to him, than all those that came before? Does he care that he is less than he was? Or does he simply cherish every second that is left to him?

I wish I could ask him. I wish he could answer me in a way that would make me less terrified of what my final days, weeks, years hold.

But I don't ask him.

I remark upon the weather. I offer to move so he can sit in the shade. I try not to stare at the drool on his chin or the tremor in his hand as he wipes it away. I try not to see the bright intelligence in his eyes, becuase that makes him all the more human to me. I don't want to see him as human. I want to see him as a thing that I will never be.

Instead of saying, "You frighten me." I say, "It's a beautiful day for baseball."

So I sit beside my greatest fear and exchange pleasantries with my destiny.

And I wonder if I will ever stop being afraid.

I would like to pat his spotted, quaking hand and tell him that I'm sorry for him. Sorry that he is at the end of his life's journey. Sorry that his body; that machine that has served him so long and so well, has fallen into disrepair. I would like to tell him about my grandmother, whose body stayed strong while her mind splintered into a million useless pieces.

But my pity would not be welcome, I think. It is something for the hopeless and the damned. I do not think he would like to think of himself as either.

So I offer my greatest fear a peanut. My destiny takes it.

And for the moment, we are friends.


  • At 9:12 AM, Blogger said…

    I hate seeing anti-aging stuff on tv. "Anti-Aging?" That's impossible. We are aging. Always. Until we die. The end. Accepting life's cycles and realizing that we are all destined for either an early demise or a life ending in a failing body is actually freeing, for me...

  • At 9:38 AM, Blogger Girlplustwo said…

    what a vivid picture you paint. acceptance, it's so much about acceptance.

  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger Polgara said…

    I love this post.
    My husbands grandmother is in a nursing home and at 89 is the fittest and most mentally active of them all.
    We visit her often and she is happy in her world but sometimes it just breaks your heart to see all these old folk sitting there waiting for the days to pass.
    Somtimes we take my three year old niece just to see all those faces light up at the sight of someone so young and innocent and my niece of course loves going as all eyes are on her and she is plied with chocolate and sweets in exchange for innocent kisses.
    Pol x

  • At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    so bittesweet. the fears and emotions we all have, but most of us can't put our most honest, naked feelings into words the way you can. You are truly brilliant.

  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    When my dad was dying, his mind never left him, but his body did. . .bit by bit. It is such a hard thing to watch, to accept, to acknowledge. So, we talked about lots of trivial stuff but not often about the end of his life. I wish I could do it differently now, but he's gone.

    You captured it all beautifully.

  • At 11:48 AM, Blogger S said…

    beautiful post, BA. i understand. i do.

  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I felt this same way when my mother was dying.

    A vivid, haunting post.

  • At 12:56 PM, Blogger Middle Girl said…

    Poignant. Very powerfully so.

  • At 1:32 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    Sometimes a peanut is all destiny needs.

  • At 3:28 PM, Blogger Notes and letters to myself.... said…

    Why don't you.

  • At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is so nicely constructed....the only thing I would change? I would give my fear a hot fudge sundae.

  • At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is so nicely constructed....the only thing I would change? I would give my fear a hot fudge sundae.

  • At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is so nicely constructed....the only thing I would change? I would give my fear a hot fudge sundae.

  • At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is so nicely constructed....the only thing I would change? I would give my fear a hot fudge sundae.

  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    So many of the people I've watched die had full control over their minds until the bitter end. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be better to lose the mind first and not have to watch the body fail.

    Great post, BA.

  • At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This has me in tears - it reminded me of exactly how my grandfather was towards the end. I, aged about 12, didn't appreciate any of it. I would give so much to be able to share peanuts and conversation with him now.



  • At 6:49 PM, Blogger Woman in a Window said…

    this post is VERY. Well written and strangley lived.

  • At 8:49 PM, Blogger Debbie said…

    I would shake my fist at your mad writerly skills only my fist hurts from shaking it at my toddler all day.

    instead, i just say, you blow my mind with your consistent crafting of words into full-blown genius, even when it's about f**king AI, and when it's about depth-y stuff such as the topic of this post; well, yes. i kind of want to hate you.

    only -- i don't, because then i wouldn't read you. and i would not want that. not ever.

  • At 8:50 PM, Blogger Debbie said…

    disregard asshole-ish parts of last comment; i dunno why it came out so asshole-y. all i wanted to tell you was how much i admire you.

    that's all. really.

  • At 7:23 AM, Blogger Boliath said…

    I was afraid to speak to my Dad when he was dying, I just didn't know what to say so I didn't say much of anything. I wish I had. The day he died I told him how much I loved him. I still can't think about it without weeping and he died 7 years ago. I wish I had more courage at the time but I comfort myself with the knowledge that I did what I could which is all anyone can do.

  • At 8:19 AM, Blogger Pendullum said…

    I hear you...
    I just completed that hard, hard road with my grandmother, and then she gave me the task of planning her funeral and eulogy...
    It is hard just to 'be'.

  • At 8:40 AM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    Second only to being a mother, watching loved ones that once seemed timeless age is one of the hardest things I've experienced in my 30 short years. I was lucky enough to have my great grandma's with me into my 20's ~ my oldest son was even able to spend time with one of them.

    But the price I paid for that? Watching their deterioration, feeling the life slip away before me. Worth that extra time, yes, but so so scary to experience.

    Another beautiful, poignant post, Mama. Well done, you.


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