Eli is rolling around on the carpet trying to disembowel his lamb with his flailing hind feet. The lamb occasionally emits squeaks of protest but seems to be holding his own. I am holding my own in a sea of mixed emotions.
After five years of death in life, my father appears to be down to his last hours. Matter of factly, we have wished to release him from his failing frame for a long time. Now I am wondering how I will carry on when the last physical evidence of his existence is gone.
I sat for hours beside his bed, stroking his still-warm skin, listening to his horrendous breaths and rattling cough. His hands are mottled with red and purple. I could circle his forearm with my hand. His mouth hangs open and I swab his mouth with a wet sponge. He is on a pain med and oxygen. The furrows in his face have smoothed. His eyes open now and then, but he is not seeing anything on this earth. The hospice chaplain says he is looking into his future, to the place that God has prepared for him as he promised, and it is a comfort to believe that. I read him the scripture about the mansions and I sang, very quietly in an embarrassed way, some of the good old hymns we used to sing. I told him everything I needed to - what a good father he was and that I wouldn't have wanted any other. Sometimes he held my hand very tight. Sometimes he was agitated and pulling at his sheets and at the oxygen canula. He made noises.
I talked to him about Tennesee and the magnolias and cutting down the cedar tree. I talked about his archery range and going to Will Roys' Drive In for chocolate milkshakes and the moths flying in the yellow bug lights. I told him I only went on the UFO hunting trips in the hope that he would stop for ice cream. I told him that his mother was waiting and that he would see his brothers soon. I just can't imagine the real world without him. I wanted to cling to him and beg him to stay. When I had to leave, I kept wanting to touch him one last time, fearing that the next time I saw him his skin would be cold and empty.
Cheryl came and I could not stay there with her. She wanted to give him medicine to cure the pneumonia, and do everything to save him, and she was crying and distraught. I warned the nurses they must ignore her. His treasures, Mr. Fitz and Marion and Anne and, of course, Larry. Everyone so loving and compassionate. Heather and my daughter were coming over and they will make Cheryl leave. But then again, I don't want him to die alone. My mother will be frightened. She won't know what is happening. How will we ever explain it to her. She has not been eating either. Ice cream. All she eats is ice cream. She seemed very tired today. And has no idea that Arthur is dying.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
This movie gripped me. It was quiet and intense. It was also a good murder mystery and made its anti-war statements in a subtle way. I took T-rex with me and he seemed to understand it and said he really liked it. Saradon was excellent as usual, but it was really Billy Bob Thornton's show and he was great. I, of course, was all torn up imagining the dead kid as a son or grandson. The Tuesday vigil is going to be a big one, with other groups joining us. I wish it didn't all feel so futile.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
|A man died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, "What are all those clocks?" St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move." "Oh ," said the man, "whose clock is that?" "That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie." "Incredible," said the man. "And whose clock is that one?" St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life." "Where's President Bush's clock?" asked the man. "Bush's clock is in Jesus' office. He's using it as a ceiling fan.|
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
|I was privileged tonight to meet Jimmy Massey, an Iraq veteran who is making the protest circuit speaking out against the war. He made me think of Mickey Rooney in the Andy Hardy movies. No, he's not short, but fresh-faced and earnest, and he looked so young. It is hard to believe that he has seen the atrocities that I am sure he must have. He was at our vigil tonight at the clock park, along with Dahlia, a lovely young Iraqi woman who is also a speaker about the war. Dahlia warned us on Jimmy's behalf that the increasing number of vets who are speaking out publicly are putting themselves in jeopardy of serious retribution from the government and the military. Massey told us that the mission statement of IVAW is Get the Troops Home Now, Take Care of Them When They Get Here.|
It is little enough that we do, the ten or twenty of us who manage to drag our butts to the park on Tuesdays with out signs and our candles. Last week some dumb ass motorcycle guy shouted angrily at the group. Tonight there was one older guy in an SUV that gave us a vigorous thumbs down for our efforts, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive from passing motorists who respond to Honk for Peace signs with horns and peace signs.
I have a hard time imagining that our miniscule efforts can have any significant effect on the course of the war, to say nothing of the repair to the Constitution, the restoration of US credibility in the world or justice to the criminal administration that has devastated our country. There is so much to be done and there is so much ignorance and apathy. How can so many people be so uncaring and uniformed? Most of the people that I talk to do not understand what is going on and how their own freedoms are being infringed upon and taken away. The parallels have been pointed out in that amazing essay someone wrote comparing the US to pre-war Germany. It is frightening. If everyone who went by the park tonight and honked would just have stopped and held a candle for ten minutes...