I should be sleeping. Right? Sleeping? Isn't that what people do when it's 4:30 a.m. and they have shit to do the next day like, oh, give blood and see friends and do art show stuff and paint and write and buy flea treatment for the mammals and feed snakes and . . . and . . . and?
The birthday was good, as I have said. Just what I needed, just who I needed, just when I needed it. And that's . . . all I needed.
I had the added bonus of ridding myself of a pain in my ass the next day. I feel profoundly guilty, but also relieved beyond my ability to express, because I have given Mathurin back to Dad. I'd feel worse but he remembers the old house just fine, he has rats to hunt, and no other cats to fight with. He's happier. And we're happier too, without his howling and his mess -- he could not eat without smearing a four-foot area with wet cat food. I kid you not. He had to remove each individual mouthful from the dish and put it on the clean floor. Bastard. Dad is apparently coping. I really hope he doesn't change his mind. At this point, the other cats are getting along swimmingly, and I don't think they'd accept Matt back in. I think they would gang up and murder him the minute he came out of the carrier. Mostly I feel guilty because this was a decision that was made mostly for my
sanity, not anyone else's. But, then, it was nothing but screaming catfights, howling for food, claws in my leg, stolen dinners, and broken plates. Anyone would have snapped. I'm surprised I lasted a year.
My granddad is in a really nice assisted-care facility. Nursing home. Raisin ranch. Whatever you call it, and however pleasant it appears to be, it's still pretty fucking awful. I haven't gone to see him yet, though I need to. It's just that places like that . . . I can't explain it. The taint of human suffering, the psychic aura of despair and death, it really gets to me. I often have nightmares after going into hospitals, no matter the occasion. Nursing homes are only a little better. They're less horrifying and more sad. Like an oubliette. "A place you put someone to forget about them." He is apparently not very lucid most of the time, and since by law they aren't allowed to tie up the inmates, he's always trying to get up and escape. He's fallen multiple times, and last time was bad -- he hit his head pretty hard.
There is no dignity to this. There is no fairness, no right sense of life or grace or continuity. I know without a doubt that were he in his right mind he would not want to continue like this, but the truth is that there's nothing to be done, and that he won't last long anyway; he's ninety, and he's taken a major turn downhill. How long can he hang on? It's fucking horrible and tragic. You don't want to see a strong man like this, but Intervention and Medicine are the lenses through which society understands death, so you just have to keep your mouth shut and pray that by the time you're old, it will be legal to have yourself gently put under, if that's what you want.
No, I don't want him dead. But I'm not one of those people who wishes life on others. I'd prefer someone step out, if they must, rather than linger in discomfort or dementia. I hate, hate
, to think of them suffering. Of being locked in a broken body, with a broken mind. And I hate the people more, those who jail us in our old age. Doctors, relatives, caretakers. People who won't let us go, or help us. I'm not pointing fingers in this case, it's being handled as well as anyone could handle it. I'm just saying that the way our society is built, we torture our elderly. For ourselves and others, we value clinging to life more than embracing death. And there is no mechanism to allow us to simply step out. We're hassled every step of the way to do more, try harder, keep on living. For god's sake. It's awful.
I'm agnostic-bordering-atheist, but I wonder. If we have souls, and I think we might, the soul knows what our body knows, and more than that. Our soul, once we die, remembers what we once were, doesn't it? It has a perfect memory, of everything from the moment of birth right up until. So what about people like this, whose minds are fragmented, failing, fugitive? Is the soul imprisoned there, knowing, trapped like a moth in a lantern? Does the soul leap out on the moment of death, remembering all that the body had forgotten, and profoundly relieved to be rid of the burden of flesh? Or is the inner life of the soul itself a random kaleidoscope of memories and feelings, indistinguishable from the fugues of dementia and only hampered in some glorious expression by the shabby coat of flesh we all wear to our graves?
It's questions like that I have no tolerance for from other people, questions like that which make me believe that it's easier, if not more reassuring, to say that we're just animals, all synapses and neurotransmitters and vague fears and memories and bare naked instinct, with no more depth to us than that.
Arrrgh. I promised myself I wasn't going to get maudlin or philosophical. I'm sick of that shit. Makes me sick. I'm sorry.
At any rate, it's been much on my mind. There are no answers, not that I can accept from anyone else, so as always I'm left to find my own. I'm comfortable with that, actually.
Things have improved significantly. All the panic, anxiety, dread, fear, etc. that I've been wrestling with is retreating, or being held at bay. I am taking kava extract for my twitchiness, have been taking it for a week now, and it's fucking amazing stuff. It's a clear amber liquid, it smells of composted flowers, and when I drop it into my tea three times a day, it bursts into cloudy explosions, a creamy yellow louche like venom. It's my Potion. And it has restored about two thirds of my sanity and functionality. Which is more than any pissant SSRI ever did for me. Fuck your Prozac, the kavalactones have made me their bitch. With no side effects, I might add. Who's your daddy now?
And I've been reading a book, which is always a bad and boring thing to say in the context of feeling better about oneself, only this one has explained so much about me, and other people, that I can't even articulate the difference it has made. "The Highly Sensitive Person
" by Elaine Aron puts a new face on parts of my personality I have always wrestled with: my dislike of noise, sensitivity to medications, vivid dreams, fear of doctors, inability to be out of the house for more than two hours without becoming hopelessly overstimulated . . . I could go on and on and on. Suffice it to say that if you go to this page
and look at the questions, and it seems like you are a highly sensitive person, or your spouse or child is, get the book. Please.
Thank you, David, for getting it to me. It came at a very good time. And way back when, someone directed me to that very page, that very quiz. I don't remember who it was, and I'm so sorry. I tried to find the post and couldn't. Speak up, if it was you. I owe you a very big thank you. Without that, I would not have added that book to my wish list.
Anyway, I see I have a lot of work ahead of me, a lot
, but I'm starting to feel like I at least know which end of the sword to hold. The pointy end goes into the other man. And that's a start, right?
I can't change what I am. I can at least understand it.