Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dim and Cool

August, high noon
In the month and hours of fire, how soothed I feel by coming into my study, where the accordian shades are drawn.   There are thunderstorms coming in; I knew that before I checked the forecast, because my hands have been aching - weather sets off my neuropathy - and now my arms and back are aching, which is fibromyalgia.  That makes me think the storms will be here before evening.  I'm sure my grandmothers' generation was attuned to this kind of effect, as in "The rain makes my rheumatiz act up."  But we have been so optimistic, dreamed that we are creatures of personal will who can control everything, reach every dream, solve our 83 problems through technology, and surely cure every illness and become immortal. 

The problem with sickness and death that is now being discussed at length as the baby boomers pass 60 (for instance, see the current New Yorker) has much to do with this fight, fight attitude.  We believe we must try to defeat the most hopeless illness, survive even multiple organ failure, endure everything that could conceivably give us more time.  Time for what?  Well, the article does talk about that, what people want at the end of life, and none of it can take place in the urgent care unit with a feeding tube, a colostomy demanding constant attention, heart failure, pancreatic cancer.  There is no peace of mind when you persist in fighting the huge army of the inevitable.  It seems to me that hospice care is far more likely to give that peace of mind, and the chance to say goodbye to those you love instead of stringing out the inevitable heavily sedated against in acute discomfort.  Well, I remind myself that I have little enough say about when and how I die.  Perhaps no say at all.  I think of Art Gish, whom I wrote about July 29.  Seventy years old, hoping to live another twenty, killed driving his tractor when it flipped over on him and caught on fire.  Just like that.  Thus.

Too much fire, aches and pains, dim and cool somehow led me to thinking of all that.  Now I'm going to lie down on my yoga mat in shavasana (corpse pose).  I am behind a closed door, protected from interruption by a Post-it on my door that says "Meditating."  Close eyes, relax, lie still and perhaps be rejuvenated enough to go out and get some groceries, or maybe not.  I think I'll recite the Five Remembrances first. (See bottom of this page.)
[And see the video in the post below if you want to relax, too, or at least smile.]

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Jeanne.
    It's time for more people to speak these truths.
    The fear of the end, and the desire to postpone and "manage" it has infected our politics as well.
    The post war kids believed in immortality long past their twenties, and many have yet to realize the truth although the mounting evidence makes them uneasy. Some of them occupy high office, which makes them dangerous.