The “experts” say that we are outliving our health, and then they provide illustrations of how older people are dying of cancer, alzheimers, kidney failure, etc etc etc, as they run through the long list of things that ultimately end our life.
I can empathize with this, but I think of family and friends who fought their illness with varying degrees of success for varying lengths of time. My Dad fought his cancer for a year, my friend Ernie fought for four very rough years, my pal Lenny cashed out in about six months. I wonder why they fought so long and hard, despite the terrible pain and problems from their disease or the treatments of that disease. I don’t have answers and I did not feel that I should belittle their fight with the ‘why’ question.
I don’t think I would have their courage. At this age, with diabetes 2, heart failure, and obesity banging on my door, I don’t want to fight. I’m not in any particular pain, and please dear reader, please please, don’t tell me that which I certainly know–two of my three maladys are correctable, easily correctable. I know. I really know. BUT, and here’s the core, but I sort of like this stage of my life and I’m not sure that I want to battle the next illness that may come knocking on my door.
I have had and do have a really terrific life. I’ve travelled to every single place on this planet that I wanted with just a couple of exceptions (The Hermitage in Russia is one and I forget the second). I’ve seen really glorious sights and met some amazing people. I have two remarkable children, and I have had two pretty fine wives and some fabulous girlfriends. I enjoy music and art and stimulating conversations, and like meeting interesting people who do interesting things. You would be happily surprised to learn how someone’s life that you thought was mundane and boring is really interesting and they work hard to do it well. All labor, even the simplest, is skilled.
So what is left? I have a couple thousand books left to read, but if I don’t get to all of them, I won’t be devastated. I enjoy listening to music, many kinds, but there is never enough time to play all the different music I want to hear. Sometimes I think I should play 3 or 4 or 5 songs at the same time and let my brain sort it out, but the few times I tried multiple plays I really got tired of trying to listen to individual songs in the mish mashed music that was assaulting my ears. I really need to devote some serious effort to mental separation of multiple tunes and see if I can. They said that Roy Cohen, the Macarthy legal assistant, could listen to two conversations at the same time and sort them out into sense-making arguments. Why not music? I can read a book and listen to TV and understand both, why not multiple songs?
But that was not, is not, the topic for discussion in this long, too long, post. What I wanted, was thinking about, was to write about sitting around waiting to die. I wanted to discuss THAT here, but now I’m tired and I want to take my insulin shot and go to sleep. I’ll save that discussion for the next post. Today I ground a bunch of Parmesan cheese, made a lovely garlic pesto, and food processed two cans of Garbanzo beans, some olive oil, some Techini into pretty delicious garlic hummus. I’m tired.
But one thing before I go. I keep hoping that there is an afterlife. I really miss my Dad, my Mom, and Sammy Davis and a whole lot of artists and jazz musicians. I want to sit with my friend Paolo Chelli, eating pasta and drinking a sharp Chianti, breathing the clear air of Firenze and watching the pretty girls walking arm in arm as they stroll in the cool evening air. Natalie Cole dying just made passing that less disturbing. Strange.