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She came into my life the year your father left.

They breathed the same air in my world for 3 months.

 

For 3 years since he died  I’ve been waiting on profound insights.

For 18 days since she died I’ve been waiting on profound insights.

Now I get it.

 

There aren’t any.

This Medicated Lady is thinking irrationally again.

Irrational because.
I’ve been considering a diet consisting only of those flavored ice pops
especially the blue ones
the ones I like the least

Irrational because.
No one but me looks forward to a psychotic break

Irrational because.
It occurred to me that I’m tired of being medicated
tired of being in need of medication
tired of being in need
tired of being

Irrational because.
Right is what’s right
right as opposed to wrong
right as opposed to left
right as opposed to write
write as opposed to rite

Irrational because.
It makes sense.

Irrational because.

I swallow a deep sob because some things are best swallowed. That’s not dirty, swallowing. Take it down, your medicine.

Kind words make me sad because I can feel the hard edges of them. I can feel the tenderness of my own soul, and I wish I was just a hair harder. Which makes no sense because hair breaks very easily but there is nothing that can be done to make it stronger. It’s already dead.

My aunt died. She’s dead, not dying. I wasn’t around much when she was just living.

What I remember most is how her blue eyes welled with tears when she was in pain and lonely. At the funeral, did they cry for her or did they cry for me? I didn’t go to the visitation. I didn’t want to see her dead. I’d seen her plenty when she was dying. They said she looked as though she were smiling. What I remember are tears that they didn’t see her shed. And then at the funeral, I saw their tears, too, and realized I am maybe only witness to her dying and her death. Her collapse and theirs.

This isn’t a poem, only a thought. This isn’t broken, this is breaking.

 

At the funeral

it was brief

the service

the prayer

my unmuffled sobs

 

They were all doing fine

not a sound

and then at the end

my shoulders shook

until everyone’s shoulders shook

 

At the funeral

they had their suffering too

and then at the end

unmuffled sobs

and shoulders that shook

Consider it written in stone. The stone at the head of a non-descript grave at a non-descript cemetery on the outskirts of some field in the middle of nowhere. Here she lies.

This is how it will go. Tomorrow, there will be tears. Tomorrow, there will be a long, sad drive home and an even longer, sadder drive back to the place I live.

It’s hard to say how many people will be there. It’s summer, you know, and there will be no church service. I imagine only family and one or two friends will come.

The family will hug me. They will tell me how thankful they are that I went to see her when she was so ill and no one else was able to visit. Able. Inwardly, I will cringe at this word. Inwardly, I will feel hate and spite.

The family will tell me they love me after they’ve told me and each other what a big “help” I was, as if I’d gone to pick up their prescriptions downtown and not sat beside her for hours while she cried because she was in pain and no one else would come see her. They’ll say they don’t know what they would have done without me. Some of them will list all the reasons why they couldn’t come to visit her when it mattered. I will make a parallel list of all the reasons they should have come. My list will be longer and more substantial.

They did not kill her, but they did break her heart. My tears will be for her and for the injustice of it all. Their tears will force me to forgive them, to stifle the outrage I feel, because I, of all people, know guilt and grief.

I wanted her dead and now she is.

Neither of us will go quietly.

That was obvious from the first.

Her moans and denials and fight are only restrained by the liquid morphine that courses through her veins.

She will not go quietly.

 

On the way to see her.

On the way to see her for the last time.

I did not go quietly.

The sounds of the engine and the radio could not be heard over my shrieks and sobs.

 

When the end comes

neither of us will go quietly

even if we don’t make a sound.

The last words I’ll ever hear her speak are, “I’ve still got fight left in me.” Or maybe, “I don’t have no fight left in me.” I distinctly heard “fight left in me.”

I asked her how she was.  Dry: “I’m great.” Floated back into her morphine dreams or nightmares.

Later, when I was alone with her for a few moments, both of her hands in mine, I called her name. “Tywanua.” She opened her eyes. “Tywanua, I love you.” She was coherent enough to recognize me. “I love you, too.  I wish I could sit up a little more…but I’m just glad you’re here.”

 Atrocities of June 8, 2009

  • My aunt, who has terminal cancer, starts to rapidly decline as her body shuts down. There is concern she won’t make it through the night but the extra morphine improves her breathing and makes her more comfortable.
  • I see this otherworldly tumor on the side of her neck that makes me cringe and I’m glad my aunt is sleeping mostly. Not to be funny, but to give a visual: familiar with Coneheads on SNL? It’s like one of those heads is trying to grow out of the side of her neck. Ball your fists up, press them against the left side of your neck, and you can see how big that thing is. It’s like from a horror movie. Where the skin has been stretched to the limit and has cracked, she has bled. The whole top part has dark purple scabs and I’m sure some of that skin is black because it’s dead.
  • My family aren’t much of hand holders, but I know she likes to have her hand held so I try to model it for my family so that they can see the comfort it can give. Now, she’s hearing that she is loved and that’s all she (or any of us) has ever wanted.
  • My piece-of-the-most-unholiest-shit ex-uncle is a jealous, selfish coward. An obnoxious alcoholic, he keeps yelling at her, “you want something to eat, you want something eat?” I want to scream: She’s a little too busy with the business of breathing to eat. Besides, food will only prolong it now. Also, he apparently tries to have sex with her, while another aunt is in the same room, trying to sleep.
  • There’s too many people all around, wanting to desperately help her or those around her. The weariness of us all is heavy on the heart, and it’s the kind of heaviness that one can’t lose by going on a diet. It’s there for good.
  • I say goodbye to her and leave without a sob.
  • If not today,  June 9 or June 10, 2009 will be the day she dies. Maybe planning a death really is like planning a marriage. You concern yourself with the flowers and the weather.
  • Past and present tenses. She will die, but after that?  Will I say I had an aunt who died?  That tends to be the traditional form of reference. Or I have an aunt who died? Because is she still my aunt once she’s dead?  Will I ever be able to say I  lost an aunt or will it always be I am losing an aunt? I can’t go find her at the lost and found; she’s not a lost item or a lost person. Losing is active and implies infinity.

Most of the time, she fancies herself unstable but really, she is just incompetent. Really, she’s just a fraud. Really, she is just addicted to feeling sorry for herself.

 

Today, she would rather sit and stare at the stone-colored zipper on her fleece jacket than anything else, besides sleep. She thinks about how she could get a break and sympathy and peace and more sleep time. She thinks about perfectly packaged accidents and momentary quiet.

 

Nothing is worse than numbness, she thinks. But at other times, she thinks, nothing is worse than feeling. She’d cry but the crocodile tears have run dry. Her soul has run dry.

 

She’s been lucky and nothing more up to this point, but she’s about to be found out.

SOB with me

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