- My friend Sandy died on December 29, 2018.
- My grandson turned three on the 27th.
- Sandy and I had in common a grandson and a granddaughter.
- The grandson’s birthday party was yesterday on the 30th.
- Sandy’s funeral will be on January 12th.
- We are all of us, living and dead on the third planet from the sun in a galaxy on the outer edge of the Milky Way; Though we hardly ever think about it.
Our grandson’s birthday party was at one of those community spaces you can rent. It was wild and crazy, kids running around shrieking. It put me in mind of how human beings at a certain age can be dropped into a group and create culture and language and despite differing vocabularies and maybe appearances “fit in” by just joining the fray. As they went screeching about I thought of them rushing through the tall grass to flush out foul or careening to an undiscovered country while chasing something, or fleeing something.
So, I find myself, in all my sadness and in all my joy, thinking:
What blame is there in this life when we are all tumbling through space and time only trying to find a hand to hold?
What praise is there when all our consequences are rendered into nothingness except for this:
We have loved and been loved.
I had a diagnosis of stage four Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2002. I got in a panic about several areas of my life that needed addressing. So as soon as I well enough after the chemo rounds were done I started painting. I joined the Scarborough Artist’s Group. I also took probationary monks vows in the Soto Zen lineage.
this was one. “Opening to Openness, the four great vows”.
I don’t know where it is now. I am still practicing just about everything there is to practice about being a human being.
Walking Woman’s post about Doris McCarthy brought back this reminiscence at: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/1450339/posts/1210833758
I wrote this in 2006.
Living beyond youth comes with a whole set of dangers they never tell you about in school. At fifty I have osteoporosis and osteo-arthritis. My hands are gnarled and spotted. My teeth are yellow from too much coffee and my nose runs when I eat. My hair regularly falls out in clumps. When I get excited I fart uncontrollably and occasionally wet my pants. My eyesight is such that I have to wear two different pairs of glasses, one for distance and one for reading but none for talking to people or watching television. My memory is such that I have several pairs of glasses strewn all over my house, never being able to remember where I put them. I can not hear sounds at either end of the spectrum and have difficulty understanding accents. I can no longer eat spicy food regularly.
My daily routine consists mainly of making trips to doctors, therapists, specialty health food stores and complaining to strangers on the bus about all of the above. People generally say I am too young to be so old. I always agree with them.
My favourite topic is the weather which always sucks in Canada. As most people in Toronto are from somewhere where the weather is much nicer we always agree on this too.
Complaining is a social skill. It requires a subject that is not threatening and generally unimportant. That way everyone can join. I’m not very good at it. I’m learning though. So far I stick to hanging out with old people and those who are dieing. They aren’t very good at complaining either, despite the fact that they do so much of it. I guess they need the practice. Me too.
I would like to say that I feel much better now thanks to diet and excercise and a change of medication. It made me laugh to read this. How does the song go? “Something’s lost and something’s gained by living every day.”
This is in response to Tristan Murphy circa Amateur, posting a link to video of Bruce Pennisula performing “Shanty Song” on facebook.
I wonder if in the future there will be lyrics like:
“my heart is like a song that can’t be downloaded, broken and faultering and misunderstood.”
Don’t get me wrong, Bruce Pennisula are great, but I suppose it is my age that makes me miss Anne and Kate when I hear them. I should get over it, or die or something.
RIP dear Kate.
A few years ago I had just gotten out of the hospital when I learned of the tsunami that hit South East Asia. I remember thinking, wow, the earth is way more upset than I am. I had started crying for no reason and could not stop so I checked in to the hospital after not sleeping for 48 hours and they gave me a nice pink pill and I slept for a while, got fitted with a therapist, an appointment and sent home.
I got a diagnosis of “chronic depression”. I tried medication for a while and I worked while taking it. It was difficult. I eventually went off the drug. I was told that I had probably been chronically depressed since childhood. Right or wrong I did not feel the drug was the way for me to deal with it.
It was Christmas. I was overwhelmed by of loss and hopelessness. I had lost a few friends. Some of them had been cancer patients. Some of them simply fell away. Two long time relationships came to an end. One of them ended by choice, the other not so much. My kids were all teenagers. So there were personal things, but there were also global things. Everything was just so sad.
I would say I am still basically depressed. It is my personal “flavour”. (I’m told that I am very funny). I laugh, get mad and cry. I try not to have too many expectations and I filter out the negative as much to compensate for this tendency to think the worst. I don’t mind feeling this way. I think in some ways it helps me be more compassionate. Sometimes the only thing that can make me feel better is to try to help someone else feel better.
It’s funny in a way that I eventually found Clowning. I quite literally “put on a happy face”. Clowning provides an opportunity to play; to address difference; to air out fears; to joke about the unknown without being so artless as actually saying so.
Clowning is so flagrantly inappropriate, it makes other things that we find difficult to talk about less inappropriate.
I’m a sensitive clown. 😛