Posts Tagged ‘death’

Carpe Diem

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden

Today, I heard that a friend died. In my life, I have to say, I’ve been largely untouched by death. Of course people I have known died, but not too many people close to me. My grandparents died when I was pretty young, and I hardly knew them because we moved with the Army in those days. And I heard of a few deaths from people I went to school with, but I heard long after I was gone from there and long since I had known them.

My sweet Rottweiler, Detta, was really my first major death. I had her for 13 years, since she was just a ball of fur, and it hit me hard. She died of cancer, and my dad had recently been diagnosed, and that just made it that much harder.

And then my dad died. He’s been gone since 2007 and still sometimes I’m caught short, wanting to call him, to share some news with him, to ask him something.

And of course, there is the quite recent death of Bodhi, a stalwart and near constant companion for the last nine years. You know all about him, so I won’t go into that.

Tonight I found out a close friend died. And this poem was the first thing that popped into my head. I tried to shake it – it didn’t seem quite right. I remember John Hannah reciting it at the funeral of his partner in Four Weddings and A Funeral and I thought, that’s not me at all. We hadn’t built a life together, we didn’t have the history that that poem speaks to…and yet.

Here’s to the grief of the never-to-be, the sorrow of the I-was-going-to.

To the pain of could-have-been, the remorse of the wish-I-would-have.

Here’s to the plane not taken, the call not made.

To the time not spent, to the press of the mundane.

If you are reading this, there’s a good chance I love you. This is my reminder (to me, and yes, to you) to step out, people, take the leap. Do the thing, whatever it is. Don’t wait.

And remember this poem, by Shel Silverstein.

Listen to the mustn'ts










Supposed to be doing my comps

Yes, it is true. I am in the last big weekend of my doctoral degree (well, ok, I do have one other class to take in the summer, but it isn’t too heavy, so I’m totally not counting it). Meanwhile, this weekend is the big comprehensive final. It consists of 4 questions and we have 4 days to do it. Should be a snap. I started with the question I deemed easiest, as working on the hard question would have just depressed me and taken all day to stare at, much less get anything done. I started at 9:15 am. I worked from 3 to 7:30. I am still sitting here with half of one question answered. I am seriously considering going to bed.

Seriously? What the fuck is wrong with me? I really don’t know. I am sick to my stomach and have no idea what I need to do to make this happen. I started the question answering it one way then decided about 10 pm to change my answer. I liked the second choice ok and it seemed more specific, but now I can’t seem to find any research that supports that form of therapy. Fuck.

Yes, I really just want to say FUCK about this. I don’t have any clever lines or funny anecdotes, I am just feeling fucked. Also, I am having some spasms in my back, something that has never happened to me before and holy fuck does it hurt! Seriously. I am in ridiculous pain every 10 to 30 seconds, more or less. I took Motrin which my sis the nurse practitioner said would help. I still feel bad an hour and a half later. fuck.

Also, this whole stupid process really reminds me of how much I miss my dad. He is the only person in my family who would really be proud of me for what I am doing. He might be the only person in my family who would even care. He also would be helpful, listen to me read the questions and offer whatever advice he could. No, he is not a clinical psychologist, but he might offer ideas about the structure and flow of my answers that would be heard and heeded.

My dad died more than 2 years ago now. I am reminded of it frequently, pretty much every day when I get in the car I inherited from him. Also singing in the choir is a tough place for me, as I am often reminded that he never got to see me perform. My dad loved music and was especially fond of sopranos. In his last years he was very interested in Cecilia Bartoli. I have some of his discs in the car, too, but I can’t listen to them because I just want to cry when I hear them. It was a dream of mine for him to hear me perform with the local women’s choir. Plus the stupid fact that as he was in his dying days we were singing some pretty sad songs about dying and losing someone important…fuck.

Is it over yet?

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