The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up.
-- Matthew, 11:5
Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.
-- Helen Keller
A middle-aged man, with a paunch, is sitting on a doctor’s examining table waiting anxiously for the doctor to return with the results of his latest examination.
The doctor comes in, looking solemn.
“I’m afraid it’s your body,” he intones.
I am that man. Surely Yeats did not have me or my body in mind when he wrote his immortal lines, “things fall apart, the center cannot hold,” but they are apposite, I’m afraid. Somatic entropy is icumen in.
I don’t want to bore you with a list of my various infirmities and debilities since I already regaled you with those woes in the very first essay in this series, which I wrote in December, 2017. I’m tempted just to write something along the lines of, “suffice it to say, they have all grown worse.” But I will resist that temptation if you will indulge me for a few moments in order to give you some specifics. Besides, as usual, I have an ulterior motive for mentioning some of them, which will shortly be revealed.
To begin with, I now list. That is, these days when standing or walking, I am no longer an orthogonal being. Instead, following my political proclivities, I tilt to the left. Generally, I am not aware of this...
One of the things that makes waiting to die a somewhat bittersweet experience is my girlfriend Lauren, though I’m sure she would object to being called “a thing.” No, she is both my dream girl and the answer to this old man’s unspoken prayers. I don’t know how I would have survived these past few years without her loving care and all the many things she has done for me during this time to keep the ship of Ring afloat. So it sometimes makes me melancholy when I think that when I die, I will have to leave her behind since the practice of suttee does not seem to be in her repertoire. I will miss her dearly when the time comes for me to take up residence elsewhere.
Lauren and I met online in March, 2015, just as she was about to leave her home in Piedmont, California in order to join her son, Rob, a flight surgeon in the Navy, in Florida where he was to get his “wings.” Lauren is, like me, an e-mail junkie, and in the first month of our correspondence, before we had met, we exchanged no fewer than 200 messages, some quite lengthy. I had obviously met my match and the epistolary girl of my dreams. We fell in love writing to each other, but of course we didn’t even know each other — we were only words on a screen. All she knew about me by then was that I had apparently been married a dozen times and had had innumerable affairs. I feared this one would turn out to be an affair to dismember.
Lauren is a therapist and like all therapists she had been seeing one for years. Of course, it’s a game all therapists play...