Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hands of Time

December is one of my least favorite months. My brother died in a traffic accident in December just before Christmas. My father and step-mother died in a traffic accident eleven years later immediately after Christmas. I know that it's not sensible that I mourn them at this time of year because it happened a long time ago. However, in my heart and soul, I feel as if it was yesterday. Time can be a tricky creature. Sometimes it moves quickly and other days and nights drag as if they won't ever end.

I had a birthday at the end of December and I don't particularly like those either.

I've been working hard on my upcoming novel, Bloody Mexico: A Novel of Cartel Wars and thought about this song in conjunction with one of the characters in the story. Many of us have a fear of being thrust into one of those warehouses where they discard the elderly. As McCartney asks, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" 

I had a friend and an editor who encouraged my writing who died this past year in one of those places. Though I visited her, it took a certain kind of courage to do it because when you enter that sort of institution, you look through a distorted mirror at your own future. It's far easier facing an armed and menacing enemy. Though you may argue the point, there is a type of masculine honor dying, guns blazing, taking a few of the bastards with you. There is no honor dying while you crap yourself to death in one of those warehouses for the old. Landmarks once certain, aren't anymore. Faces known and loved fade into confusion. You smile at death and death smiles right back at you.

However, December is finally behind me for another 11 months.


Anonymous said...

After reading "Water for Elephants" I became far more empathetic towards my elderly mother who lives with me and will remain there as long as possible. Perhaps it was the timing of the read but reliving a person's past with them gives them voice and validates a life well lived. It's the least we can do. But I share your apprehension of my fate as I age...

WoFat said...

64 is a nice tune. I used to be 64. Sigh.

LL said...

Nobody wants to die alone.

darlin said...

LL I don't care how many years go by, anniversary dates can be and often are hard to get through. I don't even consciously pay attention to dates sometimes but when there's a shift within I know to check my calendar and sure as shit (for lack of better words at the moment) it's an anniversary date. One which stands out in my mind is December 29, 2006. It had been one year to the date of my last hospitalization, my moods were all over the place and when I finally connected the dots I realized what it was. There are some days, some months which can be tough to get through but there are 11 other months as you mentioned, have fun, live, kick up your heels and brace yourself come next December. These are only my suggestions.

...and really who in the heck wants to die alone in an old folks home? Where's the dignity in that?

Dawn said...

Sorry about the December memories.
Never easy no matter how much time goes by.
Agree with you on the warehouse thing.
Here's hoping my kids love me enough when I am feebly old to give me a spare room off on the side at least;)

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