How can it get any darker, and it is already in the morning! The so-called marine layer must be at least a mile high because the sun’s warm beams have not pierced through as they should have by now. I need the lamp on, next to my morning recliner chair and above my steaming cup of wake-up coffee, as I sit next to a full wall of glass doors that allow the redwood-decked patio to blend seamlessly with my living room. It is the only room in my small condo with a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window, giving me the extended space I need but cannot afford. But this morning it allows the gloom of outside to reach inside—my head. I succumb to it, rather than finding comfort in knowing this overcast morning in June will not last.
I only have one item on today’s schedule, and that is part of the problem. Not enough to do and too much time to over-think it.
I am in the last quarter of my life—that is safe to say. I am not ready to break it up into remaining decades because most of the time I am convinced I will be a centenarian, and unrealistically I imagine looking the way I do today for the rest of my life. Anyway, I allow myself this fantasy, although lately I am less satisfied with photos of myself than I was just a year ago. But on these dark old days, reality tends to seep in under the front door not unlike the ominous threads of smoke coming from an out-of-control blaze on the other side. And I don’t have to be anywhere for several hours. Damn.
His aunt is dying. And everyone is caught off guard, even though this lovely woman is ten days away from her 95th birthday. Riki was moments away from undergoing heart surgery but collapsed into unconsciousness just as she was being prepped. They were able to restart her ailing, aged heart. And now she is packed in ice, with her body wrapped from head to toe like a mummy. I prepared him to let her go yesterday because let us face it, her time has obviously come. And then she awoke last evening, to the delight and surprise of her niece who was sitting by her side at the time. She cannot speak, but seems to be aware of who is looking at her—at least this is her niece’s impression. So, everyone in the family is rejuvenated because she is such a fighter, so strong.
Well. All I can think about are two members of my own family, my aunt and my mother, who, in their mid-eighties, saw the writing on the wall and wanted no one to resuscitate them at the brink of eternity. So, separately but identically, they both slipped away without tubes and beeps and teams of medical personnel pounding away on their aged bodies. I realize now that they each could have been “saved” to live a few more years. When I heard that his aunt had rallied, I had pangs of regret about what both my mother and aunt had decided. I pictured Riki, looking smart and fashionable even in her hospital gown, suddenly stirring in her bed; her red hair, which just the other day been coifed to perfection, framing flushed cheeks, as she opens her eyes and smiles up at her niece. Oh, Mom, why couldn’t you have done that? But this is fantasy. Cruelly, Riki is now in a holding room for who knows how long. She cannot go, and she will never be the same.
He sits in the other room adjacent to me, almost silent except for occasional sniffling; planning a long drive to her hospital bedside this afternoon so that hopefully she can see how much he cares—even though the two of them had a wonderful telephone conversation two evenings ago. He wants me to go with him, for support, he says. How can I explain to him why I absolutely do not want to? But of course I will go with him and I will reach out and take her hand, even though my heart and soul beg me to refuse.
Oh, how I wish the sun would break through this morning gloom.