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My wife Joan has been handling the gradual decline of her life with astonishing composure. But occasionally, the veneer cracks, and I realize how fragile she is, physically and emotionally. I try to imagine myself into her experience, and can’t – inevitably, I drift off into my story, not hers.
So as once before, I’ve chosen the ruthless structure of classical haiku – three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables – to enforce some discipline on my monkey mind.
Walking on water
ice fractures under my feet
fall into nothing
Tags: dying, death, unknown
I woke during the night, a while ago, with my mind racing. It was very dark. Heavy clouds hid the moon and stars. Our rural area has no street lights. And at 3:00 a.m., no neighbouring houses had any lights on.
Rather than tossing and turning, and probably waking Joan, I got out of bed, and went to our living room where I could look out the front windows.
I could see a few lights across the lake. I could make out the vague reflective sheen of the lake, the darker bulk of the hills on the far side, some humps that might be bushes in our garden.
Nothing moved. It was very peaceful. Almost holy.
` After a while, calmed and quieted, I decided I could go back to bed.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: darkness, dying, death, doorways
I want you to read this book. I hope you find it as depressing and painful as I did.
The book is Every Note Played, by Lisa Genova. You may have read some of Genova’s previous books, particularly Still Alice,which leads you through the life of a woman as she chronicles her decline into dementia.
This book chronicles a similar decline, but into ALS -- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or “what Stephen Hawking had.”
But where Still Alice led readers through the gradual loss of a university professor’s memory and reasoning, it stopped before Alzheimer’s Disease ended her life. It was sad, but not shattering.
Every Note Played pulls no such punches. It takes you through to the end, and beyond.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: dying, death, Lisa Genova, books, ALS, Every Note Played, caregivers
I watch a friend aging and fading. The process of dying is not for the faint-hearted.
Tags: aging, dying