Saturday, September 18, 2004

Granny is Dying

Her cervical cancer, previously in remission, has come back with a vengeance. As usual, the timing stinks.

"Dear Disease, The next time you decide to flare up, please show my family the courtesy of appearing during times of plenty; not when everyone on these islands is existing hand-to-mouth. Thank you. Love, Dex."

I'd feel like flaying key people in government for flushing the country down the toilet if I didn't have a hand in it myself: everyone who walked into a Starbucks or who carelessly left the tap open, did, even if to a miniscule degree.

The point is moot, of course. There is little else I can do but stay by Granny every chance I get until she passes or death is staved off for another short, if indefinite, period. Which means I must weather Mother's constant admonitions to "fix your life," "help yourself" and "find a stable job." I almost find the sights and smells of Granny's makeshift sickroom a visual and olfactory feast in comparison.

I never liked sickrooms. I never liked being in them, seeing them nor smelling them-- especially smelling them. There is something unsettling, if morbidly honest, about being around a person who is literally being eaten away by disease. I love a good campy horror movie as much as anyone, but real sickrooms hit too close to home.

This is how it ends, young man. You grow old, your organs begin to fail or maybe the cancer begins to develop. Or maybe you trip over something and you break yourself on the staircase or get hit by a crazed biker. It's always something like that.

I know, you're afraid. That's what you get for laughing in my face all the time. You think your preoccupation with cataloguing all the names of my instruments was going to save you or your Granny from me? I'm Death. I've got all the pathology degrees. Look: even after your Granny goes, "Necrosis" will still be your favorite word; It'll be right up there with "sepsis" and "gangrene." And "necrotising arachnidism." When I take you, you'll still be laughing in my face so you can show your audience a brave front. You can take a little comfort in that.

But for your sake, I'd rather you take comfort (and maybe some responsibility) in this-- I'm a mirror and a reminder. Every time I take somebody, you will look at me, and see yourself. All life is precious-- but what have you done with yours to prove it?

I'll be back soon enough. Expect a pop quiz.

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