CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Dear Mom: Why Am I Still Here?

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By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO
(First published in
The Rafu Shimpo on Dec. 14, 2011.)

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[“And when did your wife die?” The question, not all that unusual when you consider my current surroundings, told me two things immediately: One, the guy was a fellow widower and two, he wanted to talk about his spouse. (I don’t get a merit badge for being brilliant, just a painful cheek tweak will suffice.) What these questioners are unaware of is (a) CR2S is not a very good listener and (b) all too often, I have to pause for a moment to think about it: Was it five or could it have been six years ago? So much for the emotional, heartfelt promise to remember you forever.]

Dear Mom:

How it is up there? As we agreed so many years ago, the necessity to keep in touch is kinda irrelevant since you all know everything, as often as not beforehand. That makes my end an example of the old-fashioned tin-can-at-the-end-of-a-string communication line. But we soldier on down here as best we can, like ants and bees, keeping busy only too often just not all that productive. We’re told it’s the effort that counts, so attempts to be good continue.

We won’t get all wound up about recent events, but sometimes it gets awfully difficult trying to make sense of things in our world. Of course you played a major role in my recovery from the latest medical fiasco. I guess thanks are in order but you know me, always entertaining unnecessary and dark afterthoughts: Like maybe there was a futile, frantic, last-minute search for a place at The Table for me; or worse yet, maybe I didn’t qualify? Whatever. (An outdated and coward’s way to end a discussion but oh, so convenient!) So I’m still around down here and sometimes wonder why.

No, I really don’t have any major complaints. If my current physical therapy regimen is successful, things should return to near normal. Which might not be much to brag about but it certainly beats the H out of hospitals and health shortcomings. Whether it’s wise or not, lately I’ve been trumpeting a request for two more years; a goal that won’t be reached if physical woes of the past year and a half continue, so it’s not a matter of being a glutton for punishment or a Pollyanna optimist. (And it gives you two more years to lobby on my behalf.)

As you are so well aware, it’s not an easy existence hereabouts. With so many of our families and friends already a part of your world, the need and desire to hang in there is often diminished. With reservations, of course, since there remain a slew of wonderful people in our universe that make it well worthwhile to stick round.

The latest instance of departure/arrival, you’re well aware of, I’m sure. Have no idea of how “newcomers” are welcomed, but I’m sure some sort of lid had to be placed over the likes of H.O., Mits, Edwin, Howard, Frank, et al., when joined by Marty. I would imagine there is a residents council in place to review marginal behavior, right?

Okay, Mom, I just felt that old familiar kick under the table. Me bad. Again. Forever.

On the other hand (always an ominous omen), how does one justify, if that be the correct verb, the sudden, unexpected verdict that another friend of ours has but month(s) to live? I won’t pursue the matter further, but you can understand my perplexity and bewilderment. Like, geez, why is he destined to die and I’m still here? Okay, subject dropped.

We go through this routine every time it’s conclusion time: A warm shout-out to Eric; Russ’ and Jeff’s kids missing out on having you as a grand Grandma; my regrets you’re all too aware of and forgiving.

I also don’t think it’s necessary nor pertinent to complete the column-opening question: “How long has it been… ?” Sometimes it seems like eons, a whole different world ago. I don’t think it’s unkind or insensitive to point out that anyone who has experienced Alzheimer’s knows that the victim has suffered a death sentence upon diagnosis. At other times, it is as if yesteryear was yesterday.

CR2S will forever skirt the nether world of doubt. Do we live predominantly in the past or should we look forward, no matter age and obvious limitations? The past is so vainglorious, the future so nebulous. Is the future long enough to be worth a serious look?

I wish I knew …

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W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached by email. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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