Finding myself in the Middle East

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The day did not pass in a blur. It passed slowly, slowly, a microscosm of his illness of the past 24 years. I got the phone call, crumpled. But then the flight was not until one in the morning, and it was only three in the afternoon. I sat down, had a cup of water. It squirmed it my belly for a while. Then I packed, cleaned up from lunch, cleaned up from not lunch, did laundry, did more laundry, did more laundry than was neccessary, rearranged the toys, sponga-ed the apartment, sponga-ed the hallway outside the aprtment, sponga-ed the steps in the building, took out the garbage.

Time passed slowly, slowly, and I had tea and a few crackers. The baby squirmed and wiggled and cried the whole flight, and I had this wierd resentment of him, of Outdoorsman, of everyone on the flight who was not my mother. Which was everyone. We landed and we inched along in the painfully slow traffic.

My mother called.

"He's still here, D." she said.


"He's waiting for you."

But he was not waiting for me. Or at least, he was not only waiting for me. Because I hugged him and kissed him and cried and told him I was here and I love him. His mouth gaped, bloodied and sore. His eyes were opened, glazed and unseeing. Or maybe seeing everything.

But still, he waited. Still, he is waiting. For everyone to be there? For no one to be there?

He shouldn't be here, the doctor says. No one can live with failed kidneys and their lungs filling with blood. He is brain dead, he said. He had two cardiac arrests and is bleeding out from everywhere. He is not really breathing, the machine is.

Don't unplug him, came the startling answer from the rav. Do everything you can to keep him alive.

Is he alive? I know his neshama is here, hovering over his bed. Hovering over us all. I keep feeling like he is going to turn to me while I am whispering in his ear and say, boo!

But he won't. So we wait. And wait. While I write slow Frank O'Hara poetry in my head and keep taking showers.


sporadicintelligence said...

I heard from Roo that he wasn't doing well, but now I'm sitting here crying, this post, makes me see the reality of it a bit.

I hope you're all doing well, take care of yourself and each other, and be strong, and and...I don't even know what the right thing is to say...

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry.

JerusalemStoned said...

Sporatic, it was nice to see you. There is no right thing to say, so you're doing great. :)


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