Wednesday 21 October 2009

Crabs, After Eight

Most wards have an assortment of visiting hours. And most people obey these arbitrary rules. But, you know the film Good Will Hunting with Robin Williams and Matt Damon? There's a bit where Robin Williams' character is discussing his wife's illness and he says, "you wouldn't know about sleepin' sittin' up in a hospital room... for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes... that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you." My parents are like this. Visiting hours never apply. Nurses and doctors never disturb their vigils. My brothers arrive at strange hours. My mother is offered blankets and pillows. My father sometimes threatens to stay on in my mother's place, but luckily for him, no one has as yet taken him up on the threat. I am usually stoic and smiling at the final night's goodbyes. But sometimes, just sometimes...

Here is a crabby little poem dedicated to the dark fleece of my father's jacket as it departs, for once, just after visiting hours.

You leave me here
to rot
Among the carcass
of my words.

Do you know this place?
It is the place of my extinction.
I become obsolete
Death ceases to matter
There is too much of it around;

And Life
makes no sense
No sense to me
At all.
Image: Salvador Dali, Ascension


Sobrina Tung said...

:( Your poem was sad and very touching. I do remember that line from Good Will Hunting -- it is one of my favorite movies. Keep fighting my dear.

Bee said...

Two of my close friends experienced deaths in the family in the past week -- one of them utterly peaceful and accepted, one of them NOT (despite being much older and in bad health). From your poem,do you feel that the relentless (and commonplace) fact of death renders life meaningless?

I read The Guernsey book this summer and thoroughly enjoyed it for the valiant characters and wonderful sense of humanity. I feel such empathy for your struggles, even though I know that I cannot fully imagine them. But still: how marvellous that there are books and art and writing and friends (new and old) and family to comfort us.

This summer I visited the Salvador Dali museum -- and there is a similar sort of picture on the ceiling. The lumpen soles of Dali's and Gala's feet are reminders, I guess, of how earthbound we are . . . even in our spiritual ascendance.

Tess Kincaid said...

I love pictures you paint with words. You are entitled to a few bouts with crabs, my friend.

Ruth said...

I disobeyed your next post and read this anyway. I'm glad I did, even though it makes me hurt.

RNSANE said...

I just saw your movie recommedation to Willow and, as I loved Laagan, I decided to check your site. Years ago I saw, "Scent of Green Papaya" and I must see it again. My mother was diagnosed with lupus about ten years ago. She stopped her medications.

It saddens me to read some of your beautiful words. I have been a nurse, now, for over 40 years, the last 21 in the field of sexual assault, caring for child and adult victims of sexual violence, a very sad specialty indeed. I just lost my job in massive budget cuts to the Dept of Public Health in San Francisco and retired. Not happily and fighting it all the way.At 65, I hope to be useful, in some way again.

My good wishes and support to you, my dear.

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