“My love, I sing to you, this lonely road runs straight to Hell…”

A♣

 

 

 

 

I remember her shaking like glasses in the bar car of a rumbling 19th century train.

 

The cancer had rotted her brain.

 

She’d no idea who or where she was.

 

All she could do was sit, filling a bag with piss and blood.

 

I imagine her world was naught but confusion and pain.

 

 

 

 

I leaned over her seated shell as it trembled, kissed the top of her head, whispering:

 

I’ll miss you, mom.

 

I don’t think my father, brother or anyone else in the hospice room heard me say it.

 

I don’t care if they did.

 

 

 

Hours later, they put her in a bed and doped her up completely.

 

Even then, she slept fitfully.

 

I imagine my brother and I fighting, standing on opposite side of her as she lay dying between us, didn’t help.

 

Ironic, since I suspect she played us all against one another for most of our lives.

 

I hope I’m wrong.

 

 

 

Hours afterwards, the hospice nurse came to us in the waiting room; my mother had reached her final minutes, we were told.

 

My father and I went back into her room.

 

My brother stayed out.

 

He couldn’t bear to watch.

 

To this day, I don’t blame him.

 

(Not that I could if I wanted to; he hasn’t spoken to me in eight years.)

 

As she held the stethoscope to my mother’s slowing heart, the nurse left one of the earpieces hanging loose.

 

I can still hear my mother’s last three heartbeats echo off the hospice room walls.

 

She’d played rhythm for her own dirge.

 

 

 

I recall my father and brother crying.

 

I did, too.

 

Somewhat.

 

I also felt elation.

 

She was dead; she was free.

 

Free, at last.

 

Thank God almighty, free at last.

 

After suffering more agony than I’d wish on my worst enemy.

 

I’d shoot you in the fucking gut to empty your bowels and circulatory system, then roll the doomed, reeking mess in a g0ddamn ditch to fill it before I’d want that fate for you.

 

 

 

Now, I’ve seen plenty of Perdition.

 

But that’s the best view I’ve ever gotten of it.

 

Trust me; that’s saying something.

 

But, as my father once told me – well prior to that extended nightmare – and I put in my first book:

 

Life goes on. Sometimes that’s the horror of it.

 

 

 

If that experience taught me one other thing, it taught me this:

 

A woman, a job, a friend, your fondest memories…

 

It doesn’t matter.

 

You’ll lose ’em all.

 

One way or another.

 

And I know – in some fashion – she wasn’t the only one that died in that room.

 

 

A♣

4 Responses to ““My love, I sing to you, this lonely road runs straight to Hell…””

  1. A♠,

    ‘Ironic, since I suspect she played us all against one another for most of our lives.’

    Been a business partner with my father and two brothers for over a quarter century. Been here off and on all that time. Infighting among them eventually forced me to chuck a good job to come back. We’re all chained together at the ankle, like it or not.

    And in the end I’m pretty sure who it’s been for all this time. Don’t like the thought; incredibly torn about it; but … yeah.

    Just doing what Queen Bees do. Can’t even be mad about it. Just another lock on the dungeon door.

    You were there for your Mother to the end. To the last breath and second. It was right and proper to do that. Some chains fell off her, and some fell off you too. But almost like a phantom limb, the feeling of those chains lingers.

    Everything has an expiration date. And at some time in life, things like ‘Duty’ and ‘Obligation’ also expire.

    May she Rest In Peace. – JD

    • JD,

      “And in the end I’m pretty sure who it’s been for all this time. Don’t like the thought; incredibly torn about it; but … yeah.”

      While I’m sorry you may understand, I’m also grateful for the company.

      I trust you get my meaning here.

      “Everything has an expiration date. And at some time in life, things like ‘Duty’ and ‘Obligation’ also expire.”

      Well said.

      It’s something I’m learning the hard way.

      But I suppose that’s no different than 100 other lessons.

      Sincerest best,

      A♠

  2. As insightful as Ace was, JD elevated it. Thanks, man.

    All principles require presuppositions. If the presupposition is removed, the principle fails. That’s simple.

    All time-bound things expire. Some things aren’t time-bound. Some of the latter can be connected to the former, which is where things get tricky.

    But who you think you are is a time-bound thing. Something that I, like Ace and JD, learned the hard way. And the process of stripping away the things that aren’t “you” often involves pain.

    It doesn’t help that we’re usually clinging to the band-aid. Even if we’re the ones trying to pull it off.

    • Joe,

      “If the presupposition is removed, the principle fails. That’s simple.”

      Succinctly well stated.

      “It doesn’t help that we’re usually clinging to the band-aid. Even if we’re the ones trying to pull it off.”

      Man, I’m going to remember that one.

      All the best to you and yours,

      A♠

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