Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ennui and Thanatos

The last few months have been very difficult ones. My father's health has continued to decline. He was hospitalized again earlier this month, and Hospice is now helping us care for him. The doctors say there is little more they can throw at his various ailments.

The disintegration of his body is echoed by the disintegration of my psyche. I had a job where I was liked, a house, a novel to sell, friends I could visit in person, and an extended writing community I enjoyed. I sold the house, moved away from my job and friends, and have been unemployed until this week. Today, I began a temp job that lasts for a couple of weeks. Employment has been long-desired by me and, I hope, will lend me a little sanity along with the ability to pay down debts.

Television dramas about dying family members are usually sentimental and depict families tearfully coming together and ironing out their differences. It's not like that in my experience; my parents still shout at each other daily over items that mostly have no consequence while the elephant languishes in the corner. We don't go out much. We watch a lot of television, prepare food, pick things up around my bedridden father, and make small talk.

We are sitting around waiting for Dad to die.

I need to redo the bio on my Web page. I only wish I knew who I am now. My days are filled with Murder She Wrote episodes on Netflix, arranging my father's medications, calling the hospice people, interacting online with Dad's friends, and - most recently - working on his burial arrangements.

My online writing friends think I should have plenty of time to write. Unfortunately, writing is something I have to work the nerve up to do under the best of circumstances. Right now, even thinking about working on fiction makes me want to cry. My words have scattered to the far winds and I wonder if they will ever blow home, rolling like the sea foam does across the causeway.

I'm reading, but not always easily. My concentration varies with Dad's condition. His health varies from day to day, as do his moods. Some days, he is the father I love. Other days, he is bitter, fussy, angry, and fearful. I have at least one book I want to review, but once again words fail me.

The only writing work I'm doing, in fact, is typing up his memoirs. He has designed many Bible lessons but has only rarely attempted expository writing. His writing still reflects his desire to teach, but some of the content is more personal. I'd often suggested he try his hand at writing a book on religion; this may be as close as he comes.

The new job gives me something real, fresh to talk about with him, a new avenue of small talk that helps diverts us both from the truth: we are waiting for death.

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