Failure to Thrive

I've been dealing with a lot of things lately. 

I'll get to that in a bit.

When I was young, early teens kind of young, I never saw myself making it to old age, frail and embracing what memories I had left in that thing I call a brain. Like most people that age the term 'Old' probably meant anyone forty or over, alone, a regular customer to the liquor department and watching endless hours of television waiting for death to embrace this crazy life and then...Well, that's always been the question. What then? 

There are no lack of 'Reality' television where people go in search of 'Ghosts' and get all excited when they see a shadow moving, a chair rocking, little things that get the viewers all worked up hoping for that piece of evidence that proves we don't end when our hearts stop and knowing we aren't going to get it. Some people find solace in religion, old words written by long dead men whose initial intent was to keep the populace under the control of religious leaders or the king or, in today's world, those who have a television ministry...But they aren't the only religion on the block. I follow Wicca for a lot of reasons that mean nothing to anyone but myself and I tried the other guys, graduated from a Bible School once dubbed 'School of the Prophets' (Try living up to that), spoke at a lot of places knowing what I was saying was untrue. Still, a  while back I started joining churches, going through their indoctrination in order to find out what they really believe and became members of more  than a few...But still no embracing, still no answers.


I know what we all do, that we're born, we live and we die. That's it. As my sister is fond of telling me everything else in conjecture because, in a true death, no one has come back and give you that Kodak moment. I've talked to people who have had 'Death Experiences', some saw a white light and all that went with that story but Richard, a dear friend, told me of his death experience and it gave a whole new meaning to the term 'Hell'. Like everyone else he had his idea of death. He knows now...He died of AIDS a while back and he's buried with his sister next to my mother. Richard taught me a lot about life, asked questions and expected my true answer and not a quote or 'They say...' He was one of the few where I was able to be myself and not be judged and I missed seeing him one last time by less than thirty minutes. He was in St. Joe, across the street from where I worked, and I went to seen him during my lunch hour only to find he had been raced to surgery.

Then to the morgue.

I've seen far too much of death and have had a hand in helping others into taking that last journey. When you're around so much death you get a feel for it in the gut of your soul and you get to know when someone is headed in that direction. 

When we brought my father over for in house hospice it was, for me, not a question he was going to die but how soon? My sister thought he would fight to live like he has so many times before and I dropped it, told her I'll take care of him for however long he has. Wasn't all that long. My sister had pneumonia and was lying on his bed next to him when he went...She called me in and told me that he was probably dead. I put my hand on his bare chest and his body jerked, which kind of took us by surprise. I do have cold hands but still...Anyway, he was dead. 

That was always his greatest fear. He was terrified he was going to some judgement and torment for his life and he's not the only one. People tend to find that 'Just in case' clause when they get older and death is no longer a theory but a fact. Some, like my father, found it in the church. 

I find comfort in the scientific fact that energy is neither created or destroyed, it only changes. We are made up of the same stuff as this world we're destroying, eating is food, making tools and weapons out of its minerals, and that's okay with me. I don't know if our consciousness is somehow 'Saved' or can take form after getting rid of that broken down body or if we start all over on this world, this dimension, or some place else. If it's oblivion, bring it on. I'm tired of this insanity we call life.

I suppose I'm lucky. Barring accident or murder or an asteroid slamming into our planet, I know the 'How' I'm going to die. When the doctor told me my failing lungs will cause me to drown it was something of a relief. Then, anyway. It wasn't until this year when breathing has become a huge problem and what's troublesome is oxygen won't help me in the least. My lungs take in the air and it kind of stays there until I can actually force it back out. Little things are becoming difficult, the vision is starting to go, and don't even think of handing me a glass 'cause chances are I'm going to drop it. 

That last part is the biggest problem. I have these special glasses which makes drawing easier...Longer but easier...But I can't remember how many times I've destroyed a pen point because the damn thing slides through that hole in my hand. 

I guess my death certificate will have the word emphysema or something because there has to be a reason, right? We have to name death because we certainly don't have any answers to the meaning of life. So, as in my dad's case, he died of 'Failure to thrive'. Really, what does that mean? He simply quit? Gave up? Or just lost all hope of ever being the person he was in his mind?

 I believe every person has the right to choose how they die...Again aside from accidents, disease or whatever...There does come that moment when we're fairly certain we're heading for the dive into the unknown. Sometimes it's when a person loses all control over their bowels, maybe it's in the knowledge we won't be missed or it might be as simple as 'It seemed like the right thing to do' clause.

My room/studio is packed wall to wall with books, collections which took me years to complete and I have a storage shed out back that's already filled with boxes of more collections. Some are extremely valuable to other collectors, some are just memories of what led me to become an artist. I put off packing any of the other books in my room because that represented, in my mind, I'm preparing for the final curtain. I love my books and I have this hope for them to find a good home and I suppose I'll have to find an expert to help price and sell some of them (Seriously, got some valuable books in a shed which shields them from the elements), or I could go with that way I helped a friend when their spouse died. Try to give some away, sell others, but way too many went into the dumpster and that still pains me.

My sister always has a way of giving me that little something where I continue to fight, continue to embrace life, and I have projects I want to finish but...The boxes are stacking up. I just finished packing up my Al Williamson collection and he was he artist who really inspired me way back in high school so saying good bye to his works is...Tough.

I don't give up on much of anything, even in the face of overwhelming odds and facts and if I were a different person I'd just accept reality and get on with it. Thing is, you see, I love my drafting table, I love art, I love creating and it's my dream to die with my face on that unfinished project. I'd like for a lot of things to happen after my death but, hey, that is so not our call. 

We give names to disease and all forms of death dealing objects, we use words that are suppose to mean we didn't give up the fight for life, but in the end it all boils down to a 'Failure to thrive'. I've had friends whose body and faces were covered with the scars from fire, I knew a guy who literally had no face, and I've seen people adapt to all sorts of physical ailments that I don't think I could live with and whenever I feel sorry for the fact my lungs are worthless I remember them, I remember that my lungs are the way they are because I made the decision to smoke knowing this would be a possibility. 

I'm good for about four or five hours in the day then the dizziness takes over and the breathing is labored and I'm finished with whatever I'm doing. And the cold weather? Well, at least I know what having a frozen lung feels like.

So I've been away from Facebook and other sites because it's kind of difficult to form words and give meaning to my thoughts and I really, really want to finish a few things before it's all over. I don't say any of this for sympathy or attention, only that I've been going through a tough stretch of time where spending time on the computer is going to be on and off for a while. 
And I have more pen points that have missed destruction thus far. 

Love you guys. 



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