Monday, October 16, 2006

Take Away Your Fear

Grandmother reached the level where she needs oxygen all the time to keep from passing, can't open her eyes anymore, or talk, although she tries, responds to talking and touch. Doc says that she is "actively dying". I sat by her bed for the last 20 minutes before the end of visiting hours last Saturday night, saying what came to mind, practicing pumping salt water out my eye sockets. What to say, to do, for a stoic and beautiful grandmother in her time on the edge? Whatever one can, whatever one feels one should I suppose. If you think you know I doubt you do. We travel the October Country regular just like every year, but the skeleton faces present involuntary grins in greater dimensions. The annual plants present their corpses in more striking fashions, and every microscopic monolithic thing aligns with instinctive time and energy tranfers. Lighting bolts shoot through me from the hot electric clouds in my head when I close my eyes and look around. Have I not had sufficient time to prepare? All the time in the world, no less.

Lucinda Williams sings:
"Did an angel whisper in your ear
And hold you close and take away your fear
In those long last moments."
in her classic Louisiana dying song "Lake Charles".

That Lucinda's got a hold on me.
But not on Grandmother. She gave up the ghost Thursday October 26th at about 19:00, deep in October Country, in the neighborhood I spent some serious years of my childhood, in Petaluma. I got the news on a high blood pressure office Friday afternoon, no time or space for emoting. Felt disorienting. October ain't over yet.

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