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The hard stuff

April 13, 2011

When I began this project I vowed to myself that, as remaining time permits, I would write about all of the pertinent things I can remember. I will. Doing so is a little more difficult than I thought it would be, however. Each time I think of memories that screw their way so deeply into my psyche that I can’t differentiate between what had once been myself and what emerged in the aftermath I find my mind halted, my hands frozen above the keyboard. I know it’s important to record things I may not want to think about, not only for you but for other grandchildren that will come after you, and a couple of step grandchildren who may one day be curious.

So, I will start with you joking about the WordPress theme, “Antisocial,” saying that it suited me. Future grandchildren should be aware that your joking and teasing me about the most difficult things in life are part of the way that you and I work. And we work well. Your humor is always a glowing respite from some stuff that can be fairly heavy to carry around.

You joked about the “Antisocial” WordPress theme because that is what I am. Agoraphobic. Nine years. Most people have heard of agoraphobia but don’t really understand what it entails and how it may come about, but one behavior common to all agoraphobics is avoidance. Severe anxiety problems are common to agoraphobics. Contrary to many articles about agoraphobia using only the Greek word agora (marketplace) to define the problem, agoraphobia is not a phobic fear of Walmart and its contemporaries.

The agoraphobia came from history, part of which I will record here. The pulmonary fibrosis and other stuff came out of the blue. That’s where we stand today.

Whew. There’s one part, typed out and displayed in letters and words. And still the cursor is blinking at me without a care in the world.

Twice I have been able to write out painful history that any of you may be curious about in the future. Tommy’s illness and Johnny’s death were central to the forming of my immediate family as a child and affected most of our subsequent history.

Robert Burns wrote a Scots poem entitled To a Mouse containing the line “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley,” translated to “The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go oft awry.”

Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck used part of the line as title of his novel Of Mice and Men, conveying in a heart rending story how, indeed, the best laid schemes of mice and men do go oft awry.

We all live it. Because we all live it, we identify with the line in the poem and with Steinbeck’s novel. Bad things happen. Life hurts. We all hope that things will happen to take away the common hurt from different sources that we share, and thankfully, things usually do. But ponder this: if we had no hurts or tragedies against which to compare the brightest points in our lives, would we know we were experiencing a bright point?

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