Monday, October 4, 2010


I'll be stopping by my mommy's house everyday now, to feed my stepfather. He's aged 15 years in the last five weeks. Must have lost 40 pounds. He's been declining for a few years, barely ambulatory, Parkinsonian, Alzheimeric, diabetic, etc. Deaf. I pat him and rub him and speak to him, but I'm not good at that sort of thing, not real friendly. But he's dying.

He spent a month at the VA, respite care, a government thing to give caregivers, my mother, a break. He seems to have stopped eating, there. She got to leave the state for a week, visit her sister for the first time in decades, and it was only a week, but the VA policy requires a whole month.

A necessary thing then. Sort of lethal.

So I'm making a berry smoothie, very low glycemic, laced with omega 3 and flax seed oil and protein powder and all sorts of anti oxidants and probiotics. DHEA. It may not be too late. Put it in a few glasses in the fridge, give it to him every hour or so. Try to fatten him up.

It's not that my mother is stupid. She's overwhelmed. I've drained my resources over the past few years, holding her afloat. I've been overwhelmed though in my own way. But she just jabs him with the insulin needle, without checking his blood sugar, without swabbing his skin, reusing the same needle. Don't tell anyone this. It's past tense. I've stressed that this is not acceptable. You see my point. Who will care for the caregivers.

Still, I come sweeping in and take over, for a few hours. Teach us to care and not to care. Because not many years ago I had him on an anti-aging supplement program that was reversing his problems. He didn't like taking so many pills though, and stopped. See? I will not care more than someone will care for themselves. We do our best, or close to it, and allow fate and free will their respective sovereignties.

Now I ask him if he'd like a drink, and he always says yes, and guzzles it down. It's a berry smoothie after all, like ice cream fer cripe's sake, muy delicioso, and even though it has some odd aftertastes in it, like intestinal flora pills and alpha lipoic acid, capsules pulled open and the powder poured in -- even so I say, he likes it.

Maybe he won't die very soon.

What a world, where we love other people. What an idea, love. How strange. Parallel universes colliding, passing through each other, mutually insubstantial, occasional antimatter catastrophes but generally imperfectly perceived, somehow sharing gravity. Attraction is the strongest law, more so even than repulsion.

You think I've been joking, when I say I could never see most of my family again and feel none the poorer for it. But I'm not normal, very. If I have familial love for them, it is love without attraction. Some sort of duty-bound love. The obligation, the sentiment of genetics, the unfortunate coincidence of specific alleles and a somewhat shared upbringing. I'd be happier if I'd been an only child, and more normal if I'd been an orphan.

But we can chose to love. It's not only proximity. I love my step father, my mother's husband. I love my mother. I have a friend that I love, the way it must be to love a brother. My son. Myself. Jesus. That's not many people to love. My universe is small. My father and my brothers are just duties, avoided mostly.

Well, that's enough. How've you been?


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