Do you remember the part in the book, “Tuesdays with Morrie” where Mitch Albom wipes his former teacher’s ass after he takes a poop? You don’t? Me neither. I want my money back, ALS!
I was with Jamie the other night, (my former student/ now caregiver) and thinking to myself how each thing that I’ve had to say goodbye to - walking, singing, acting, feeding myself - each one was devastating in its own way, but afterwards I’d think, ‘look, I’m still standing in the ring after all this.’ But when a former student wipes my ass, I have to say that I’m hanging on the ropes, looking over to Burgess Meredith, and imploring him to throw in the towel. “Come on Mick, give me a break!! “ But the towel does not get thrown in. “Oh, c’mon, people! What’s a girl gotta do to get a towel up in this bitch?”
Wendy thought that I wouldn’t write this in the blog because it’s TMI (too much information). You’d think that after 17 years, she would have figured out that TMI barely exists for me!
So yeah, the last week or two, I had a terrible cold, then my caregiver (I’m not saying which one) stepped on my thumb and now I’m wearing a cast that covers my hand and wrist. As a result I cannot do the last few things that I was able to do, because she had the temerity to step on my good hand rather than my bad one! As I told Kris: everyone tells you about how a tennis serve or a free throw is “all in the wrist” but they never tell you the wrist bend is integral to proper butt maintenance. Well, I’m here to tell you that the same tenet applies to wiping. It’s all in the wrist, baby.
Sometimes I just want so hard to believe in god so I can scream “Really God? Really? Now this shit??? Do I look like fucking Chevy Chase? This is not National Lampoon Vacation 12 – a movie series by the way that seriously calls Your existence into question!” And then god (who is sooo arrogant) would say “Clearly the Vacation movies are too subtle for you, Philistine, now stifle or I’ll really give you something to bitch about.”
So I’m going through a lot of my stuff, because I want to make dividing things less complicated for my friends and family and Mac when I die. I have everything labeled so that there are no questions of claim, because just saying “paintings” in the will is a little too vague.
So when I was talking over all of this with Wendy, she said to me “I don’t want any of that stuff, I just want your glasses…” And the tears rushed to my eyes and she said, “because I want to see the world the way you do.” And of course much crying and hugging ensued. When I related that story to Jamie later that night, she, in her own inimitable way, responded “Tell her it doesn’t work that way, things will just look all blurry”. Leave it to somebody young to put everything into perspective. But it’s funny, when I go through all this stuff, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that none of this is going to matter at all to me when I’m gone. So I’m telling everybody “just pretend to humor me and when I’m dead, do whatever the fuck you want with my shit”.
Somehow there’s some comfort in settling my affairs and organizing everything. Probably I’m thinking about this because I’m about to undergo a major loss. Mac will be going away to UCSD for college. The first major ending in my adult life…oh yeah, not counting my marriage…I keep forgetting about that guy.
But I get comfort in taking pictures of pieces of jewelry that I want to save for Mac or making lists of things that I need to take care of before I die. Kind of like when I used to need to tidy up my apartment before I could sit down to write a play. Maybe getting my affairs in order is the apartment, and the play is whatever journey I have to go on next.
My brother wrote this wonderful piece the other day, which I wish I could share with you, but if I am “TMI” he’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. Anyway, he talked about his restlessness and his need to go from Palm Pre to computer email to cell phone, and how one is not going to find god on that kind of restless technological bender that we’ve all been on. And in the meantime, maybe god is trying to find us, but we’re too busy running around to be found. And It resonated so much for me, because amidst all these hits I’m taking, while I’m lying against the ropes like Rocky Balboa (played by Chevy Chase), there are still these moments of indescribable happiness; like sitting in the garden today and hearing a summer camp full of kids walk by, and how the din of their excitement and yells drowned out everything- the birds chirping in the trees, the whoosh of the water fountain in the backyard, the plums falling onto the ground, and it was a magical moment, so simple and so wonderful. Or watching Mayra up in the tallest branches of the plum tree, shaking it and wondering if she was going to fall and break her neck, but at the same time, being so delighted by this young woman climbing to the top of this tree. And then the hummingbirds. I never imagined such a miraculous thing as living in a place where hummingbirds visit me everyday. It’s magical, this place, and I’ve been so busy running around all my life, until now, the hummingbirds couldn’t find me. But like my brother says, we can’t be found until we can be still,
So here I am, battered and bruised and still life never ever ceases to amaze me. I’ve been going through this over two years (from the 1st fall in May 07) and I’m just stunned at how things can be so horrible and so wonderful at the same time.
It’s like life is The Rocky Horror Picture Show.