Saturday, January 3, 2009

Time is the fire in which we burn

I used to not do emotion, really. I'm a very analytical person, which has gotten me into trouble, mental health-wise, at least twice. Analysis is good, but it's not the end all be all of existence. The brain can't always rule over heart and groin.

Before I had a tendency to repress emotion, to not even let it impact me. There have been periods in my life when, I think, I have felt nothing. Zero. Flatline. Walking through life an emotional zombie. Numb. Not anymore, though. I've learned to see the signs, and to break down the walls that were there. They're not all gone, but I'm doing my best to turn them into rubble.

Why did this come up today? I watched an episode of a fantastic TV show, where one of the main characters goes back home and visits her father, who's suffering from dementia. It was powerful stuff, and invisible fingers plucked at my emotional strings.

“I'm losing time”, one of the characters said. I was reminded of a visit this summer to my grandfather's. He's turning 100 in a few years. One hundred years old. The mind boggles. He still lives alone in his apartment, though with regular visits from Hemtjänsten. I have several very graphic memories spread throughout my childhood centered on my grandfather. One of them is his calendar, which is the wrong word but not really, a red plastic box with buttons on top that you push each day to move it forward a day, a month, a year. This summer that box stood on a shelf in the kitchen, covered in dust, the numerals stuck between two dates. Broken. It made me sad.

Time grinds down pretty much anything to dust.

I bought her flowers today. Lilies. And a chocolate muffin. She smiled. That made me smile. No analysis. Just a spur of the moment thing, because it's the third today. So it was a good day.


ege said...

But at least she got to sleep with Matthew Modine. So, you know, that's something...

mistlur said...

the most beautiful words you've posted here. it reminds of the day i visited my grandfather at a servicehem he was lying at because he'd grown very ill, very fast. it was clear he was dying, two weeks later he was gone. anyway, i had brought my daughter with me, she was only seven months old. my grandfather was 93. he could barley speak and was diminished to skin and bones, but the was he lit up when we came to visit him and when he got to hold Unas hand. i will never forget the gratitude and humbleness in his eyes. let alone the smile on his face, their hands holding tight, him forcing thrugh the words "i'm so grateful for their (the servicehem's) work, and so grateful you came today", my eyes watering (as they are watering as i write this). i'm taking it with me the rest of my life.

i'll see you the 6th.

tables - tables.

beardonaut said...

ege: Yeah, well, not so much for me though.

mistlur: Thank you. Seeing time grind down those that have meant something to us is hard.

ege said...

Yeah, sorry, that wasn't the most sensitive comment I ever left. I'm working on a chapter now about the first and only time I met Johnny's mother -- she was 78, senile, drunk, and we all three plus another brother wound up in what can really only be described as a barfight. I'm trying to write this story in an honest, funny, and sensitive way, without bringing about Johnny's estrangement from the few family members he's still in touch with. So I hope you'll forgive me if I was looking for a brighter side to the whole ordeal?

beardonaut said...

And I hope you forgive me for not putting a smiley on my comment. I was commenting on Mr Modine being a good thing, as in to me, and nothing else. I completely understand. And that sounds like it could be an awesome text, though f-in' hard to write honestly and truly.

LadyM said...

Jag orkar inte skriva på engelska som alla andra så jag säger bara; vackert!

ege said...


(P.S. Magma? First "tables" and now magma? Sheesh, Mr. Word-Verification man, you've got to make this game a little harder!)

beardonaut said...

LadyM: Tack!

ege: It's trying to outsmart you.