Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Borrowed time

I almost choked on a Corn Pop the other day and thought for a second, "Oh, is this how it ends? Death by Corn Pop." Could  anyone have predicted it? Possibly my college roommates since my taste in cereal and inability to create a meal for myself has remained unchanged since those days.

And then, when I realized I was going to survive, I thought, "Oh, I have all of these extra days now, what will I do with them?" Days when I should've been dead, were it not for my coughing reflex. It seems like I should make some changes, travel to India, stop playing Hay Day, do something with my life so it will have had meaning. Today, I started that journey by ordering a large coffee with a shot of pumpkin spice in it. Taking risks, changing things for the better, getting out of my comfort zone.

And then there was another moment of realization of my mortality last night. We were watching Dolores Claiborne with Kathy Bathes and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Have you seen it? It's disturbing and interesting, about an abused woman accused of murdering her boss and her angry daughter who returns home to help her.

There's one scene where Dolores/Kathy is caring for now very old and very undignified boss and the older lady starts crying, because she doesn't want to live like anymore, not in a life filled with wash and wear nightgowns, confined to a wheelchair and soiling herself. Dolores makes her stop crying by bringing her a china pig that plays "Happy Days are Here Again," and that quiets her for a minute, but then she tries to throw herself down the stairs.  And Chap was on the footstool, sleeping and I thought, Oh, no, one of us is going to die first. It's probably going to be Chaplin. How will I survive that? Which then reminded me of that scene from the movie and book Olive Kitteredge when Olive's elderly Dachshund dies, her last tie to her dead husband, and she goes into a field and puts a gun to her head. I understand that impulse better now. Life with a dog only produces good memories and positive attachments. Unlike with humans, you don't have a history of grudges and hurt feelings; it's just joy mixed in with a teensy bit of tedium in maintaining their daily care.

I asked Dan what he thought we should do when Chaplin dies; should we make a suicide? He said, "Yes. Or we can just get a younger dog when he starts to get old."

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