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  • Originally posted by annabenedetti View Post
    My sweet companion with Alzheimer's disease has passed away.

    I used to write down some of the things he told me so I wouldn't forget. One of the last things he said to me, in the midst of a lot of fragments that weren't connected to each other was this, and it was as clear as a bell: "I hope you make out okay, kiddo. I want you to be happy."

    I hope he's very, very happy right now, somewhere beyond here. He was a gentle man, with a beautiful soul.
    i'm sorry for your loss, anna

    and pray that he's at peace now

    Comment


    • Originally posted by annabenedetti View Post
      My sweet companion with Alzheimer's disease has passed away.

      I used to write down some of the things he told me so I wouldn't forget. One of the last things he said to me, in the midst of a lot of fragments that weren't connected to each other was this, and it was as clear as a bell: "I hope you make out okay, kiddo. I want you to be happy."

      I hope he's very, very happy right now, somewhere beyond here. He was a gentle man, with a beautiful soul.
      So sorry anna.

      Comment


      • I've just finished the fourth and final book in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels. I tore my way through the first three books and when I got to the last one I could barely choke it down, it got stuck like food does when you’re nervous and you haven’t eaten and you know you need to but there’s no appetite, it’s not appealing at all and and anyway your throat is too dry, the food is too dry.

        Ferrante's writing is so fierce it's primal - and yet despite the fury she gives her characters, in the end they're as impotent as every other human who can't escape the cage of the life into which they were born. They see a horizon, and even when they bend the bars and make a run for it, they don't realize they're running in place, and eventually we see they never really left where they started. It's all so nihilistic. There's no happy ending, but by that point I found it difficult to care anymore. Their dreams were only just dreams after all, they returned to the city that was suffocating them, the empty marriages, the botched love affairs, broken promises, disappointments, class and gender expectations, conformity. Fierceness drifts into apathy, and everyone eventually "settles." Gets old. Dies. Disappears.

        In the final pages, Elena finds out she's been ghosted by Lina, who disappears intentionally, without a goodbye, without an explanation, without a trace. After inhabiting Elena's mind and emotions, coloring her world and influencing her decisions since childhood in a platonic friendship so close they can't untangle themselves one from the other, Lina disappears into thin air - leaving Elena with no way of knowing how she is, where she is. The story of their lives ends that way. Just like that. A blank not-knowing. Life goes on, but the the living is really just a slow dying and that's all there ever was. There never was a horizon, it was just an illusion. Kind of like finding out the shadows in Plato's Cave didn't reflect an outside reality after all.

        But that's the genius of Ferrante: her characters are so human that it's painful to confront the defects of her characters because they're so achingly familiar. Her description of life in Naples where she grew up - the poverty, the social barriers, the clashes between fascists and communists and mafia and how people scheme to get their share however they have to do it, whatever they have to do to get ahead a little bit, because they really are just that desperate. They're each in their own way the proverbial crab in the bucket pulling down the other crabs in a communally-doomed attempt to escape. If you're a feminist, you'll appreciate the battles women face in these novels and you’ll cheer for them when they break free and groan when they find new ways to re-indenture themselves. If you’re not a feminist, Ferrante may stir something in you that you’ve long felt but couldn't quite identify.

        But in the last book, I found myself worn out from caring about the characters who inspired me, who moved me... I'd been disappointed so many times. Ferrante is such a genius. Her characters are so human it hurts, and the way she holds up a mirror to life is brilliant, even when it reflects a long meandering trail of enduring, all the way to the horizon. I wanted so badly to see beyond the horizon, but in the end I couldn't see anything. Nothing at all.

        Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

        Comment


        • In the Oct. 30 issue of The New Yorker magazine, there’s a profile of an artist named Laura Owens. Partway into the interview, there’s a mention of a journal that she kept when she was younger, with an entry on “How to Be the Best Artist in the World,” and part of her list follows here:

          Think big
          Contradict yourself constantly
          No guilt
          Do not be afraid of anything
          Say very little

          Something on that list kind of stopped me in my tracks. Not that I “think big,” because I tend to think small.
          Anyone who’s been raised Catholic understands suffocating guilt.
          As for Owens’ admonition to “say very little,” I’m painfully aware of the times I've said too much.
          I’m often afraid, although I have the capacity to be as brave as necessary.

          One thing I’m pretty good at is being inconsistent, which brings me to her one point I seem to have mastered: “contradict yourself constantly.” I never plan that one. It just happens. It’s not as simple as changing my mind (although that happens), or forgetting what I might have said a long time ago (that happens too), it’s also about the way life and experience transition me from one place to the next, like stations on the railway. I can look back and see where I was and see how I was different, although the view forward isn’t nearly so clear and the station I’m currently standing on can feel pretty murky.

          It’s been over eight years now since depression came to me. The official diagnosis followed some years after. I learned, eventually, that one of the various causes of depression can be a single traumatic event and I think that was the case for me. I also learned that once someone experiences a major depressive episode that it can be easier to experience a recurrence. I’ve spent the intervening years adjusting to an everyday that’s different from all the everydays that went before, back in the before depression time.

          Back then, after going through several different antidepressants with none of them having any lasting benefit (they either helped for a short time and then faded or they didn’t help at all) I was trying to explain one of the side effects to a dear friend of mine who thought I was thinking about suicide, which I wasn’t.

          I was telling her how I was driving on the freeway, and wondered what it would be like to smash into one of the cement bridges. And how one day I’d looked as if for the first time at the veins in my wrist, and how close to the surface they were, and how easy it would be. I was explaining to her how they were a side effect of the meds I was on at the time, these “thoughts of death,” that they were quite unprompted by myself and different from any I’d ever thought. Wondering what it would be like to die isn’t the same thing as wanting to kill yourself, and it took awhile before she could accept what I was saying. I stopped taking those meds and haven't been on an antidepressant for several years now.

          I’m scared of dying, so have never entertained a desire to speed up the process. But even now, years after stopping the meds, I still wonder sometimes what it will be like to die. I think as we get older that’s not an unusual thought to have, even if it’s more rare for some than others to think about it.

          Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

          Comment


          • Originally posted by annabenedetti View Post
            .....I was trying to explain one of the side effects to a dear friend of mine who thought I was thinking about suicide, which I wasn’t.

            I was telling her how I was driving on the freeway, and wondered what it would be like to smash into one of the cement bridges. And how one day I’d looked as if for the first time at the veins in my wrist, and how close to the surface they were, and how easy it would be. I was explaining to her how they were a side effect of the meds I was on at the time, these “thoughts of death,” that they were quite unprompted by myself and different from any I’d ever thought. Wondering what it would be like to die isn’t the same thing as wanting to kill yourself, and it took awhile before she could accept what I was saying. I stopped taking those meds and haven't been on an antidepressant for several years now.

            I’m scared of dying, so have never entertained a desire to speed up the process. But even now, years after stopping the meds, I still wonder sometimes what it will be like to die. I think as we get older that’s not an unusual thought to have, even if it’s more rare for some than others to think about it.
            L’appel du vide (the call of the void)

            It's normal. Nothing to be worried about.
            _/\_

            Christians: "I - a stranger and afraid - in a world I never made.." -- Houseman

            Comment


            • Originally posted by quip View Post
              L’appel du vide (the call of the void)

              It's normal. Nothing to be worried about.
              I'm not sure which you're telling me is normal. I'm not worried about thinking about dying, I just worry about the dying itself. And I sure hope the void isn't calling me. Hopefully it's a long way off, but one never knows.

              Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

              Comment


              • Originally posted by annabenedetti View Post
                I'm not sure which you're telling me is normal. I'm not worried about thinking about dying, I just worry about the dying itself. And I sure hope the void isn't calling me. Hopefully it's a long way off, but one never knows.
                For the record, I was referring to the former. And I'm glad you're not worried though....

                As for the rest: You can't worry about death itself without it's accompanying thoughts.

                Nonetheless, someone wiser than I made a statement about death..."I exist then death does not; death exist then I do not. Why worry about something that will never exist concurrent to me?" (Or something to that effect)
                _/\_

                Christians: "I - a stranger and afraid - in a world I never made.." -- Houseman

                Comment


                • Originally posted by annabenedetti View Post
                  I'm not sure which you're telling me is normal. I'm not worried about thinking about dying, I just worry about the dying itself. And I sure hope the void isn't calling me. Hopefully it's a long way off, but one never knows.
                  Originally posted by quip View Post
                  For the record, I was referring to the former. And I'm glad you're not worried though....

                  As for the rest: You can't worry about death itself without it's accompanying thoughts.

                  Nonetheless, someone wiser than I made a statement about death..."I exist then death does not; death exist then I do not. Why worry about something that will never exist concurrent to me?" (Or something to that effect)
                  My worry with dying isn't so much about myself (though painless and unaware would be preferred) but rather about my family and how they will cope without me ... and my inability to take care of them because I am gone.
                  A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man
                  we can trust with nuclear weapons.

                  Bill Clinton






                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by quip View Post
                    For the record, I was referring to the former. And I'm glad you're not worried though....
                    Thanks for clarifying that.

                    As for the rest: You can't worry about death itself without it's accompanying thoughts.

                    Nonetheless, someone wiser than I made a statement about death..."I exist then death does not; death exist then I do not. Why worry about something that will never exist concurrent to me?" (Or something to that effect)
                    It's okay to think about it, if it's not overthought. Some people are very aware. I know someone who actually counts the days they made it through each year, and then they start over with the counting. I don't even come close to that kind of awareness, it's not a daily thought, it's an occasional, accidental thought. (I have a notebook of accidental thoughts. )

                    Regarding your quote, does that only work if someone believes in an immortal soul?

                    As for the "why worry" part... I'm kind of like this although learning to practice mindfulness, which has been helpful. Its seems like mindfulness is sort of coopted and monetized these days but that doesn't take away from the simple practice of it. It's very difficult to stay in the present moment.

                    Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Rusha View Post
                      My worry with dying isn't so much about myself (though painless and unaware would be preferred) but rather about my family and how they will cope without me ... and my inability to take care of them because I am gone.
                      You're a loving and caring person, Rusha. Of course you would worry about those things, that's who you are.

                      Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by annabenedetti View Post
                        You're a loving and caring person, Rusha. Of course you would worry about those things, that's who you are.
                        Takes one to know one ...

                        Thanks!
                        A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man
                        we can trust with nuclear weapons.

                        Bill Clinton






                        Comment


                        • I'm mostly too busy trying not to screw this life up.
                          You aren't what you eat, but you're always what you swallow.

                          Pro-Life






                          Comment


                          • I was walking in the city today, on my way to see a matinee, and I had a little time to stop first for a coffee. The woman in line in front of me paid for mine. Why? Because she’s a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting and is practicing random acts of kindness in memory of the victims and first responders. Thus began a conversation that was very moving for us both, an encounter as life-affirming as it was unexpected.

                            Continuing on with my now priceless cup of coffee, I crossed a busy intersection and exchanged hellos with a security guard on the sidewalk. He said “isn’t it a beautiful day?” and I agreed that it was, thinking just how much more beautiful it had become. I told him “you have a good day” and he said in return, “you have a better one, love.”

                            Another random act of kindness. Two strangers, minutes apart. “You have a better one”. I love that. I’m going to start saying that, it’ll remind me of this day.

                            So I walked up to the ticket taker in the theater and he said. “Hi love, how are you?”

                            Thankful. I’m thankful for kindness, freely given from the abundance of kind hearts.

                            So I’m sitting in the theater right now, waiting for the lights to go down. This theater doesn’t play ads, it plays music, usually indie. I’m listening to Sharon Van Etten, a favorite of mine, singing one of my favorite songs of hers that I’ve actually posted in the music thread. It’s called “For You,” and the opening line is “I was walking up the street...”

                            I’m not making this up.

                            Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

                            Comment


                            • Lady Bird is the movie I saw today. It's mostly about daughters coming of age and moms letting go, but also about daughters and fathers and friendship and love. Putting down roots, and of course, tearing them out.

                              The almost-graduated-from Catholic high school Christine who's renamed herself Lady Bird wants to leave Sacramento and go to college back east, where they have "culture.'" Her mom is in early heartbreak stage from the impending empty nest, and while the daughter longs to have a closer, more loving relationship with her mom, that's something her mom finds difficult to give her, and both are constantly frustrated by their frequent inabilities to bridge the gap. Lady Bird's father loves his daughter and his wife and tries to be a bridge for them, and at times he succeeds, at the end in a really touching way. He's unselfconsciously sweet, while also busy supporting his son and his son's girlfriend in both emotional and material ways, again, near the end in a really touching way. We find out almost offhandedly that he's lost his job and he's battling depression, things that he deals with seemingly on his own for the little we're told. He's a quiet hero behind the scenes, understated but not unnoticed behind the bombastic and often wincing battles between his wife and daughter.

                              What a great movie. The familiar Catholic environment, including the nuns who do skirt length checks and remind couples dancing too closely at the school dance to "keep 6 inches for the Holy Spirit..." Inhabiting the movie was sort of a dual experience during which I related as a daughter trying to reach out to an unapproachable mother while at the same time reliving the letting go that I did with my own kids as they left the nest (and being kind of relieved that in comparison I made it easy on them). So it was kind of strange, this feeling daughter-feeling mother-feeling daughter again. Although Lady Bird is a terror in a way I never was - the worst I ever did in high school was sneak out for lunch once with friends (we had a closed campus) and feeling so miserably guilty on the inside while trying to stay cool on the outside and being so relieved to get back to school that I never did that again. Or anything else - I wasn't much of a rebel at all. So it's not Lady Bird herself but the relationship to her mom that so resonates with me.

                              Through it all, you know for all the hurts and enforced distances and disappointments that eventually they're going to find a way to make those bridges, and you know underneath the angst there's a love that's too tenaciously stubborn to stop trying. Unfortunately that's not always the case in families. Some bridges are never able to be mended, which is sometimes sad and sometimes necessary. My mom and I've mended some bridges, and I try to take good care of her while respecting her autonomy to this point. I love her so much. Her cancer has come back, and so we have to do our best with the time we have together.
                              Last edited by annabenedetti; November 25th, 2017, 08:55 PM.

                              Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by annabenedetti View Post
                                My mom and I've mended some bridges, and I try to take good care of her while respecting her autonomy to this point. I love her so much. Her cancer has come back, and so we have to do our best with the time we have together.
                                Mom passed away last year. She endured a lot of pain, and I don't think she ever realized how strong she was. It doesn't necessarily help when someone tells you how strong you are, but I told her anyway. She fought it to the very end. She always was a fighter, in her own way... except when she wasn't. Which is so, so endearingly human.

                                Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

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