What’s important

The meaning of life came to me in a slow moment of panic. I finally figured out what’s important. The only thing that really matters.

You need someone to care about. And who cares about you. You need someone to worry about, and who worries about you. You need someone to look after when they get sick, as they would look after you when you get sick. You need someone to share your life with. Just having yourself is not enough.

The people you used to care about, worry about, share your life with are gone now. They come to you in dreams, and in that surreal other world you have your life back, only to wake up in the same void of reality. It becomes hard then to get up and face the day without them, without any of them, not one.

There are bloggers out there who despise me for my pitiful — and to them, pitiable — posts about loss and loneliness. One posted a nasty poem about me “bemoaning my fate… boo hoo…” She erased it right after but not before I had read it.

She writes constantly and voluminously about her love for God, and I think what really set her off was when I lamented the continuing absence and silence of God in answer or non-answer to my prayerful entreaties for help. It’s funny how some of the nastiest comments I get are from so-called Christians, who tell me in most unchristian terms what they think of me. She pitied me in my “godless universe” and told me to drown my “sorrow in another glass of wine.”

First of all, let me set the record straight: I do not drink wine — I drink gin and rum and bourbon, so please, madam, do not add insult to injury.

Secondly, take your self-righteous sanctity and shove it.


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The road to God

Everyone, every body on this grain of sand in our infinite Universe is at the mercy of a microscopic mystery bug that kills tens of thousands and potentially millions of people.

Everyone on earth, from tradesmen to nurses to movie stars, can become infected. Death is on everyone’s mind. We need courage and a boundless spirit of togetherness and humanity to survive this.

People of a certain age who live alone are the most vulnerable. They face not only the virus but the despair and stress of being alone. They fear being stricken with no one to help them, or even know they are gravely ill. They could be lying on the floor of their house for days before someone might decide to check on them.

This is a desperately lonely dilemma for them. They need someone to look after them, or at least be aware of their existence and look in on them at times like this. But that may never happen. People have their own lives and deaths to worry about.

A man in his seventies recently lost his wife and over the years has lost his son and two brothers. He has no family left. He is one of those people who could collapse with no one in the house to call for help, or anyone, in fact, who might think to check in on him from time to time because he has no friends in his isolated world.

UNANSWERED PRAYERS

Then, not long ago, a friend of his deceased wife from thirty years ago contacted him with her condolences and they have kept in touch. She says she is a messenger from God. Her very name, Renata de Dios, means “Born again of God.” She came out of the past to help this man of little to no faith.

His wife, being raised Catholic was a believer, and when he held her hand in Intensive Care as she lay dying, that was a consolation to him. And throughout the past thirteen months since her death he has prayed, in his own faltering way, for a sign from her or from her God that she is “somewhere” now and not lost forever in an oblivion of emptiness. But he has never received the slightest sensation of any communion with her or felt even a hint of her presence in his lowly bungalow.

Renata de Dios persevered. During their many telephone conversation she has tried to direct him to the “road to God.” He doesn’t rebuff her or her faith but he doesn’t automatically embrace it. He tells her it’s not like a light switch you can suddenly turn on. You have to feel it in your heart. You have to believe it.

Once, a few weeks back, he actually set out on the road to God, only to lose his way and wander off into another wilderness of despair.

The guy seems like a hopeless case, but Renata de Dios keeps trying. What have you got to lose? she said. Give it another shot, I’m here for you, I’ll guide you.

Some things in life you can’t do alone. You need a guide. He dials Renata’s number. She answers right away. She’s there for him.


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Wild party on County Road 9

You try. You try to get through the death of your wife. You got through the death of two brothers and your son. Why is it so hard to get through this?

For one thing, your wife helped you get through those deaths, especially the death of your son. That was a tough one. You went crazy. You wanted to kill yourself. Your wife stopped you.

You can’t do that. It won’t help Will. And I need you. 

You went on. You lived through the nightmare. Years passed. Your wife was always there for you.

And then she fell ill. Ambulances wailing in the night. Emergency vehicles flashed their lights. Medics worked frantically at her bedside, their faces taut with urgency.

And then the night ride to emergency. A grim scenario played out before, but this night they could not save her.

And now you live alone. You join a bereavement group. You volunteer at the local library. You go back to the empty house. You have no immediate family left. You’ve stopped waiting for the phone to ring. You read a lot. You drink a lot. Gin is a lifesaver. Until it isn’t. But Xanax is, every time.

You put seemingly hopeful posts on your blog (obviously this is not one of them). You try to get off the subject of death. But you know you’re kidding yourself. All you know is, you want your wife back. And the rest of what you know is, she’s never coming back.

Your wife was a believer. She believed in something after death. But you can’t wrap your head around that. You are twice bereft — of your wife, and of belief.

Hell of a place to be in an empty house on County Road 9.