Beginning .. and ending ..

I can’t blog more publicly.  Most of what I expect to put here is about observing my dad’s final traverse.  We never know how long such a journey is.  It started over a year ago.  In a strange oedipal way – it was my son’s college graduation – his ascent into adulthood – that heralded my dad’s decent from patriarch to dependent.

This is normal.

Every family goes through this.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Mom disagrees:  “why can’t he just get hit by a truck?” She asked me last night.  She was only half-joking.  He has gone back-and forth.  Three days ago – he could barely walk 50 feet.  He was seriously planning on taking the lethal dose of morphine he’s carried with him in recent weeks.  He needs an anti-emetic so he doesn’t vomit some of it.  But yesterday he walked around the lake.  He was overjoyed to read the recent article by Oliver Sacks.  So cool how these dying minds have fresh enthusiasm for learning.  Dad has been reading The Canon for the past few days and loves it.  He wrote a poem yesterday about a trilobite.  Extinct?  Yes.  Forgotten?  No.  They left their marks forever.  Fascinated too by the story of the Sea Squirt:

… the tunicate, or sea squirt, is a mobile hunter in its larval stage and thus has a little brain to help it find prey. But on reaching maturity and attaching itself permanently to a safe niche from which it can filter-feed on whatever passes by, the sea squirt jettisons the brain it no longer requires. “Brains are great consumers of energy,” writes Peter Atkins, a professor of chemistry at Oxford University, “and it is a good idea to get rid of your brain when you discover you have no further need of it.” — Natalie Angier; The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science

He stopped talking about the morphine.

But he doesn’t want to return to San Francisco.  He prefers Vermont.  Or Boston.  He doesn’t want to die in San Francisco.

She wants to go back.  ASAP.

This is a problem.