Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Talking To Myself

Write, damn it!

I need to just frickin' get off my mental butt, sit down and start typing. Let the words fall where they may and don’t stop to consider what damage I may or may not be causing. Don't fret about style or logical sequencing development or entertainment value or any of the other barriers I hide behind as excuses for not posting what I've been thinking and feeling. Just write and get these gooey thoughts out of my head and heart. Capture them once and for all in my virtual journal and expose them to the light so they will stop haunting my sweaty dreams. Who gives a flying bleep what I think or feel anyway? Do it for myself without hesitation or forethought. Let it flow freely without restraint even if it is a bit messy and runny around the literary edges.

Why have I not been writing about the things that have really been in my head instead of posting the more inane things like “News of the Weird” and “The Week”? Well, primarily because it hurts to keep picking at that scab on my heart and reopening the wound labeled "Charles" only to be faced with trying to stop the emotional bleeding once more. It is slow to heal and painful beyond belief. But I find myself going back to it daily and contemplating on the unfairness of life and my helplessness to make any sense out of it. Of course that is the cruel irony of the whole matter. There is no sense in it and life has never claimed to be fair.

Someone commented about my blog on their site and said that they were touched by what they had read and had come to a realization that they had so much to be thankful for and were grateful for my sharing the experiences of my brother dying of cancer. One of their avid readers and friend commented that they had also visited my site and recommended that that person stay away from it because it was “too f**king depressing.” Sorry, I sincerely don’t know how to make the drawn out agony of my brother’s loss a happy event and less depressive.

Hey, what the crap am I apologizing for?!? It IS f**king depressing!

Another reason is that there has been no real new news. If Charles is too ill to chat or write e-mail then I exist in a communications vacuum that makes me feel as if he's already gone from this earth. I get nothing but frustration in talking with Carroll over the phone because he is too complacent and out of touch with reality to say anything much other than, "He's doing fine. He's about the same. There's no real change," and then he acts as if I am challenging his manhood if I ask for something more specific. I guess the thing that really raises my hackles is the fact that he acts like it is all no big deal. He’s even made the asinine comment, “Well, we’re all gonna die,” as if Charles’ pending death has no real significance or relevance to him. And this is the person who is Charles’ primary caregiver and will most likely be the sole person in attendance at his time of death. Sheesh!

Charles is on the verge of giving up the fight. The masses have grown rapidly over the last several weeks and are obvious in the grotesque swelling of his face and neck. The pain has increased to the point that he is more heavily medicated and spends most of his time lying on the couch. The pain meds cause acute nausea which he attempts to quell with anti-nausea drugs with varying results. He grows weaker and his coordination makes it difficult to move around. His ability to even write is dwindling as he is unable to focus his concentration long enough to make complex sentences on the paper or in a chat session. His nourishment intake has decreased due primarily to the nausea but also because of his body not processing the nutrients sufficiently. Sunday, he told my step-father that he thought it would be his last day. Monday he said he was feeling better and the nausea had subsided somewhat allowing him to once again take food. By taking food he means injecting cans of a Boost-like substance into a tube dangling outside his stomach. Today I’ve heard nothing from him or any of the family members that are near him.

So, it is most likely a matter of days or even hours before Charles passes to his new life beyond this existence. "One day at a time" sincerely takes on much more significance in waiting for death's embrace. I have the comfort of knowing that he and I have said our “official” heartfelt goodbyes and he has promised to be waiting for me on the other side. Now it is only a matter of waiting for the phone call that will inevitably come telling me that he is gone.


He’s never been close to giving up before. This is so different. He tries to live each day as if he is going to beat this shitty disease and refuses to give in to it. But now he’s saying, “Today may be my last day.” It’s wearing him down. He’s tiring of the fight. His body is betraying him further. He’s beginning to acknowledge defeat.

Have I mentioned that there are no plans for a memorial service of any kind? Charles didn’t want one because he doesn’t want anyone making a fuss over him. I’ve tried to talk with him about this with Teresa but he insists that it is up to Jason. That basically means that it will not happen because Jason still hasn’t lifted a finger to help his Dad in any way and continues to pilfer his money and waste it on trivial toys and guns then lie about everything.

Memorial services or funerals are not really for the dead but are a means of bringing closure in the hearts and minds of those left behind. Teresa and I have told Charles this and he seemed to realize that we are right but still won’t relent on saying anything about it to Jason or anyone who will see to it happening. So, it seems there will be no memorial service and Charles will die and be cremated and his ashes spread in his backyard garden just beyond the septic tank overflow lines. Within days of his passing it will be as if he never existed. That’s the way Charles wants it, I guess. That’s the way most of “the family” wants it, too. Convenient and cheap. No fuss and no mess so they can quickly get on with their dysfunctional selfish lives.

There are other reasons I haven’t written honestly. Reasons that I haven’t put a name to but are best defined as dark creatures clawing their way up through the deeper recesses of my memory. Creatures that have been chained in the dungeons of my mind and kept at bay by sheer will to break the cycle of victimization that I have suffered at the hands of cruel people most of my life. Creatures that materialize in my dreams and taunt me now seek to slither through that small vulnerable opening I’ve created by writing about Charles. The creatures are gnawing at the edges of that opening and eating away fleshy chunks to make the opening bigger so they can squeeze through.

I have attempted to exorcise some of these creatures by giving them names in my secret writings. Writings that have been printed and burned and deleted but still find a way to resurrect themselves from the ashes. Creatures bearing names like Physical and Emotional Child Abuse, Neglect, Betrayal, Manipulation and Deceit, Hatred and Ignorance. The creatures were spawned from a long standing curse that has been passed from generation to generation on both sides of my family, both blood and non since before anyone can remember. My siblings, cousins and I were brought into this world under the bondage of this curse and have endured the consequences all of our lives and some of us will die under its influence. I refuse to do so. I refuse to continue to make excuses and propagate the curse by acting as if it doesn’t exist.

What does this mean for me? I think it means that I will eventually write about the events that gave birth to those dark creatures in my mind. I may do it here in my blog or through stories that may end up published elsewhere. “Published” because that is really the only way I can see of ridding me of the curse once and for all. By naming the creatures and boldly pronouncing their existence I will expose them and take away their power. I haven’t done this before Charles’ fight with cancer because I had become comfortably numb and found a status quo of ignoring their existence, claiming that I had put all of that behind me and forgiven and forgotten. I was lying to myself because the creatures were still there. Lurking just underneath my consciousness and waiting to once again victimize me. All they needed was the right situation, the right vulnerable moment to manifest themselves and regain their footing enough to re-launch their attack.

If anyone is really reading this besides me then they are probably thinking they have stumbled into the ravings of a lunatic about to go postal. Well, that is far from the truth and is an unfortunate side effect and misperception of the honesty bubbling to the surface of my writing. Rigid honesty is not easy and those without the ability to be honest with themselves will find fault in my doing so here. So be it. I will make no apologies for it.

See, the words and characterization are not now as concise and definitive as they will be in the future. Striking out on this path means taking “baby steps” and what is now seen through the glass murkily will some day be revealed for what it really is so that all may understand. In other words, naming creatures inhabiting my psyche and alluding to childhood events may be the best I can do for now, but it is the first real honest step to realizing my dream of breaking the curse and freeing myself from the inhibitions that have kept me from truly being who I am meant to be.

Talking with Charles over these last months has brought several things home over and over. Like I’ve said elsewhere in this blog, he has taught me a lot through his dying.

Don’t give up on your dreams.
Always be the best person you can be to your fellow human.
Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.
Stop talking about it and just do it.
Always give help to someone who really needs it and that’s when you will feel most alive yourself.

So, now here I am over 1,900 words later and feeling like I have finally made a genuine effort at saying some things that have been on my mind for weeks. As is my “style” I have wandered through a maze of emotions and topics in a single post and baffled some readers as to what the hell am I really talking about. That is, the readers who have made it to this point. Most of the others quit after the first paragraph and wrote me off as a waste of their precious internet surfing time. That’s fine by me. Like I said in the title of this post, I am talking to myself and writing to my inner man in hopes of discovering something about me. It just so happens that I have chosen to do so here and not for the approval of anyone but me, myself and I.


Counselor said...

Tony, it's obvious from the eclecticism of your blog that you are much more than a big chunk of pain, anger and frustration. Aside from the fact that writing has been proved to be therapeutic, even boosting the immune system, what you have to say is valuable and must resonate for many people. Few of us are undamaged -- it's just a matter of degree. I'm glad you have such a strong life force.

As for Charles, you are probably in the most difficult time of all. I remember the vigil before my father's death and how it felt as if I was completely removed from time and life except for that one focus. If I looked at a magazine it was as if it were full of blank pages. Can you plan your own memorial service?
Peace be with you.

Cyn said...

Through experience comes wisdom and compassion.

I hope so anyway :)

Being that a blog is an extension of yourself basically it seems a logical place to purge your poisons. So do it, and screw anyone who has a "problem" with it :)

MoxieGrrrl said...

The spector of death makes people act very differently. My cousin Jon and I grew up together more like brother and sister, and when he died at 16, I was crushed, but I needed to move on and live my life. His parents decided to superimpose his last school picture onto professional family photos.

When my step-father passed away, I was crushed again, but couldn't stay wallowed in misery. My mother still weeps openly almost 4 years later.

Charles made his decision how he wanted to go. I'm so sorry that he decided to leave himself in the hands of those you find irresponsible, when you clearly want to make things as easy and comfortable for him in his last days. Just remember it was his decision, and you can only do for someone what they will let you do.

I'm so in awe of you, working so hard to deal head-on with your issues. Do whatever you need to for yourself. The people who regularly visit your blog are here to watch your progress, and offer our unsolicited advice and congratulations of having such strength of character.

(((BIG HUG)))

Veronica said...

I think this is a wonderful start! I'm not sure if you got my last email but I do really incourage you to the Lanmark Forum. It gives you closure to past events..renewed relationship but best of all HAPPINESS! ou deserve it. THe cycle WILL be broken.

Cylithria™ said...

Tony, I've been a silent reader of your blog for a while now. I added you to my blogroll to keep track of your site.... I think your writing is fine the way it is and I like reading your, "Me, myself and I" approach. Don't give it up!!

Doug said...

I read every word. Thank you.

Abby Taylor said...

Thanks for writing about this. I had wondered what was going on, but I figured you're like the rest of us... you'll write and do what you need to write and do when the time is right. You're very brave and genuine, and it's clear that your writings and journey touch many more than just yourself.

Kitty said...


Tony, BRAVO - you've made your start, my friend! You're now on your way. I've been waiting for you to reach this point, and knew that it would come - sooner or later.

We (all) have our demons, and we (all) need to find the right outlets to shine the light on them, and expose them for what they really are so we can gain control and re-take our lives.

As we've briefly discussed before, I think we have similar families -- who knows? -- possibly related ?? from the sound of things.

I think of you and Charlie daily, and pray for comfort for you both.

I guess - after that message I left the other day -- you know I'm 'truly' Southern, too -- what an accent, huh?

Take care, my friend . . . Your journey has begun!

Kim said...

Tony, I don't see you as a raving lunatic, I see you as a person about to embark on a difficult and tumultuous journey to free your mind, and further, I encourage you to do it. You are a bundle of emotion and energy waiting to be unleashed, and you know it....Do it Tony, write.

Wildcat said...

this is a great post tony. i'm in awe at how you are able to capture those feelings and put them into words. i continue to grieve with you imagining as much as i'm able how things would be for me if it were my brother. it's so sad that the rest of your family is trying to sweep their sorrows under the rug, instead of enjoying all the give and take they could with charles while he is still here. it will be their loss. keep writing, expressing, and exposing here and anywhere. give all your feelings the release they need. it will be cathartic for you through this journey of life and death. but don't forget to live and enjoy all you can, too!

Tara Tainton said...

Write from the heart and with honesty, and you'll have a following that won't ever leave your side and know your words are always being heard. It's what makes us human that we all love to connect to each other with, what we love to read, and what we NEED to write.

Getting the thoughts out is also therapeutic, even if you just wanna mention that Charles is on your mind, but there's nothing to report or nothing you want to write about. Just let it all out.

And thank you for choosing to share with the rest of the world. :)