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Sunday, October 11, 2009


It's been a weekend to forget and a week to forget. I've surely rated a boy scout merit badge by now for doing things I never imagined I'd ever do, and certainly never wanted to. Objectionable? Yes. Problem? None. In the last two days Jr mentioned he's done for, he's not coming back, he's dying. He took my hand yesterday and today and told me I'm the best friend he ever had. With him, everything is the worst ever or the best ever, a manner of speaking, like, I aint never felt this bad. When yesterday he felt worse. I translate it among his best friends. He has had several friends along the way, good friends I wouldn't dare say I'm better than any of them when it comes to being a friend. I'm happy that I'm one of the people who is Jr Maxwell's friend. That's good enough for me.

Driving up the mountain awhile ago the image came to mind's eye again of the monk and the old abbot in the monastery of 2. In the East an older man goes to a monastery in his old age, the contemplative time of a man's life. God sent this monk to an old monk having a difficult time, unable to make it on his own, a man too loved by God to allow him to die of despair on a shelf in a lumberyard, numbered with files in the computers, known by the list of his prescriptions.

I believe how we die is very important in the journey of our soul embodied on this earth. What I'm doing to make it possible for Jr to grow into senility and die at home in his own bed, is important to me. I simply believe Jr Maxwell, the man, deserves that. God put us together for my good as much as Jr's, for the experience of knowing Jr Maxwell, a most extraordinary individual rooted in the present moment.

We serve each other, the abbot and the monk. The monks role is to serve the abbot. The abbot's role is to awaken the monk. Day by day I receive my awakening. Taking off his nasty diapers, dropping them into a plastic grocery store bag, tie the handles, drop it in the trash and that's it. Then the new diapers. I never believed I wanted to know Jr this well, but here it is, and that's it. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

I've been reminded several times this weekend in my mind of asking a few days ago, How much more can I take? and the answer came, A whole lot more. I knew that was right. This that I'm doing is next to nothing compared to what it could be. So many have done so much more. Jr is a valuable human being on this earth and I'm honored to be the monk assigned to him. Talking yesterday with Jerry Edwards, who took care of his wife who faded away of cancer, he was thanking me as Jr's friend who has known Jr since the day he was born, for helping him out. I heard myself say to Jerry, When I was younger, I believed making the world a better place could only be done politically, but I learned it's person to person.

The women of Hospice are making the world a better place every day. I can't do anything about somebody else, but I can do my part, and my part is in my world, so it makes my world better to assist Jr Maxwell in perhaps the most difficult time of his hard life. It keeps me satisfied knowing Jr is being taken care of right. The only way I can know for sure is to do it myself. By now, our bond is so close I couldn't entertain the thought for two seconds of turning him over to any facility. He lived his life too close to the bone, close to home, his life is his home, and I can't allow Jr to be shelved in a facility for the old and useless. Old and gray and in the way. I keep him reminded every day he is not in the way.

I know it will hurt all the worse when he goes on, the closer I get to him, but I'm not afraid. By then I may be so happy for him to escape his body in perpetual pain I might be jumping about and singing like William Blake of New Jerusalem, jubilant his soul finally let go of that body. Jr loves his life in this body. He was beat down several times by bolts out of the blue and almost didn't make it. The last one about put him in the grave, but didn't quite. Then he lived too long and saw the buzzards circling, saw their faces, suffered disappointments, got over it, found who his real friends are and is satisfied he has good friends. All the furors and dramas of pretend toward Jr hoping to get in the will were so obvious and so redneck you'd think Larry the Cable Guy wrote the script.

I encourage all his friends, by friend I mean everyone who knows Jr, to come by and see him. It makes them feel bad, but it makes him feel so good I can't explain to them what it means to him. Bill and Sonya came by today and we were talking about he may not remember tomorrow they were here today, but it wasn't for tomorrow. It was for today. He felt good that they came to see him, was happy to see them, blurry as his vision is. They were happy that it was for just now. That's what it's about. Jr has always lived in the present. It's just that now the present is narrowed down quite a lot more, like to the Southern minute.

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