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Sunday, March 23, 2014

A FOOL IN THIS WORLD

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It's been a lazy day, a couple of naps, no reading, nothing. I fed the donkeys, the birds, the cat and that was it. Anything remotely productive I don't want to do today. I allow myself such days, calling them days of rest. I believe in a day of rest as simply good sense. It's not like I do a whole lot, but mind runs all the time. On a day like today, even mind is at rest. I go around feeling blank like the home movie theater is closed for the day. It has only been in the last few years I've  been able to have time without mind front and center. I like that place of no-thought. I'm recalling when Jr Maxwell was in the time after his mind shut down. One night in his wheelchair rolling about the house, he said, "I need to go to the doctor!" emphatically. I asked why, "My mind isn't working. Something is wrong with my mind." This showed me for certain we are of two minds. His mind that did the active thinking shut down, but the mind that did the observing continued. In the time his mind was slipping away, I could still communicate with him. Allowed to flow of its own, he could carry on conversation, that is do the talking. When somebody else talked, he couldn't follow it. Asked a question, his mind fell down a dark hole he couldn't find his way out of. When somebody dropped by to see him, I advised them not to ask him any questions. First thing everybody did was ask him a question and shut him down. Once asked a question, there was no getting back with him for a while. He went out like snuffing a candle. I couldn't really talk to him, but I could listen when he talked. He was in dream mind, lived in dream reality. I thought that's a good place to be and I allowed it by not saying, "You really didn't fall through a hole in the roof." I'd say something like the roof is ok now and it settled his concern. He thought his car was still on the roof, when he stepped out of it he fell through a hole and landed in his bedroom. I assured him the car is now in its parking place, no longer on the roof. That was the end of it.
 
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He had a niece who, fortunately, did not drop by very often. "Uncle Junior! Yer losin yer mind!" I'd say, "He knows that very well." She'd cook a big meal, pile mounds of food on a plate and put it on the table in front of him. "Ya gotta eat, Uncle Junior!" He couldn't eat that much. He said he couldn't eat it. She lectured him on the body's need for nutrition. He tried to please her. In a little bit, he was running to the bathroom to throw up. He'd hang over the toilet and heave in agony a long time. Then he was ruined for the rest of the day. Had to go to bed because he was ill. I allowed him his flow and went with it. When she came in the house, she shattered his flow every time, and mine. I had to come home a couple hours in the middle of the night while he was sleeping to take care of my own home life. She said, "I wish you wouldn't go off and leave Uncle Junior alone every day." I asked if she was offering to drop by a couple hours a day to sit with him while I'm out, "I don't like leaving him alone, either." No, she wasn't offering. End of subject. At his funeral, she said to me, "I know what you been through. I know how difficult Uncle Junior is to do anything for." I told her he was not the least bit difficult, "If he had been difficult, I could not have done it." She was the one difficult. First thing she said to me after he died, "Where'd Uncle Junior hide his money?" I haven't seen her since, and every time she comes to mind, I rejoice. I knew Jr awfully well, knew the story of his whole life, knew him well enough to find the wisdom I suspected in him was indeed there. He was a wise man. He never let it show, but he lived by it, understood by it. He called himself a fool, said his life is the life of a fool. He was right. I was also right. I think of him the wise fool. Later, I came to realize a wise man could only be a fool in this world.
 
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Now, five years after his death date, my fondest memories are from the time his mind was gone. It makes me smile to remember him rolling the wheelchair around the house, getting stuck in doorways. The adventures in that time were unpredictable, except that they would happen. Many of them were funny, like the time he went into the bathroom and never came out. Eventually, I went to look. He had sat on the toilet with the seat up and was down inside the bowl, stuck. I was unable to pull him out. I called the hospice office, a nurse was there in five minutes. She eased him up out of there, cleaning him as she went while I looked on in awe that she had raised him up out of there without any effort, and when he was out he was clean. I felt I had a front row seat to the show that is the human mind. It helped me a great deal realizing he had fallen into dream reality. I could deal with that, because I suspect dreams are the closest we are able to come to "reality." In hindsight, the only thing I can think of that I'd do differently, I'd hold his hand more. At the time, I did not realize the immense importance of that small act. In the time his mind was fading, he was self-conscious about it and did not like to be seen so vacant. I learned to cover for him. When somebody was visiting and he was talking, he'd go blank mid sentence, I'd toss him a key word the moment I saw he'd drawn a blank, and it brought him back every time. It became so automatic nobody could even see what we were doing. Toward the end I felt a great deal of stress, down to soaking a popsicle sponge in water to get water to him and to keep his mouth wet. No matter how much sorrow I was feeling, a joy accompanied the sorrow until they became one, like a two-sided coin flipping in the air, a blur.
 
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Looking back at the time in the past and other friends in the past, I see the time of looking after Jr the very best time of my life. No close second. I did not realize it at the time. I took care of him as I would the Master, as though he were the Master himself. In that light, it became devotion. The nurses at hospice would tell me from time to time what a good job I'm doing with him, and I never said it, but would think, I'm serving my Master. This is the opportunity of my lifetime. That was how I felt about it, how I thought about it, how I believed it. And it was indeed the opportunity of my lifetime. I came home to my own momentum at home in stasis. I thought I'd relax and let things fall into place as they will. I found an inner peace afterward that I never had before. It continues. I find my mind can fall blank and I enjoy the peace. Observer mind continues. My memories of Jr in that time when his mind was going and gone have a golden glow about them. I believe he was a gift to me as much as I was a gift to him. The time he said, I wish I could pay you for what you've done for me, I could only think, money would ruin it. I had what I wanted. He wanted to die at home in his own bed and I wanted that for him. He was too honorable a man in my way of seeing to end his life treated like lumber with nothing but a television. I did not want anybody messing with him who did not understand him. He was not of media mind in any way. Not many people in this time can understand somebody who is not of media mind. It's a different world. I was about to say I prefer it, but that's not so. I appreciate media mind to some degree too. Both in moderation. The  troubles I was going through then are as nothing now. Important now is that I earned his trust unto the very most vulnerable last breath. I never call what I did selfless. Looking at how deeply I've benefitted from the experience, I call it self-centered.    
 
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2 comments:

  1. What a caring and wonderful friend Junior had with you Tj...That we all could be so blest..And you are so right in saying you're the one who benefited in caring for Junior...though what Junior gave you is priceless and can not come from anyone else or anyplace else.

    I enjoyed reading about your mindless day...glad it is not just me who has them and you are right ...they are necessary for us to survive this cluttered world we live in. There are days when all I want is to just 'be'. It is like getting a battery recharge. Thank you so very much for sharing this insight into your world..I have come to learn a few things about myself from reading your blogs...Finally I am able to accept myself for what I am and not what I am suppose to be...

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  2. TJ - Thank you for this beautiful blog and sharing Jr with us. I loved it all but especially the reminder to hold onto each other's hands more. (((hugs)))

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