Commission Music

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Wednesday, 25 September 2002

it is time for me to go sit with my dying mother. i didn't go yesturday. there was no good reason. i used to do six days a week and take mondays off, but my wife complained that she went to work five days a week and had to sit with my mom the other two, and she wanted a break. so now i take sundays off, which is fine except now i have no time for myself at all. i have mornings. but i'm not a morning person and i certainly can't immerse myself in a project the way i'd like to. i'm definitely an afternoon person. it's not like "having a life" is important to me the way it is for some teenagers who want to have a life because their parents don't. Well, my mom has a life but just barely. the expiration date is on the horizon. every day i don't see her is a day that i don't see her.

one of her friends called up and told my mom's attendant that they all already thought of her as dead because she's doing so poorly. obviously, she's not yet dead. but goodness, i have a hard time being there too. how can i be angry at them neglecting her death bed wehn i use the same rationalizations? when i saw her on monday, she was surprised everytime i spoke because she would forget i was there or something, even tho i was right next to her and she was looking at me. or maybe my voice was frightening, since the temporal lobe deals with fear and her temporal lobe is full of tumor. it's easy to decide she must have forgotten i was there and therefore doesn't benefit from my visits and anyway i have music to write.

she's on oxygen because she breathes laboriously while sleeping and thus her sleep isn't restful. it's not prolonging her life. i haven't posted it yet to her blog because i don't know how to explain it in a way that won't frighten away all her friends. oxygen is a harbringer of death. it doesn't matter. they're all frightened away anyway.

Everyone you know is going to die, including yourself. you may be next, you may not. Some of these people will go suddenly, others will be sick like my mom. this is a good place to exercize the golden rule. You can say to yourself, "oh, i wouldn't want people to see me like that." how very vain of you to say so, but many do. yes, i'm sure you'd rather end your life surrounded by strangers and machines. or would you rather have someone you cared about holding your hand? i thought so.

Somebody on a mailing list i'm on just died of cancer. We were informed. folks were emailing out emssages to him that were passed along. People were saying things like, "don't die. you have a lot of music to write." i understand where that comes from, but he's going to die. piling on unfinished buisiness seems to be the wrong thing to do. so my mom's friends at the museum are thinking, "don't die, you have a lot of docent tours left to do." and when they figure out that she has zero docent tours left, well, maybe she's already dead. This isn't what life is about. and as an extenstion it certainly isn't what death is about. Yes, we all fear it and try to avoid it. Or at least, we ought to try to avoid it. but it's going to happen. which is a better thing to say to a dying person, "don't die! (it's scary!)" or "i'll miss you."? you know the answer to this. Now go see your sick friends while you still can. It's hard to talk to somebody with oxygen tubes, but it's harder to talk to a headstone.

Those are strong words, aren't they? But I still haven't left yet. Everytime I skip a day she's worse. She's worse anyway, but then she's 48 hours worse instead of 24 hours worse. There's a noticable difference. It's scary going to see her and knowing she'll be worse.

People have this idea about death, where dead people get to keep their memories. My mom's memory is clearly the result of some sort of tissue thing. Now it's gone. even if she spontaneously went into remission tommorrow, her memories wouldn't come back. And yet they're suppossed to be restored after all her tissue is destroyed. Furthermore, some folks expect her to gain additonal knowledge. Dead folks know what happened to Hoffa maybe? No. they're dead. People are the result of biological processes. when those processes cease, there's no more person. nobody will know after death why you're sorry you didn't come see them. They won't finally approve you. they won't do anything because they will be dead.

No wonder atheists are are sad at funerals.

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