Tuesday, May 10, 2005

a tribute to two men in my life...

no matter what anybody says, death doesn't sneak up on us. it's the one guarantee existing in life as soon as we enter the world. the one thing we know will come to complete the circle of our existence here. we don't know when or where, only that it will come.

so when i found out my great-uncle morris had died, i wasn't surprised, only saddened that i didn't get to know him better. he was my mom's favorite uncle and the last living sibling of my grandmother. he suffered from a long illness that prevented him from experiencing his life to the fullest at the end of it. my mom took it pretty hard, as did my grandmother. i absolutely hate seeing them in pain, even if it's part of the mourning process. i wish i could stop the tears before they even form and clench my fist around the pain before it even starts.

my uncle homey is dying from cancer. it started off in the lungs and has spread to his liver and other vital organs. he's been doing chemotherapy in hopes that it will get rid of the cancer, but the doctor said the chemo will only prolong his life for another year or two. as i watch him try to fight against the dying of the light, i wonder if this is the kind of fight dylan thomas meant when he implored his father to not go gentle into that good night.

the chemo is making him extremely sick and weak. by the time the effects of the chemo wear off, he's gotta go back for another chemo session. i have found it difficult to sit by silently while he continues battles against the wrong foe. the battle against death cannot be won. he lashes out weakly against an undefeated opponent, hoping that through his efforts, death will stand back and let him live. however, the drugs waging war within his body are killing the quality of his life. i wish with every cell of my being that he could recognize who the true foe is.

his life as it is right now is being stained by fear of dying. he has allowed the fear of leaving this world to invade and conquer his soul daily. whenever he goes to chemo, he is prolonging a life not worth living in that state. he can no longer engage with the people he loves and who love him. all he can do is lay in bed and pray for the nausea to subside long enough for him to go to the bathroom. whenver i call him, he's too sick to speak to me.

damn, he's already dead.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

the light isn't life. it's the spirit. the dying of the light isn't the death of the body. it's the death of the spirit to live life on your terms.

don't go out like that, uncle homey. you aren't giving up when you stop the chemo. you are making sure old age will burn and rave at close of day.