My father is getting ready to turn 90 here real soon. He has had it rough lately. My mother passed a few months ago, God rest her soul. She and my father were married for 67 years. Think about that shit. I couldn't make it 5 years with my first marriage. It was something like that, maybe 4 or 6, but it wasn't long. 67 years is crazy and almost unheard of. My mom and dad used to sit in the living room at night, my dad in his recliner, and my mom on the couch, about 5 feet away from him. He'd be watching sports or Seinfeld and my mom would be reading. She loved to read. And they'd talk occasionally, maybe about the Nationals pitching staff or lack thereof, or Wimbledon. But mostly, they just were there for each other. Now, I think about my dad at night, in the living room, looking over to the couch to tell my mom something and she isn't there. How does that feel for him? Lonely, I believe. Very lonely. And the days and nights go on and what you were used to, your soulmate, your only true love of your life, is gone.
My dad has had some loss, in his life. When one reaches 90, there is barely anyone else around your age. My sister passed away years back. Now, he has me and his grandkids. He lives and dies with his grandkids. They are keeping him alive. He hangs on every word when I tell him about my 11-year-olds baseball games. There is an app called Game Changer that gives you live updates of games and he watches the iPad screen intensely, looking for the name Steel to come up to bat.
All of this makes me think of my own mortality, and how life is a mystery and one day you are healthy and vibrant and kicking ass and then you either get a disease or you get old and then you think, what the hell have I done? Nothing much to leave anybody with. Maybe that is not the answer, anyway, I don't know. Maybe the answer is to just go day to day, bring happiness to others, and have a group of like-minded folks who love you and are loyal to you.
I read a bunch. Sometimes I read philosophy, but mostly, I read about Mountain Men and Native Americans and how they lived. There is plenty of life lessons to be learned from both of those groups of people. I read old diaries from the Mountain Men, and that bypasses the false narratives that are out there today. As dangerous as their way of life was, both groups rebelled against society and living within the confines of a city or hell, civilization. The chance of death was always right around the corner, but they wouldn't trade their lives for anything. Maybe that is the way, to put your faith in nature and the loyalty and friendship of your small tribe. Can one even do that anymore? Maybe only in your head. Being free in your head seems like a good way to live.
I sometimes think about the final moments of life and the regrets and the things that I should have done. I think about my friends, I think about my family. I think of the evil in this world and how it always seems to go unpunished. Not fair, not fair! And then I shake myself and tell myself, go, go and do something, stop wasting your fucking time, and go. Because inaction is nothing. Sitting around and wondering is nothing, sitting too much makes you crazy. Run away from death, far away.
And maybe when, one day, it catches up with you, you will welcome it with open arms, because you have lived a life well lived and you understand it all and you know that you did the best that you could, always tried as hard as you could, and lived hard and loved hard and you are spent, all used up, with no regrets. I think my mom felt like that, she was ready. I tried to keep her alive with medicine, but she was all used up and she was ready to go. She wasn't scared at all. She was at peace. I saw that, and I was in awe. In awe of her, with death catching up to her, but because she had such a good life, she had no regrets. I think that's the way to go, the right way, and the only way to go.