My uncle is dying, my mother tells me. He's lived with cancer for 15 years. First the prostate, then the bones. Now the bones are so riddled with disease and weak they can barely support his now very slight weight. 85 years old and this is how he goes. He was such a robust man, a pilot in WWII. A career military man till they screwed him out of colonel. Married three times -- the first to a beautiful girl who died in a tragic car accident. He was the driver, but didn't cause it. Then he married another beautiful woman, on the outside. A complete and utter bitch who made his life hell. He escaped that prison and married his third wife. Not a looker at all, but so kind and fun to be with. She would do anything for him and he for her. He built her a pipe organ. It must be killing her to not be able to take care of him. He's had to go to a nursing home because she can't look after him.
He would send me loads of emails, mostly jokes. In the beginning really rude, but as the cancer took hold, gentler humor. And lots of pro-Bush ones, but he would be, wouldn't he. Being ex-military and all.
Sometimes he would shyly and quietly ask how my dad was. He couldn't be seen by his sisters to care for the turncoat after my parents' acrimonious divorce. But my dad and he had always liked and respected each other.
My mother's very upset, as you might expect. I don't know if she has many people to talk to about it. Not her husband, who isn't really in this world anymore. Her sister maybe, though she is both her best friend and worst enemy. I don't know how to comfort her from this distance.
I tossed and turned in bed last night. Hubby left at 2:30 a.m. to drive back to London. All my night demons came to visit -- would he arrive safely? what about my mother and uncle? how will my son do on his SATs? And what about the friend who has drifted over the past six months and who I feel has used me. After two hours of this I got up and took half a 5mg valium. I don't like to do that, but I felt I would never get back to sleep otherwise. I went to sleep and dreamt about my erstwhile friend. Apparently, in my dream, I'd written something very uncomplimentary about her and her family, which I then gave her to read. Understandably, she was very upset with me. I described one of her daughters as being schizophrenic. Why would I dream that? I don't have bad feelings about her daughters, only about her.
While I was lying awake in the darkness, I also wondered about how I'll cope when its my mother's turn to go. Although both my parents are elderly, they are still in pretty good shape for their age (82 this year) and compared to the parents of my friends. One friend's mother has Alzheimer's. One died in December, another died a few years ago. One has vertigo really bad. How will it be when it's my parents' turn?