On the Day my Lung Collapses

‘Song for Dennis Brown’ by the Mountain Goats

Life is enough you know, enough for me. And at the end of it, although there is still much to do, and like Monet on his deathbed I will mourn the end of the ability to improve or understand the world better, I will look back and be content.

If I were to die this very moment, I would be glad. Not because I want to die, but because I can think of all of the things I have, and have had, and all the experiences that I have drank deep. I would rather die with hope than hopelessness.

My uncle is currently dying rapidly from multiple cancerous tumors. They say he has two days. Not long before this, a much respected professor of  mine died. I have only one thing to respond with when I hear about my uncle, bedridden, in pain, repeated over and over how sudden it is, how painful. That’s how it is. Haven’t you seen it before? My uncle worked hard all his life, around asbestos brake pads, and smoked for 32 years, he likes to fish and garden, and used to send me Republican Party chain e-mails. He has children, grandchildren, all good and grown. He is a good man, and I have many pleasant memories of him. He deserves better than a bed to waste in, but death isn’t so often just when it doles out the script. All I have to say is, on the day my habits catch up with me, I’ll be out among the jumpers.

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