I’m to a meeting at the nursing home. Care plans and insurance problems and the fact I smuggle Ma whiskey… why not? Seriously why the fuck not? The nurse agrees. Ma hasn’t started any fights. She was always the happy drunk, the fun drunk. She took a real, pure joy from her drink. Something that always made me a little envious.
I was the mean drunk, the one begging for a fight, I’d fight with anyone. If I found no takers I’d storm out and find another bar. I was the one who, when someone looked up and saw me come through the door would say, “Not this asshole again…”
Pretty funny scene, me, the consummate drunk, the drunks drunk, smuggling his 90 year old crazy mother booze. Again, why not? What exactly are we preserving here? That’s the answer no one can give me.
This place is staffed with wonderful people and I mean that with all sincerity; If there is a God and if there is a heaven the people who work in these places must certainly be from there. How they walk through those doors every day—with a smile—I’ll never comprehend.
But, I don’t care how nice the facility, how kind and pretty the nurses and aides are, how upbeat and positive the pictures of kittens and sunsets on the wall, this place take me dark.
Preachers show up with books and pamphlets about salvation. I think it scares Ma. There is quite enough death here without trying to shine it up and sell it.
Many here wait for death. It’s a vigil, not a life. Let her forget that reaper at the door for the day. I’ve asked the preachers to leave the her alone. They seem to have a compulsion to sell their story. Ma has always been a person of faith, not religion. These preaching suits with combed hair and cuff-links confound her and scare her.
I walk down hallways and empty shells with hollow eyes are grabbing out with a skinny, almost opaque fingers, begging me to take them with me.
Hands reaching up from a grave.
Pills and pills and pills, designed and delivered to keep this personal Hell going for another day.
My cousin and I have a pact. The last man standing will bring the other a different pill. Lay it down on the over-the-bed table, by the half eaten Jello containers, and the straws, and spilled water, and TV remotes—so mysterious with all the buttons and numbers. The numbers that used to mean something, but are now just one more thing to confound. Newspapers filled with words that no longer connect to an image in the brain.
Lay the pill on the table, shake hands, and hug and leave. That’s the Lobb cousin’s End of Life Plan.
I’ll not lay there pissing in a diaper. I’ll not lay there quietly. Restrain me, label me a danger to myself and others. I will kick you, and the world, in the balls if you approach me. Tie my hands and legs and load me up with Thorazine, my days of pretending to be sober long since past, and let me wait for Bobby and the pill.