A Farewell to Penthea

Generally, things are good these days, not perfect, but I am learning to create a life. There’s a way to go yet, it is early days. Living in this place, alone, makes me understand myself better. Feelings come and go, they pass like the waters of a slow-flowing river, steady and continuous.

I have the excuse that there is some kind of national panic going on, so I don’t have to hurry. I’m not sure what the fuss is about, there has been something on the telly, but I don’t watch so it’s all a bit hazy. Of course, that might be my age.

My mum is 81 years old, and she is apparently fed up with staying in the house. In a fit of defiance she went to the shops the other day, she still has the kind of power that would make you concerned for any police that tried to get in her way. I remember when she used to send me to the shops when I was very little, 20 Piccadilly Tipped and a box of Swan matches was the usual. Legality was more of a grey area then, it really was a different time.

Now she has some kind of COPD from smoking for sixty years, but she is defiant in the face of some mythical bug. Once the confusion was cleared up, and she understood that the ‘no hugging’ rule was to protect her from me and not the other way round, she was relieved and hugged me for a long time. She would rather have loving hugs from her son now, than risk living any time without.

Which is really sweet.

And really brave, which is the kind of person she is. When she had a stent fitted; against her will I should say, she was under a general anaesthetic at the time otherwise they never would have got away with it, she told the young Indian doctor at the hospital that she would not take the battery of medication they prescribed her. He was perplexed, but why? he asked. She explained that if she took those drugs, they would mess with her body so badly that she wouldn’t be able to feel what it was telling her. He left her bedside confused. She threw the drugs in the bin, that was ten years ago. She said that all she wanted them to do, following her ‘little heart-attack’ was clear the minor blockage so she could get on with her life, she didn’t want a bit of metal left in there.

I hope when the time comes I will be brave enough to refuse intervention and die as nature intends.

There is a widespread fear of death in our society. My personal feeling is that ones life is best spent coming to terms with death, because it is an inevitable thing. In one period of my working life I was spending a lot of time in nursing homes for the elderly, and the not-so-elderly. If there truly is a merciful God, I pray that he/she/it lets me die in peace before I end up in one of those places, rocking back and forth screaming to be released from torment, as my mind turns on me. And for no more reason than it is nice for the kids to see dad once a month/year, and to spare them from the heartache of facing their own mortality in the mirror of my death.

I have been preparing my kids for this inevitability. They are comfortable with the concept that we are all going to die because we have discussed it at length. They have never believed in any mythical beings such as santa, tooth fairies, etc. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think that their lives would be enhanced by entertaining such rubbish for even one second. This is a personal choice on my part and they are my children, so they get my version of the world. There is plenty of magic in my version of the world. I teach them that they will have whatever they create in their lives, and they will have total responsibility for that. Now, I call that a fair trade for the good/bad santa story.

Today, I do not fear death. I meditate daily and I declare my intentions as deliberately as I can. With practise, I am getting better at this. My truth is that everything is working perfectly in the universe.

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