His Name Was Nelson Levine . . . A Time To Reflect & A Reason To Take Inventory.
On Sunday, Anne and I will be going to a Funeral, to help Bury a Cousin, who after a short Battle with Cancer, who was somewhat younger than me, in his mid 60’s, he Succumbed to a very Aggressive Disease.
It’s always TOUGH to Bury someone who you care about, such as a Good Friend, but perhaps, it’s even Tougher to Bury someone who is a Direct Part of your Bloodline, who has shared so much of the Same Family History.
ANNE AND I SAW NELSON . . . a few days before he died. I stood for several Minutes in the Palliative Care Room of the Montreal Mount Sinai Hospital, where Nelson was Surrounded by Family and Friends, all knowing that his Demise was Imminent.
I held his hand for a short while, not knowing if he was aware of my presence or not, since he was quite Drugged-Up, very Weakened, and a Physical Shadow of his Former Self, and saw a Tiny Tear Drop Form in the Corner of his Eye.
I have no idea if the Tear Drop was from Recognition, the Drugs, or the Disease . . . But what I do know, is that it made me THINK once again about my own Mortality, and who I am in this World, and what would happen to Anne and our Animal Family, IF I WAS TO GO BEFORE HER.
It also made me think about the things that I do, and the LIFE-STYLE Anne and I have chosen, with which to live-out perhaps this Second–To-Last Portion of our Lives. Partially here in Canada, and Partially in Texas, a State we’ve Grown to Love.
AND IT MADE ME THINK ABOUT WHAT I WRITE & ADVOCATE . . . since Life is so EPHEMERAL, that we can NEVER really know what Tomorrow will Bring.
IT TORE MY HEART OUT . . . When I had to Bury my Parents, seven years apart, since I was fortunate to have Parents who were as Dedicated to their Children, as any Two People Could Have Ever Been. My Parents were really Decent Folk, who Raised their Family Right, through all Manner of Trials & Tribulations.
But I Was Also Plenty Distraught . . . Over the Years at the Passing of some of my Close Friends, and People I hardly knew, but knew well enough, because of their Incredible Contributions to their Fellow Mankind in Terms of Treasure, Personality, Thought & Quiet Generosity.
AND THEN . . . I thought about my own Life-History – Facing Cancer some 20-Years Ago, and then a Stroke almost 4-Years Ago . . . from both of which I have fully Recovered.
And I Wondered . . . Because Life is so Short, Ephemeral, and Unknown from Day to Day; am I really living my Life, to the Best Degree That I can?
Would It Be Better . . . if I Sat Back for once in my Life, and simply Watched the Parade go by, INSTEAD of Being in the Parade, and from Time to Time Leading It?
I HAVE BEEN PSYCHOLOGICALLY BEATEN UP SO MANY TIMES . . . I FEEL LIKE A PIÑATA:
But It Was NEVER Just About Me . . . For more than 44-Years – Whatever I’ve been Through, Anne Has Been Through With Me, both Good & Bad, sometimes VERY GOOD . . . And Sometimes REALLY BAD.
AND NEVER DID ANNE COMPLAIN:
SO AT TIMES LIKE THIS . . . when you’re Facing the End of Someone’s Life Journey, who is about your own Age, who as far as we know, will never have to Face Good Times & Bad Times Again – IT REALLY MAKES YOU THINK.
SO I SPOKE ABOUT IT WITH ANNE – AT LENGTH . . . Because I worried, as I am wont to do, that perhaps the Life I gave Anne was Too Much of a Roller Coaster, and not enough of a Smooth Ride – to which she basically said, as she always did, since this isn’t the First Time I Broached this Subject:
“If I Didn’t Like What You Do, And Love You For It, I would Have Left Long Ago”.
WE HAVE READ & HEARD THE DEFINITION OF WHAT MAKES A LIFE WORTH-LIVING:
I Wish I Knew . . . Because As Far As I Can See – There’s No Real Answer.
Does Raising a Strong & Decent Family Make A Life Worth-Living?
Or How About . . . Providing Healthcare, Social Services, or the Teaching of Values, Reading, Writing & ‘Rithmetic?
Does Exploring the Outer Universe and/or the Inner Universe Make A Life Worth-Living? Or being a Scientist, Shaking the Knowledge of the World to its Core?
Or Does Just Being Alive Make A Life Worth-Living?
OR DOES BEING THE RICHEST PERSON WITH ALL THE GOODIES . . . Make A Life Worth Living? Or being at the Top of the Political Heap Make A Life Worth Living Even More?
WE’VE ALWAYS LIVED LIFE WELL . . . BETWEEN THE BUMPS IN THE ROAD:
OR IN MY CASE . . . Worrying – Because, besides giving my UNDYING LOVE & RESPECT TO ANNE, and some of the Finer Things in Life, but not the Riches I could have Given Her, and Perhaps Should have Given Her if I focused my Attention on Creating Wealth, Opposed to Socio/Political Activism . . . I could have Given Anne a Much Easier Life, which she so Richly Deserved.
So Does That Make My Life Somewhat Less Worth-Living?
BUT THEN AGAIN . . . As Anne Points out to me – If I chose a Different Path, who would have Done the things that I have Done, and would be Doing the things I still Do?
SO WHEN I THINK BACK – To the Life Anne and I HAVE LED TOGETHER . . . & CONTINUE TO LEAD, we have done so much, and have Touched so many People, that all the Bruises Along The Way, were nothing More than the result of Travelling Down a BUMPY ROAD, which to some degree everyone of us has to Travel, while some prefer to take the Well Paved AutoRoute, with only the Occasional Bumps and Cracks, while Others of us, Intentionally Or Not, Choose the BACK ROADS . . . FOR THE RIDE OF OUR LIFE.
One Can NEVER Be Totally Satisfied With The Journey Of Our Life . . . Because there’s always so much more to do, and NEVER enough Time to get it all Done.
I HAVE FOUND MY PLACE IN LIFE . . . Blessed With A Partner & Best Friend, Who Has Already Proven That She Will Stick With Me Through Thick & Thin, As I Will With Her Until My Dying Day.
I AM ALSO BLESSED TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE . . . with which to some Extent, I can Give SUCCOR to those in Need, CONFIDENCE to Those who are Doubtful, & HOPE to those who are Feeling Subjugated.
AFTER SEEING & TOUCHING MY COUSIN FOR THE LAST TIME . . . And once Again Taking an Emotional Inventory of Who and What I Am . . . And Knowing that I have the Full Approbation of my BEST FRIEND & LIFE PARTNER, Until Death Do Us Part, I’m Feeling Pretty Good About The Value Of The Life I’ve Thus Far Lived.
I AM NOT A RELIGIOUS MAN . . . So I don’t Presume to Know Where My Cousin Is & Whether Or Not his Soul Has Come To Rest. But What I Do Know . . . Is that through his Family and Friends, his Memory will Not Be Forgotten.
In Nelson’s Last Act – where I am personally Concerned, he gave me the Gift & Impetus of Reflection, to Rethink Who I Am, What I’ve Done, & Whether My Life Has Been Worth-Living . . . Nelson – Rest In Peace.