Laughing at death

The dinner party last night was relaxed and entertaining. Surrounded by estrogen we each had our turn to entertain each other and make jokes the others would catch in their memory net.

With covid cases rising around the US, it was stated that we were using our fingers to add the condiments from communal bowls. I shut down my aching body and dove in under pressure not to offend.. as if there was nothing to fear from the passing of communal germs. Sweat glistening on the faces around the table and in the baby pen. (What was I doing? Is this a sign of giving up hope of ever getting better. I can’t afford to get sick again.) But there I was, kissing the sweaty baby, and jumping into the peatree dish.

If I’m to be social, I have to figure out a way to protect myself and be among others. Others who look the body fighting illness as an anomaly for the weak, or the other, not everyone.

Pull the plug, drug me to death, these are my limits to what I can live without. The joking began. Laughing not at death, but declaring a surrendering revolt. The only thing I could do without is a leg, one said. I only could face physical adversity if on the outside – I looked like a warrior – was the jyst. The look of helplessness was blinding them to the fact the warrior lives even in the comatose.

You my love were a valiant warrior in your striving to overcome. The day to day drudgery of it all was tolerated by the moments of recognition of the “moments” of the precious. Getting out of bed. Getting into a wheelchair. Sitting at the window of your hospital room – starring at the blue/gray sky. The deep breathes taken with the warmth of a wash cloth against the mask of your face. We both were…

I stopped the laughter at the table as they all continued talking as if they knew about death, how it feels, how they would cheat fates of their debilitating wounds. More and more ridiculous, they laid waste to my/our history. There were no tears, no admonishment – but a recognition in my voice that I have experienced what you are laughing and taking so lightly – time to stop being ridiculous. “I think it’s time to stop. Enough” I said quietly and with a have grin/grimmace. They knew and recognized that there were treading on graves, and set to work clearing the table…you grave, mine.

We closed the evening with more sweaty hugs – and I walked away grateful in the body/mind knowledge of the preciousness individual moments with each breath, if taken in, acknowledge the artistry of living a full life and the pain that forges together with insights and a lovely palette of a summers sun.