Point of View: Whoosh

“But you’re always talking about dying.”

They’re always saying everybody dies peacefully or comfortably surrounded by their families. But I don’t believe it. Why? Because if you’re surrounded by your family, there’s precious little air left to breathe.

Mary laughed just now in looking over my shoulder, and then added, “But you’re always talking about dying.”

“But dying is a big part of life,” I said. 

I liked the way our cat did it. He just went off by himself, and when, finally, he dragged himself to our back lawn he had no strength to resist when Mary gathered him up in her arms and gently placed him on our bed. 

We tried not to surround him — we tried to give him room so that he could instruct us, which he did. He reached forth, let it go, leaped into the vastness — as we will someday, I hope, without picking at the coverlet. I’d prefer death to be what happens to me when I’m making other plans. I’ve always liked the way they used to say “death overtook him. . . .” (Actually, in my case it wouldn’t be a great feat.)

But back to life and liveliness and to making plans, which we still do, though we agree we have no goals other than to continue loving, laughing, and, in my case, lifting quotes so this column can continue to move forward, as they also say, and frequently, these days, primarily by people who’ve been caught with their pants down, which makes it difficult to move forward until they’re cinched up.

We were asked specifically what our goals were the other night, in connection with estate planning, and, as I say, other than to continue living, working, and toasting one an other as the sun sets on having made it through yet another day free from sobriety’s icy grip, we couldn’t think of any.

Just keep on sailing, the old lover says to the ferryman — or words to that effect — in “Love in the Time of Cholera.” Just keep on sailing. Mary’s actually flying as I write — on a mission of mercy (as are most of her missions) to Southern California. She is needed there, an accident having happened when our daughter and son-in-law weren’t expecting that they’d have to make other plans. 

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could beam you here?” she said the night before she left to one of our grandsons in Ohio. “Whoosh!”

He agreed that she was being a bit silly, but I like it when she is, when she is lighthearted. 

So she is being beamed to California. Well, not exactly. I think she has to stop in Salt Lake City first, and on the way back, 11 days hence, there are to be two stops — off-putting for one who prefers directness in her dealings. “Whoosh, whoosh.” She’s here, she’s there. . . .

We parted at Mary’s Marvelous (where else?) this morning, she with an avocado sandwich in hand and I with a cup of coffee. A kiss and she was gone, on her way. 

Later, while waiting at the gate, she apologized for the abruptness, but I told her it was just as well, that I was spared the tearing up. 

“I went and drowned my sorrows in tennis balls,” I said, which drew a laugh. 

Later, while walking O’en along Main Street, I saw a silver Prius turning into the parking lot and, for a moment, thought that it might be her. No such luck. That’s life. Death too.