The Prospect of Self-governance

It is a hopeless venture, wiping the butts of the aged. My mother’s constant crapping in her pants and fatigue not to want to shower are a horrendous combination that shakes my positive outlook.

Ask the beautiful nurses in the facility, where she hangs her coat, she’s slipping into the coma of her former self – childhood.

She asks me how I am doing, but her latest spill can only indicate the rough interaction of her head with the floor adding insult to the injury of Alzheimer’s. She’s perhaps the only mobile person in these beds of the disintegrating; but that lack of a handicap is slipping.

We all die and we die by losing the quality of life that eventually overshadows the joy of living.

Taking her out of the facility becomes such a chore and even dangerous. Her unwashed body is a hazard and explains why they all acquire MRSA. Every bed has the story of multiple demises, a series of deathly corpses wafted up in the smoke of the unwashed solitude of a past life smothered in the germs that came before. I wonder how many pretty faces comb these halls as employees against the backdrop of such a slow death? The whinnying, the circling of wagons of wheel chairs before the nurses’ station, the false smiles of some of the attending, all of whom are busy working.

It saddens me at this rest stop of the physically diminishing, that every mouth sags and that every television distracts. These are the last impulses fluttering before them.

It is true that we become bodies in our elder states shitting and pissing like birds.

Decorum is the obsolescence as long white hairs protrude from chins. Our teeth are now plastic foreign objects with which we cannot chew. My mother goes through $600 dentures like a child goes through clothes, except there are no hand-me-down inserts that can be negotiated with the two real teeth she has. Denture cream is never going to happen and so it is a lie.

There’s nothing left and so I don’t recommend it. There are no golden years at the end of this rope, no fading glamorous light akin to sunrise. The wisdom of age is simply to fall asleep and never dream again; hope lifts out of you and blows away.

We just get too tired to care, then carelessness overtakes us and unless there is external care, the bacteria eventually win. The body cannot fight till the end all the hedonistic forces begging to dig right in.

How much I love the memories of my father, my Aunt Mary, my Uncle Mike, and there are others as the good ones who succumbed.

My Aunt Connie is still mad at my mother for exhausting my father, she believes, to death. My mother must have told him to watch the children before she’d run away, where she could remember her dreams amid the silence of her former self. I have her personality. I cannot have children; I am too selfish. But, I see in their bright faces and mobility the dream of the past, their cute repartees, the snot leaking from their noses, the wanting to be seen jumping from piece of furniture to piece of furniture, their plans during tea parties. All is the revolt to being tied; and the prospect of self-governance is everything.

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7 comments

  1. Very impressive imagery. I think it arrives at a good deal of truth about the process of the deterioration of aging.

    • Thanks Old Man, pun not intended. To appeal to your sense of literary scholarship is no small feat. You are so well read and brilliant with languages and meaning that you should have been a professor, or better still, in foreign service. Soon however you will have your dreams come true.

  2. In this story I see again one of the recurrent topics of your literary work which is that of the ageing mother who is losing self-governance. As a reader, when I come across the narrator´s memories of the family and of the mother´s former self, I get feelings of SADNESS, COMPASSION and EMPATHY.

    The question of having children appears once more as the narrator says:
    “I have her (the mother´s) personality. I cannot have children; I am too selfish.”
    This generates me, as a reader, a reaction of ANGER, RAGE and REBELLION as I totally disagree with the view that childless people are too selfish as opposed to those who have children. If this is the purpose of the story, you, as a writer, have fully succeeded.
    Some people just want to have children because,
    – they do not have many interests, therefore children fill their empty lives and they do not think much about the consequences of having a child.
    – they think a child can save a love relationship, which is one of the biggest mistakes in life.
    – they want to project their frustrated career onto the child. I did not succeed but my child will. Poor child, maybe this little person wants to study or do something different.
    – they want to have someone who takes care of them when they are old and dependant.
    which shows they are selfish.

  3. I am sick of the situations where people ask me to justify myself for not wanting to have any children. I do respect their choices and don’t ask for any justifications. One has to live with that. It is the price you pay for making minoritarian choices. I have made and make so many of them that I’ve just grown used to it. That doesn’t make me a better or a worse person. It is just that some of us may be a bit pioneers in certain things. For example, I’ve been one of the leading people promoting daily bicycle use in Catalonia. Some of us can just see a little bit ahead of time than other people but, as I said, we are not better or worse than the others. I think your poems and short stories make us readers see ahead of time as well. They are all very deep in thoughts and feelings. That is why I like them so much.

  4. Thank very much. I like to believe that in telling the truth you remain apart of the future. I don’t get it that most people can’t see that if we didn’t have children we might be able to save the earth, but of course in some having children is a natural urge.


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