You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Mary Oliver, Dream Work, Grove Atlantic Inc., 1986 & New and Selected Poems, Beacon Press, 1992.
Yesterday’s biopsy went well, which I’ll discuss later.
My uncle – my mom’s oldest brother – passed away last night, he was 86. Another one of those strange cases, where he’d been in the hospital for a brain hemorrhage, was successfully operated on, successfully engaged in physical and occupational therapy, and was ready to go home. My aunt and cousin’s wife had just left the hospital for a bite and were due to return when they received the call that my uncle’s heart gave out. He died during the period when no family was present, which seems to happen more often than not.
Thing is, he was a rambunctious guy who was still ambling about. He visited when my father was dying, and though he had a portable oxygen tank, he carried it around like his wallet, just another inconvenience but whatever. He played golf until recently, and was still cooking away – one of the things he did best. When I saw him in the hospital, without his Elvis glasses and gelled hair, I noticed how large his head was. He seemed so benign, but beneath that exterior was a highly disciplined, opinionated man with a good sense of humor and a severe intolerance for nonsense. I think, at the last moment, he decided he was old and tired, and he was Leaving Las Vegas, so to speak. My cousin is now officially an orphan, having lost both his sisters and parents in the past two years. At least he has a wife, daughter, and mother-in-law to whom he is close, and a slew of scattered cousins who share a mutual nuttiness and would bend over backwards to support him.
Hubs called my mom to see how she was doing and it was business as usual on her end. Filed under “successful coping mechanisms.”