“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…a time to break down, and a time to build up…a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (The book of Ecclesiastes)
Epilogue October 20, 2012
I dream some nights that I can play guitar again. In the dream I can form chords effortlessly with my left hand as I strum or pick with my right. My left hand bends confidently around the neck, moving up and down playing progressions like it once did. I am surprised that I am able to do this, and the excitement builds as the song continues. Suddenly I am awake, and my fingers on my left hand are stiff. I bend them slightly as I return to sleep.
I am still singing in the choir, though, and intend to do some more composing using my right hand and multi-tracking on the keyboard. I will add vocals as I did before. After I left the hospital the third time my voice was a bit raspy and inconsistent, and it was impossible for me to hit the high notes like Brian Wilson or Jon Anderson of YES. Of course, even in old times on good days with a few beers in me and my inhibitions tossed to the wind, I still had trouble hitting those notes. They’re not the professionals for nothing.
I am getting faster on the computer typing with my right hand. I have experimented with a program that allows me to speak into a microphone and watch the words appear on the computer screen. The words spring across in rapid succession. As I compose a psychological report, I read phrases like “test results suggest that Mark experiences depression and agitation with periods of withdrawal”, but what is on the page is something like “the fat lady serves artichokes in the Caribbean”. I am told I periodically have to proof the report and change a word here and there that the program misinterpreted. Yes, indeed…
I enjoy eating sandwiches again. And I don’t require two glasses of milk each meal anymore to get them down. A glass of water works fine. Big multivatimins still occasionally get stuck, though, so I chop them in half.
I now have a physical oddity – on my stomach are three belly buttons (well, one is actually closer to my side). There is the real one, plus two bogus ones left over from the feeding tubes. One of them fakes my daughters out every time because it looks just like the real thing. I am amazed though that there is not even a mark on my right side from where they pierced me to open my body to work on my insides.
I think the bills have almost stopped coming in (but the credit card is not paid off).
My mom at age 86 is trying to rid her body of the last vestiges of cancer outbreaks that after so many years of leaving her alone, struck her again suddenly when my dad was in his last days with us here. She has endured chemotherapy and radiation and sickness from these and still fights hard to stay on top. She has more courage than anyone I know.
My wife Becah expects me to do everything now with energy and enthusiasm. She endured enough of my being lying on the bed and saying “I can’t”. I love her very much, and her presence beside me through all of this means more than she will ever know.
My oldest daughter Breanna is my sports enthusiast. Softball, swimming, cheerleading, basketball. Then the cycle repeats. She is so good, too. And with her constant desire to be the center of attention, she may step on the stage and turn her singing interest into a career someday.
Brookie is only marginally interested in athletics. She loves to sing too, though, and she enjoys her ballet class. She is also my TV watching buddy, curling up with me on the couch. Although she has moved on to Disney teen sitcoms, she with very little enticement will still join me for a segment of “Lord of the Rings”.