Do you know that odd feeling in your throat when you get emotional? It tightens up, you find it hard to breathe, and maybe your eyes water. Happens from time to time. Sometimes I watch a sentimental movie and feel that. There was a time when I felt deep regret over a lost love and I’d get that way. Doesn’t seem to happen much anymore. It’s an odd feeling, and only seems to occur with a sense of great loss, or empathy with someone’s loss or near loss. I remember when my step-daughter survived cancer. If it had been something I was watching in a movie, I’d have choked up like that, with my throat tensed and a feeling of being overcome by emotion, regardless of outcome. However, when Maya survived the surgery, and then again, when I found out the tumor was gone, after a whole lot of radiation and chemo treatments, I felt joy. It was the purest joy I’d ever felt. I was happy. My throat did not tighten, I did not cry, I did not feel overcome with emotion. I was, instead, blissfully happy. I stayed that way for a while. I am, of course glad that she is fine today, and in complete remission, and it is not the type of tumor, being so rare, that she is likely to experience ever again. The joy I felt back then was for her. I love her so much. I don’t need anything from her, don’t need to have love from her, or anything at all. I wish her a long and happy life.
Mine is not so happy. I experienced depression for a time in my life; got counseling, and medication. It may have made a difference. There was a change from that deep hopeless depression. I was sad a lot. It was sometimes overwhelming. There was an almost physical pain, tightness in my chest, sighing. That part is over now.
As always, I stay busy, even though I’ve retired from work. I hike, I snowshoe, I read, I watch movies. I buy things online and in junk/antique stores. I don’t feel sad. I eat a lot, which is not good, but it hardly seems to matter anymore. Nothing does really. It’s not the way I ever thought I’d be: just drifting along. No sadness, but no joy either. It is hard to enjoy a movie, a good book, a good sleep.
Sometimes I nap and I wake up nearly suffocating. It is dark and terrifying. My throat feels like it has been closed up. My brain feels oxygen starved. I feel like I’m dying. It happens more and more often. I don’t know what it means for sure. I’ve no known breathing problems. I had pneumonia as a child a couple times, so perhaps my lungs are not all that strong, and I had asthma until I was twelve years old. I don’t feel like there is anything wrong with my lungs now. My hikes take me up over 10,000 feet above sea level sometimes. It’s not all that easy, but I survive. I hiked near that altitude once for 20 miles.
I don’t know what to make of all this sometimes. I think I will drop off to sleep one day soon and I will just stop breathing. That doesn’t seem to scare me. It’s just the waking up unable to think straight and feeling like I’m dying that ever bothers me. When I couple that with my lack of joy in living, with a loss of interest in companionship or love, and with no enthusiasm for the sex that always made me happy, I wonder if this is it? Is my life over? Not in any figurative sense, but really. Is this what it feels like to die, or just to grow old?
I should do something, right? I try. I have a meeting tomorrow with people who want to change the world of politics. That used to excite me, but it’s more running on inertia now. I do the things I used to do, and new things too. I tried out to be a VJ ( a TV announcer/spokesperson), and it was good to try. Didn’t happen. I went to a local winery and I will be working there a couple days a week, with flexible days and hours. I might be serving/selling wine, or helping clear the ditches, or helping with new construction. I may be able to help with some of the tedious paperwork stuff, since I have some experience with maintaining inventory and budgets. It’s a new place for me. Something to do.
I don’t know if my life will change again. I tried the guitar, but I’m not doing much with that anymore. By now I thought I’d have a few dozens songs down. My photographs never sell, so I don’t know how much I will keep that up. My stories never sold, and I know they’re not that good. My poems pale next to most everything I hear or read. You’d think that would make me sad, but I don’t feel sad so much as tired. I don’t know what the point of it all is anymore. Going through the motions, eating, sleeping, doing things, watching things, reading, writing, working. I just don’t know. I know that people say, even when they’re dying, that life is a joy, and we can just enjoy every minute. Can’t say I feel like doing that.
In reality, I think my life is winding down. I think it may be ending soon. I can’t say why. It just seems like it. Sometimes the brain knows things we don’t consciously admit to, or recognize. Animals have been observed doing that: preparing themselves to die. They sometimes seem to know. Are people any different?
There are lots of things I can do: volunteer to help kids with their homework. Ask someone out. I have tried to get interested in other people, but the spark is just not there. It’s not here in the sense that perhaps there is no need anymore? If my life is going to end soon, then there really isn’t much point in anything. I look at that in the reverse direction, and I think, if there isn’t much point in anything anymore, then maybe that’s the sure sign that I am going to die soon. I have no regrets, no bucket list, no things I need to resolve. Death doesn’t scare me. Nothing scares me. Nothing excites me either, so that seems the same as death.
Well, tomorrow is another damn day. Who knows what will happen?
I had a dream last night: I was moving. I didn’t want to move. There were other people I was living with, and I didn’t want to go with them. I stayed in bed while people finished packing. I got up after awhile. There had been a very young kitten hanging around for awhile, feral, skittish. I didn’t know where it had come from. I saw it now, asleep by the bed. It looked so sweet and happy there. I went into the bathroom to pee and noticed little bits of cat shit around the toilet. Seems the kitten had decided to stick around. I thought about sticking around myself, just by myself. I heard a truck horn. There were to be two vehicles going. Four guys in one big truck and the two women in a car. I remember thinking it odd that the women and men were going separately, fearful that the women were going to disappear. That it was deliberate.
I went back to the cat, stared at it. I decided it was my cat. I could stay. Then I decided to go after all, but the cat was coming with me.