Blog 923 – 03.05.2018
How Can I Live Without You?
That song was quite popular when my dad died and was a great hit for Tricia Yearwood who recorded it after Kelly Clarkson had released it and sold also millions of copies of the song, Tricia’s version being also so widely known that she was asked to sing it at The Academy Awards instead of Kelly. My mother married my dad when she was eighteen and he twenty-six. Having watched their marriage first hand for many years, it was not ideal nor an openly affectionate marriage. It was more like Pat Conroy says of his parent’s marriage through his slightly veiled characters in his book, later made into a movie, The Prince Of Tides, when he writes as Tom the Twin in the story, “In the continuing warfare between my parent’s the only prisoners they took were their children.” The fact is my mom made it crystal clear to all how unhappy she was being married to my daddy, actually even the morning of my dad’s last day here she said he had been sick in bed earlier in the year and she just did not think she could care for him if he was sick for a long time before he died. She did not have to. He went quickly and quietly as he was undressing for bed that evening. He had retired to his bedroom early telling us he was a little under the weather. Mom, my wife Linda, my young son Jay, and I were playing Monopoly at the dining room table in my parent’s home not more than ten feet from dad’s bedroom door. He did not make a peep when the heart attack or stroke took him. An hour or so after he retired we finished our last game and mom said she wanted to check on him before she went to her bedroom. Moments later we heard her scream. He was gone.
My mama must have told me more times than I should say that she did not know how long she could stay with him. Once after having heard it quite enough I said, “Then why don’t you just divorce him.” She was taken aback by the remark. I know mom must have heard Kelly and Tricia’s song many times and maybe she really felt like the girl in the song because three years after the anniversary of dad dying my mama took her own life. She suffered a long time with depression even before dad had died. I think my parents both really loved one another but when you do not love yourself first and foremost it is hard to show anyone else that you love them too.
It is a misunderstanding, I think, of who we truly are to become so attached to anyone that we think we could not live without them. Don’t misunderstand me, I believing in great loving connections and some people we allow ourselves to know and love so well it would be like losing a limb or a vital organ if they were to leave us but except for the heart and brain many of our body parts are in pairs so we can live with the loss of one – foot, hand, leg, arm, eye, lung, kidney for they all have a back up. Our heart and brains are stronger than we give them credit. I am told that even after the doctors took my daughter off the life support that was keeping her kidneys and other vital organs alive that her heart fought a valiant fight to keep her alive. That little girl I thought was my heart and my heart hurt so to know she had left this world – it felt so wrong that she should die so young, thirty-two and I at that time and always up to that time thirty years her senior. But I did live on as the song that was so popular when she graduated high school, The Heart Goes On, that they played a bagpipe version at her class ceremony. So can we and so we should.
I do not judge my mama for ending her own life when it was no more bearable for her. If you do you are presumptuous and assuming a role that was never yours or anyone’s in my book. We are not even fit to judge ourselves let alone others. We were made for bigger and better things like the heart for loving and pumping life. Amazing how a heart like the old Timex commercial, “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
When someone you love leaves you in death or in life and you think, “How can I live without you?” Just try to relax, breath, listen to your heart beat and know as Celine Dion sang in the movie Titanic, “I know, I believe, the heart will go on and on.”
Your friend and fellow traveler,