I made it to 73 last Saturday night at 11:30, which I believe is quite remarkable considering my physical and mental states. I’m beyond overweight, but very short of grossly obese. Basically, I love to eat all the things I shouldn’t and don’t eat enough of the things I should. Also, I don’t get enough exercise. I’ve joined a gym here and hope to get back into a steady pattern of exercise. Mentally, well, if you’ve come here often enough you know I’m basically nuts. Schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, is about as crazy as you can get without actually going insane. Lately, though, I’ve been having feelings that maybe something else might be affecting my psyche. Dementia or Alzheimer’s? I’m certainly at the age.

My father died at 52 from prostate cancer, though he wouldn’t admit that. He told my mother and everyone else he had hip cancer. His death was fairly easy being that he was able to die at home. Even though my mother knew he was dying, she was devastated that he should leave her so unexpectedly. I was in the Air Force at the time and came home on emergency leave. My Uncle Lyle and Dad’s best friend Larry met me at the airport. When I arrived home, Mother was inconsolable in her bedroom with my Aunt Hilly and Larry’s wife Annie at her side. Larry handed me a small glass half full of whiskey to help me get my nerves in order to I could help Mother in the days ahead.

I’ll admit it right now, I did not cry at my father’s funeral. If fact I didn’t cry at all when I was home. The night after I returned to Dyess Air Force Base, where I was stationed, I got drunk and we out with a bottle of whiskey and tried to burn down power poles. The base police picked me up and tossed me in their lockup. The following morning the air wing admin officer got me released. I thought they would give me at least an Article 15 administrative action, but I was sent to the base psychiatrist instead. My days of being considered nuts began.

My mother died at 83 from metastasized breast cancer. She originally got it 15 years earlier and beat it then, but as cancer often does, it hid from view slowly spreading to her abdominal wall, spinal cord, brain, and numerous lymph nodes throughout her body. When the cancer made its status known, Mom went to an oncologist. Since I wasn’t a part of her life because she hated my wife, I wasn’t a part of her final years. The last time we spoke, she said my son, Nate, would handle everything. She also had friends who helped her until she went to the nursing homes. Then they stopped seeing her.

After Mom died, the Neptune Society had her cremated and they gave her ashes to Nate. That was when I was driving long haul, so I couldn’t be there and that’s the reason Mom chose Nate to handle everything. I did my part by keeping my wife away from Mom. Mom’s desire for her ashes was to have them spread over the summit of Stormy Mountain overlooking Manson, Washington, the place of her childhood and early adulthood. Once again, I wasn’t there because if I made the attempt, my wife would desire to go too.

And, so, I’m 73. Will I make it to 74? Who’s to know. My body could give out. Or, just as easily my mind could go by going into psychiatric crisis and having Nate call 911. That would trigger a police response, which would end in a shower of bullets. Or, that feeling I’m having in my head could be Dementia or Alzheimer’s and I’ll enter a downward spiral to oblivion. Maybe, my heart will give out. Or, maybe, cancer will come my way. There’s always the chance COVID could infect me, and, maybe, I’m healthy enough to beat it. Only time will tell.

Plus, I need to get my novel, The Companion, rewritten.

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