When You Realize Everyone You Know is Dying
Tribute to my momma from my nephew
You are getting older
I moved to Los Angeles, California, after graduating from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1973. Because I missed my family and friends, I returned to Little Rock at least once, and sometimes twice, a year. At first I would hang out with my friends and visit our old familiar hangouts. As time progressed, friends lives changed and we were no longer able to do the same old thing. The realization set in that we were growing up.
Over the years I continued to go to Little Rock and spent more and more time with my family. My sister began to have children and I spoiled them. In order to keep up with my friends, I visited their homes or called them on the phone. The local newspaper was very helpful for me to keep up with marriages, divorces, deaths, successful careers and crime!
A life-changing event took place in January, 1982. My father died. All of the cracks in our family began to show. I continued to visit my family and, as often as possible, some of my old friends. My visits were shorter because there was much less for me to do. Still, the local newspaper was very helpful for me to keep up with a few marriages, a lot of divorces, many deaths, a few successful careers and more crime.
In the late 80’s, my mother developed an obsessive compulsive disorder. She started giving herself enemas three to four times a day. She felt she needed an enema after she finished each meal. She described a bloated, miserable feeling. Over time she began to repeat questions, show less interest in her grandchildren and appearance, and withdrew from social settings. Then the reality of Alzheimer’s made itself known. It was heartbreaking to watch my once funny, playful, loving mom alternate between violent combative behavior and complete withdrawal. My mother passed away January 20, 2012. I will write several articles on Alzheimer’s, my mother, and me.
Deaths are coming more frequently over time. One of my mother’s sisters passed away in January 2008. One of her brothers passed away in January 2009. My mother passed away in January 2010. My brother-in-law passed away in June 2011. One of my favorite cousins passed away in January 2012. One of my best friends passed away in May 2012. As time goes on, more and more people with whom I have constant contact are passing away.
One day, the newspaper will carry my obituary. That’s OK because I believe in heaven. If you have time, please listen to "Heaven" which I wrote about 25 years ago.