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Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28
Put THIS in your pipe and DON'T smoke it! - 2014-10-23
Max, Wolf, and the goats - 2014-10-15
Maloney for Congress - 2014-10-08

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11:17 a.m. - 2014-05-06
Truly, it is what it is.

I have been playing the same round of Candy Crush for so long I've almost forgotten there's an end game to it. I've stopped trying to win the round, it's pointless. Now I just play until my five lives are gone and go away until they're recharged so I can play the five lives again. And again. And again. Not defeatist, just aware that if I ever do win this round it'll be sheer luck. It's happened before. I've been marooned on a round for days, even weeks, then suddenly everything gels and KA-POW! The round winds up with absurd ease and I'm finally onto the next round. There's probably a metaphor or life lesson in there but I can't be arsed to suss it out.

MIL has arranged to see a grief counselor. Hospice set it up. I'm relieved she's getting some help, MIL's in a bad, bad place. Of course there no one correct way to grieve and everyone's time table for grief is different, it's just that MIL is stuck. Worse, she's sinking. Consumed by the woulda shoulda coulda. She's torturing herself with second guessing and backtracking and endless fruitless rewriting the script. She did this with Gram too. Months and months of it. MIL's brutal grief is different from regret. With regret you spend a little time wishing it had gone differently, you tick things off the list and are sad this had happened or acknowledge that was a wrong move, but then you let it go and move forward. Not MIL. She's built herself a cage of thorns and pointy sticks and stays in it relentlessly gouging herself about how she shouldn't have agreed to do the second feeding tube or that he should have never gone to the nursing home (he was there for a whole 40 hours!) and beating herself up saying she's done it ALL WRONG and she should have done this and that and the other thing! Why? Because he'd still be alive! He'd have recovered and not only that..FIL would be ALL better! Nevermind the man had been dying by inches for the last 20 years anyhow and all he did was lie on the couch and cough. No, if MIL had done things better he'd be running MARATHONS and CLIMBING MOUNTAINS and SCUBA DIVING! Right this very second! But instead he's dead and it's all her fault! MIL is killing herself with guilt. Wrong-headed guilt. Honestly she's convinced herself that if not for her screw ups that FIL would be here, here not as his actual scrawny sickly self was, but as some kind of magically healed superhero.

I truly hope the grief counselor can reach her, none of us have been able to and the poor woman needs to get out of that cage and deal with reality. Reality- FIL was in shitty health for years. Reality- he was a difficult and self-sabotaging patient who refused to do even the most minimal things (like eat!) to maintain what little health he had. Reality- FIL pulled out tubes, fought with doctors and nurses, spat out his meds, and made MIL's life fricken impossible with his self-destructive antics. Reality- everything that could have been done WAS done. Decisions were made using the best medical advice. Every treatment option was explored. That FIL took longer than anyone expected to actually die once he went into palliative care at home instead of suffering through more aggressive hospital treatments is unfortunate, but it doesn't mean anything else could or should have been done. And all of her rewrites and second guessing and beating up on herself doesn't change anything. FIL is gone. No amount of magical thinking will change that.

Mick does this too. We'll have a fight and then he'll get all wadded up in the panties about how if only he'd done this! If only he hadn't said that! If only he'd kept his mouth shut none of this would have happened! If only...if only...if only! To which I always answer, "So the fuck what? You did and now I'm hurt and angry. I'm stuck with the aftermath of your shitty behavior and I don't care dick about your 'if only' garbage. How about you deal with what you did? Let's stay here in the now, you peckerhead. Spare me the too late realizations, will ya? You can't take it back so suck it up and make it right. Deal with what ACTUALLY happened and stop already with the woulda coulda shit. It doesn't fix anything!"

To make an example. Mick takes the milk from the fridge. He's not paying attention and hooks the heavy jug on his pinkie while grabbing other stuff from the fridge too. SPLAT! The jug hits the floor and explodes. Mick will stand there cursing himself out. "I should have been more careful! I should have used my whole hand! I shouldn't have taken the mayo out at the same time!" Wah wah wah. Meanwhile I'm like, "Do you think you could DO SOMETHING? The cats are walking through the milk, it's running under the dishwasher where we can't reach it and it'll stink, the dog is licking it up and dairy gives her the shits. Instead of rewriting history how about you help me mop this up? Let's deal with the milk NOW and later you can have a luxurious orgy of guilt and self-recrimination, okay?"

This backbeat of how and why things happen is one of the reasons he and I are always coming at things from opposite positions. Some doofus on Conspiracy Nuts.com will come up with a new theory about what he thinks he sees on the Zapruder film and down the stairs comes Mick all frothy and panting over it, all rolling eyes showing too much white and spittle collecting in the corners of his mouth. He knew it! He KNEW the Green Bay Packers were involved! In secret memos JFK had ordered the Green Bay Packers' coach to throw the game against Detroit or he'd be deported to Swaziland! The Swaziland memos were burnt up by Gerald Ford, but everybody knows about them anyhow. And now look! See? Right there! In the shadow of the Book Depository! See the guy in the Packers jersey? Right there!"

I listen for as long as I can stand it then calmly say, "Mick, I love you, but I don't give a flying fart about who killed JFK. The man died. End of story. Not one darn thing about our lives will change even if it's proven the entire Green Bay offensive line was holding JFK down while G Gordon Liddy did the macarena on his face and Jackie did a striptease, don't you see that? I. Don't. Care."

It's true, I don't. If you could change the present by deconstructing and rewriting the past I'd be the first in line. I'd be all over that shit. I'd write me up some parents who loved me and I'd be braver and speak up for myself. I'd quash all the mean people and naysayers. I'd cut a wide berth around that cute dorky guy in my college biology class and never even know his name let alone marry him and give him two kids. I'd do EVERYTHING differently and have some swell cool beans life right now. But I can't change the past so what's the fricken point of picking it apart and moaning about all the woulda shoulda stuff? Doesn't change the outcome. JFK and my FIL are still dead and will be for all of eternity. Me? I don't care how the milk spilled, I just want to stop it before it gets under the dishwasher, you know?

Vene, vidi, ego lautus illid* ~LA


*I came, I saw, I cleaned it up.

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