“Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine, Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line” Robert Dylan / George Harrison / Jeffrey Lynne / Roy Kelton Orbison / Thomas Earl Petty
They have the funeral of Aretha Franklin on the television today. Yesterday it was John McCain. All around the world thousands of families are burying their loved ones. They have reached the ‘end of the road.’
Death is not the only ‘end of the road.’ Things terminate in other aspects of lives. We change jobs, we move to different locations, we graduate from schools and colleges. In life, things do come to an end. Sometimes it is an easy transition while at others times it is a hard breakup.
When I was committed to a psychiatric hospital at age twenty I read the ‘end of the road.’ My life as I knew it ended and I was baptized through pain into the world of the mentally ill. My very concept of self had been transformed. I would never be the same person I was before. In all honesty, this change was both positive and negative as there are valuable lessons to be learned in suffering. I became part of a community that was viewed with very negative eyes.
But life went on. I saw so many of my peers surrender to the darkness. They gave up on their lives succumbing to their chemical imbalances. My friends lived in group homes and existed to eat and smoke cigarettes. Gone were any ambitions of success in this world. But I want to point out that I am not judging my fellow sufferers of mental illness. The cross that we bear is crushing.
They say when one door closes another opens. My friend Tom said that is true but sometimes you have to wait in the hall for a while. Today my wife suffers from dementia. Adhering to my wedding vows I am staying with her in sickness and health and for better or worse. But I expect that the time will come that she will pass on and leave this world. Sylvia needs full-time care and I can’t work and the funds are getting rapidly depleted. One of my few living relatives told me not to expect any financial help from him, not that I asked him.
So here I am struggling to be successful in my writing. The dream is that one day I will earn my pork chops sandwiches and coffee by the pen and keyboard. It is a fantasy but sometimes dreams come true. I am without options. My faith in God finds it unconscionable that the Almighty would desert my wife in her time of need as she served Him all of her life. In fact, I believe that Sylvia’s illness is for a purpose and part of that purpose is to give me time to dedicate to my writing. Also, I am learning many valuable life lessons in caring for my beloved.
This ‘End Of The Road’ reminds me of something I wrote for my book of poetic utterances called “Letting It Out.”
End of the Road
When the road ends you can always make a U-turn. Of course, the possibility of four wheeling always exists as well. Then there is the natural avenue of a pleasant stroll. The end of the road thus is largely symbolic and not founded so much in reality. Even if you reach an ocean or a large lake there exists the possibility of a ferry. So death is portrayed as beyond the River Styx. Things do end in life. Relationships terminate. Sometimes goodbyes are final. But then again there always remains memory. Like watching a movie over and over on a videotape we can revisit our past. Now new roads, that sounds like an exciting venture. Racetracks are oval and even if more complex they always form a circuit. So technically some roads have no end but rather are perpetual repetition. But we always have the choice to stop driving, simply to refuse to proceed any further. As a society, we are plummeting forward at an alarming rate of speed. While some intend to accelerate our collective advance others with gritty determination dig in their heels to bring the whole thing to a halt. I go one step further for it is my desire to retrace our previous steps. Not quite exactly a u-turn but rather a journey in reverse. One final note is that the road may end when there is no more gasoline. In our technical dependence many approach such a notion with trepidation. Yet on the brighter side, the roads ends and the path begins. When something is born something must die.
Check out “Letting It Out.” https://amzn.to/2OFIgYG