The Cup (3/X)
So I have these two ideas to think about. There is the John Lennon song with the line that he lifted from a poem by Robert Browning: “The best is yet to be.” And then there is the partial account of my delirium journey and what ‘the presence’ said to me about the noises I was hearing outside my room. Those noises were “trouble yet to come.”
I think about each of them. As I look back over the past 3 years or so I ask which has turned out to be case? Have the past 3 years turned out to be ‘the best?’ Or, have the past 3 years turned out to be ‘trouble?”
First, I want to think about each of those separately. “The best is yet to be.” John Lennon wrote that song with that lyric in 1980. He recorded the song to a demo tape. John Lennon was murdered a few months later, December, 1980.
Let THAT sink in!
“The best is yet to be.”
If I start from April, 2019 and work my way forward here is what I recall: Following transplant, I had 16 weeks of recovery before I could do much of anything. Three weeks following the ‘launch’ of my new life- the sermon I preached on August 11th, 2019, Linda’s beloved sister was found dead in the home she shared with her mother. She was 60 years old. She had been found a day or two after she died. She was the main caregiver to Linda’s aging mother who was found at the same time, lying in the floor and completely delirious.
Her mother spent several weeks in the hospital and was discharged to an assisted living facility and her house, Linda’s childhood home, was sold.
In June 2020, I became extremely sick with virus (non-COVID) that put me in the hospital for 2 weeks. When I got out of the hospital, I had to begin infusing meds. (5 hours per day, 7 days a week, for several months). Those meds gave me low grade flu symptoms everyday. One week following the discharge to Emory, I was re-admitted with what turned out to be Occipital Neuralgia, a skull crushing form of headache which is accompanied by a lot of throwing up. It was completely unrelated to anything that had gone before. It was not until March of 2021 that I could honestly say that I felt like my old self again. That was almost two years from the transplant.
In May, 2021, Linda was diagnosed with advanced liver disease. In early July, 2021 she was admitted for a month into Emory. I won’t even go into all the symptoms of that malady but just say that liver disease is a vicious disease. After being discharged she went to a facility for physical therapy and then from then until December 5th she was in and out of Emory. During the time from July to her death on December 8th, she underwent 13 endoscopies and was placed in the ICU twice.
On December 8th, she died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism.
From Christmas, 2019 to December 8th, 2021, do you think we experienced the ‘best’ that was ‘yet to be?’
“The best is yet to be” is a romantic statement . By romantic, I mean that it is dreamy, wishful, It is illusory and transportive in the sense that it lifts us out of the ordinariness of life to a future of honeysuckle bliss. The romantic has nothing to do with hard realities. The romantic floats above the ground. Everything lacks mass, weightiness, and hard edges.
“The best is yet to be’ is also BS. All romantic statements are BS. (And, I don’t mean that in scatological sense. I mean it in the philosophical sense as that which is not exactly a lie but is certainly not the truth.
Linda loved romance but was not very romantic herself. Me? Heck, I’m a regular Don Juan. That was not always the case. Way back in our earliest days of marriage, Linda would say, “You just don’t have a romantic bone in your body!” (She didn’t say that with glee…trust me.). She was right but the reason was that I had no idea what it meant to be romantic.
So, I went on a quest to learn what it meant. I wanted to learn the meaning and essence of romance and, by cracky, I was going to act on it. I asked students in my General Psychology class at Milligan to describe in writing the most romantic experience they had ever had. As I recall, I got about 80 responses. I interviewed people about it. And, I picked 20 romantic songs to better understand what romance is.
I’ll write about that and why it’s important to grief, etc next.