|I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello...|
When it comes to life’s beginnings and ends, our levels of existential bewilderment are at their highest. From abortion showdowns to death-with-dignity debates, one group stands vulnerably silent in the sidelines like the proverbial elephant in the room: the voiceless ones.
Let’s be clear about one thing: the arrogant posturing of those who will never fully understand the burden of a raped woman is criminal in itself. These are the same individuals who will spend their entire lifetime ignoring the cries of abused and neglected children while calling themselves “pro-life”. They are the same individuals who will cast pseudo-judgment upon our dementia-stricken elders; our sunset elders, who at one time may have voiced a preference for an end to their life with dignity. The definition of pro-life is not selective. It does not stutter. You cannot care for the life of the unborn without equal concern for the life of the woman carrying the unborn; without outrage on behalf of millions of newborn babies thrust upon neglect and abuse; and without a real respect for the end-of-journey ones. Without a respect for elders who experience incremental suffering exacerbated by the misguided leadership of twisted egos. A Via Crucis imposed by mainstream false-moralizers, denying a hard-earned dignity to the only ones entitled to choose when it’s time to rest in peace.
One of the best things I ever did before my parents slowly slipped away into the darkness of dementia is to increase my number of visits to them. During those rocking chair chats there were a lot of warm moments, reminiscing and video recording their recollections of their journey, of their parents and grandparents. I also consciously chose that one series of visits to gradually say our mutual goodbyes. To say “I love you”, a rare demonstration within my family, and a “see you later” should we all be so lucky.
My farewell visit’s departure, arbitrarily chosen by me, was a long flight back I will always remember. It was a sad one for me, a tear or two leaking as I stared out the window into the vastness of space. At best it was a bittersweet moment, a few smiles poked from my face as I scanned for memories. Recollections that managed to cast silver linings on the clouds below. Oh I flew back to see them several more times, at least two or three times a year over a five-year period. Including those last two trips to lovingly lay their former bodies down into eternal transformation. But my mourning did not start with their physical death: it ended with it. They both left quietly overnight, almost a year apart from each other. Upon each call from my brother to inform me of their passing, it was not sadness I felt. My first reaction was a smile. I felt relief for them. I smiled knowing they were finally released from the grip of a twisted nature. A force whose purpose in torturing neglected newborns and memory-deprived road warriors will always be a mystery to me.
After the brief calls from my brother to inform me of each passing, I had to step outside. I wanted to look up at the sky, at the stars, because I knew that’s where I would find them from now on.
Peachy & Juan: Freebirds