Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Last Chance

I’ve just got home and I have to write this right now. I have to get it out of me before I puke it out. I need this moment to mean something because it just doesn’t mean enough to me.

My dad is dying. He has been dying for about 3 months now. He didn’t turn up to work for a couple days and one of his work friends stopped by to see how he was doing. It always amazes me that he has any friends considering what a bastard he is, but anyway, his friend found him in bed unable to move, so called an ambulance. The first I heard was a few days later, and it was that he was having his foot amputated because of his diabetes. I felt no sympathy or surprise at this as he had been a diabetic for a long time and he still drinks a lotta beer and eats a lot of ice cream. He has already lost a fair few toes to that half assed disease.

I ignored the email that told me - I didn’t think there was much I could do. But then a month or so ago, I got another one telling me that he was fucked. I mean really fucked. His organs were failing, he had water in his lungs and there was a lot of other shit I can’t remember. He was so fucked that they still hadn’t taken his foot as he wouldn’t have survived it. I went home from work the second I read that email after I left my boss a note. Kathy came and met and comforted me for a while, but it was only when my boss called to check if I was ok that I broke down. He was meant to have only a 15 percent chance of survival at that point, but that wasn’t even taking all of his ailments into account. It really cut me down. I’ve cried too much this year already.

Speaking of which, it just so happened that it was at exactly the time that I was having my final fight with Fred and Dee that I found this out. I had been waiting until I was entirely calm to email them and try to fix or end things and this news just made me not give so much of a fuck anymore so I just said what I had to say and boom it was over with them. Now that’s a fucking shame, but it is unrelated.

Anyway, my sister had asked me if I had anything to say to him, as it may be my last chance as he had an op in the morning. Fuck was that hard to come up with. Those last words. That summary of his life and what it meant to me. So I told her then held my breath until morning.

He survived and got moved to the long term ICU, which is where they put patients they don’t expect to get better. So we waited. And looked for a will. And waited.

And then he got better! All of a sudden he was a bit more coherent, and he was recovering from some of the many things killing him. I had made my peace with it, so when this news came it blew my motherfucking mind. Woo!

But then he got worse again. Awful in fact. Dying. My sister is all alone out there and the doctors make her make all the decisions, but there was one which she couldn’t make alone. Should we sign a Do Not Resuscitate order?

Thinking about this killed me. Well it should have, but in all honesty, I feel so removed from the man that I just didn’t want to make the decision. I mean who am I to decide the length of his life?

I’m his son. And that’s why the decision has got worse as he has. We’re past DNRs now. We have to decide if we should pull the plug. He’s in so much pain and there is so little of his mind left that its not a question really.

So back to today and this moment. Back to why it should be important. Today is the day that I have to phone my brother so that we can arrange a date to go half way round the world to help my sister kill my father. Today’s the day I have to agree to watch him die. I have no last words for him, no conversation that I wish we had. I just don’t think my sister should go through this alone, and I’m fairly sure my brother needs to have a few more moments with that old man.

So I have to watch my dad die.

I really don’t think that he deserves to have his kids around him weeping when he passes, but I also know that Gerry needs to see him one more time. He needs to say goodbye. again. He needs another chance.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Why I've got a cold heart

It’s cold outside, and I’m smiling. Maybe it’s my infinite love of Christmas that makes me think the air is all sparkly and magical as soon as it chills your bones.

I never liked that film The Snowman. Maybe it’s because I have never seen it, but something about it bothers me. I only saw It’s a Wonderful Life a few years ago, long after I began feeling the holiday spirit deep inside me every year. To me Christmas is more about the nice feeling you get in the air. The feeling that permeates everything because of the growing number of people who have spent their day buying things for other people.

I know lots of people find the process of Christmas shopping a chore, perhaps even most people, but they are still thinking of others when they buy all that stuff. Even the most mean spirited people must have a nice few moments thinking of how their friends will react to the shit they have bought them. It’s nice, and it’s everywhere all at once.

I don’t mind that the Christmas stock comes out earlier every year in shops. I don’t get sick of Christmas songs clogging the airwaves in every shop, pub and home. I have no problem with carollers. I can even forgive Neighbours being cancelled for a few days.

I love snow.

I love turkey.

I love presents.

And I love that it’s all on it’s way.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Penthouse Blues

It’s dark and the night sky is glittering with stars and street lights, but I can’t see it because the wind keeps me blind.. I’m on top of a block of flats in front of London’s biggest police station and I’m not quite sober. My bones are creaking, my hands and muscles ache, and I’m shouting “We’re not going to be able to do it. I’m not joking. We’re going to drop it. Please listen to me”. Tiny amounts of rain speckle the air and I fear the worst, having realised that those below don’t care what I have to say anymore. I look at Kathy and shout over the short distance “You’re going to have to help too. Just try your hardest”. She nods gravely. I look at Saul. He is staring over the edge with exhausted determination.

And then the waiting is over and we hear them countdown. Saul reaches over the top trying to grab a rope and not be pulled over. Trying to be the hero, for he is trying to save all of those below. He gets it and pulls. Pulls like a buffalo pulling a train. Like a bear fishing for a pool table. I lunge over and get a grip. We pull. It comes up. “Stop” they cry. We are hooked on something. Those at the bottom rush up to help us. We lift it into the warmth and celebrate. There is still more work to do, but after the great battle of the stairs, this final victory feels like the sweetest and greatest.

When we’re done a few hours later, the champagne drowns out real pains and we settle down to a night of partying. We are no soldiers, but we feel like we had been in a war. If any of us had tried a bit less hard throughout that day, that pool table could have dropped and killed any of us. The movers even said it couldn’t be done, but we got it into that roof top sactuary for Mark. We saved each others lives that day. And for that, we get to play pool. Maybe now’s the time to get good.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Don’t you just love it how a single tune can just make you one happy motherfucker even if you is feeling like one big pile of crap? Maybe I’m more susceptible than most to this as apparently I am emotionally explosive, but I find more often than not, no matter how sorry I am feeling for myself, if I put on some funky shit I get all excited real easy.

It used to be TV that would be my crutch in times of not-so-great sorrow, but there is so much shit on these days that it’s often hard to find that smile from channel hopping. Flicking between tunes or listening to Radio 6 (which fucking rocks) though can just change my whole day. Hell yeah.

Or sometimes I’ll hear some song lyrics that I’ve heard a million times before and it’ll just be like “Woah! That is motherfucking profound. I’ve never thought of life like that before.” Or some similarly melodic eureka. This is typically from when you are newly in love, or newly fucked over by love and finally all the cheesy shit on the radio which you have ignored all your life makes sense. But it can be from other things too. Such as the Oasis pointless classic Wonderwall

“And all the roads we have to walk along are winding / And all the lights that lead us there are blinding / There are many things that I would / Like to say to you / I don't know how / Because maybe / You're gonna be the one who saves me ? / And after all / You're my wonderwall”

I used to think that this was a poignant yet vaguely meaningless ballad about how hard life is to get right, but now I realise that it’s just about being really mega fucked and not being able to walk straight, see straight (coz your pupils are dilated so the lights blind you) or really talk, so you need someone to direct you home. And how do you thank this saviour of yours? With meaningless gibberish (“Hey….. you know I fucking love you right…. You fucking saved my ass…. Thank you…. I would never have got home without you…. you’re my fucking saviour… my fucking wonder…wall…. bleugh”). Good old Gallagaher brothers. Go straight to the heart of the matter.