Sperm donor…

When I was 37 I went through…wait…when I was 37 plus a few years after, I went through a very difficult divorce. When it started, our children were 11 and 4. I cannot describe how hard it was for me to be the one booted out of the house. I landed about a half mile from the house, with an eccentric roommate. He locked his bedroom door at 9:59 each night. But at least he welcomed me in, for a month.

That said, as the divorce crap carried on, my once dear wife liked to refer to me as the “Sperm Donor” (and still does) and in her mind that was all that I was. Her father, also divorced from her Mother, said he was labelled the same. Together we figured there was this mindset of, “Get the guy, get the kid’s, get rid of the guy”. That seemed to be the way their side of the family did things. Sadly, my daughter has being playing out the same old script with her two kids recently.

But point is, ONE — Biology…Zoology actually…RULES…meaning most women are programmed to reproduce. Ok, ok, I’m ok with that. BUT, due to the way culture has changed over the millennia, it’s made it much easier to toss out the, “Sperm Donor”, once they are done, sperming, or whatever it’s called.

So, this COMPLETELY explains why it’s now so easy for the gal’s to toss the guys into the rubbish heap, rape them for child support and alimony and whatever else they can get. HOWEVER, as seemingly advantageous as it has been for these gals, the children and the men tossed out have suffered IMMEASURABLY. The gals have NO IDEA (or care apparently) how much our contemporary culture has caused us guys to suffer…being separated from OUR (not just YOUR) children. We are NOT just the “Sperm Donor’s”!!! WE are the FATHERS. And tragically, our contemporary culture is still making it difficult for us to reclaim that role, as the Fathers of our children. Many men have killed themselves because of this, of their inability to be the Father to their children, and that is a cultural tragedy and travesty.

My children were 11 and 4 (now 38 and 30) when their Mother and I split up. I wasn’t able to spend one Christmas, or birthday, with my children until they grew up and moved out of their mother’s house! Their Mother refused to share those times with me and here in Canada during that time I was unable to change that. I suffered deeply. More than deeply, I lived a life of desolation and desperation for so many years….

My point being…sometimes in life things just can’t go the way that we wish. We accept it as it is, or not. Most of time I have chosen NOT, but have had to grab a beer, or two, or three to help me along that path. Thank God for that, at least.

May YOUR fate go better than mine!

My personal Covid-19 statement…March 22nd, 2020.

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I’m having a really rough time with this whole Covid-19 thing. Health officials are now saying that France, Spain, then the US, then here in Canada — that we’re all on the same illness trajectory. Meaning, the horror we’re seeing in Italy, is heading our way, inexorably.

Of course things will vary — Italy has a very high percentage of older people compared to other countries, and we have had more time to prepare, but the experts are saying that while that may slow down the speed at which it’s spreading, it may have little ultimate effect on its inevitable, inexorable march through our homes. We now know the virus is hitting a lot of younger people too, so it’s not just targeting one cohort, it’s targeting us all. Targeting us, making us sick, but also in a big way now victimizing us with “social distancing”, which is dramatically changing the way we have all lived in ways more than revolutionary.

Today, not being able to go about my normal routine, the gym, the grocery store, the pub, etc was extremely hard for me. Instead, I had to stay home, try to read or watch TV, most of which is all about Covid-19. I couldn’t go for a walk, or a run because there are now so many people out on the streets and out on the local trails that it’s impossible to keep the safe distance! So, the main message now is to STAY HOME.

This is not the “new normal” as some psychologists are suggesting we will all need to “adapt to”! This is the new “ab-normal” that none of us are at all prepared for. We are social beings — it can and never will become a “new normal”, because it’s completely unnatural for our species.

While I’m feeling terribly sorry for myself today, as much or more I’ve been crying off and on today thinking about everybody else, here around me and around the world who CANNOT and may never get used to this new, “normal”. Those who fear not just the loss of their own lives, but of their loved ones, their friends, their neighbours. We’re living in a moment by moment time of huge uncertainty.

We hear everyone now saying, “We are all in this together”, but we’re all also in a place so very unnatural and hard for us, a place that bores down to the very root of our soul, to a place of fear, with the potential to rip apart the very social fabric of our being. This is not a, “United We Stand” situation. This is a “United We Fear” catastrophe — fearing, even, one another. I predict many broken hearts – emotionally and literally, many inconsolable friends, many impossible demands upon us all.

These are not just “tough times”, friends, these are virtually impossible times for too, too many…

Dear God, may we all somehow see this through.

#covid19

 

 

Memories…vestiges of time.

We cling to memories as if they define us…but they really don’t….what we do is what defines us….memories are ghost images of what’s scarcely behind us in time, according to the clock. What we do in the present is the only true indicator of the person, of who we are, because it is us here right now.

What if…

What if there just absolutely isn’t any definitive answer to our angst-ridden, age-old, search for Truth!? What if we just were not meant to know, or that there simply just isn’t any answer to that immortal question? THAT, I think is the closest we will ever get to an answer, IMHO (in my humble opinion). An answer to the true meaning of life, I mean, of course. Knowing the uncertainty of it sort of makes it certain, doesn’t it?

What is…

I think that we all share a reticence, a fundamental dislike towards “what is”, that which is, the very facts of our existence. I think many spend their entire lives in rebellion to this, what I see as, a basic truth, a basic fact–in fact THE basic fact of life.

“What is”, as I see it, is life as, or as we choose not, to see it. It is what is regardless of our upbringing or education or opinion. It simply is that which is–apart from what we think it might, could, or should be. When we rebel against this, or choose to simply ignore it, we end up miserable and unhappy. Could–dare it be–that most or perhaps all of our unhappiness in life stems from our refusal to SEE, to accept life just as it is?

 

God…etc.

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Some people have difficulty conceiving of God, of believing in God. I know. Here is my conception of God, borrowed from Jung. He said, “God is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans, and intentions and change the course of my life for better or worse”.

To which I will add, God is the magic in the moment, the spirit in the spritzer. Goosebumps when we know something extraordinarily unusual and unique is happening. The inner knowing in a situation that would otherwise behoove us. The bird that lands close to us during our most desperate moments. A sudden coincidence that we cannot explain. The colour of the blossoms that catch our eye, the scent of the flowers that suddenly overpower us. The fresh breath of a child as they grasp and hold us without expecting. The pictures just sent from my daughter of her son playing languidly in the beach sand. The lingering moment between sunset and darkness that stirs something within our souls. That is God, and then some. Perhaps those reading could add to this in the comments? That would be nice, and another gift from God.

Is that sort of God difficult to believe in? I don’t think so. To me, that’s just the type of God I need! The one I have been longing for.

And in the end, if you still have difficulty believing, ask God — as a pure act of faith, which just means having great hope really — to reveal himself/herself/itself to you in some special way… he will, if you are open to it and looking for it. The little bird in my description above was just one of many ways he did for me. I feed the birds from my patio. Each spring the Junco’s leave for cooler weather in the deep forests. Each fall they return. One morning, in particular desperation I asked God for a sign, anything, to know that he cared, that he was there. I walked into my living room and there flew down onto my patio the first Junco, returning from the summer. I gasped with unbelief, but soon grasped the belief, the sign. That is beyond coincidence. That’s GOD. If he did it for me, many times, he can for you. Just ask! What have you got to lose? Nothing.

P.S. When Jung was asked one day if he “believes” in God, he answered, “I don’t ‘believe’, I KNOW! (that God exists), because of his life-long experiences. At this stage of my life, I can say the same.

What is the answer?

Vainglory hope is the answer. How many people have been puzzled by life, hoping desperately to find an answer to the meaning of it all, but die before they find it? I think most, like 99.9 percent.

“Oh, Tim’s full of doom and gloom tonight!”. I may be. But you know, I’m 57 now (2016). 7 years ago, were it not for modern medicine, I’d be 7 years dead. What’s that all mean? That “God” has some plan for me, which is why I’m still alive today? I doubt it. If he has, I haven’t figured it out yet, 7 years later. I’d like to hope that God had some sort of special plan for me, but you know, at this stage of life and living, I’ve learned a lot, and am ok being a bit skeptical now.

The fact is, as I said above, most people die before they figure life out, before they have their epiphany, before they have the “Damascas Road” experience. That’s just the way it is. Why? I dunno.

What can we make of these dismal statistics? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I don’t think we were created for “something special”, folks. Yes, we are each unique and wonderful human beings, but that’s as far as it goes, I think. Whatever we can give or do through to the end of today is itself a huge blessing. I know.

As the bible says, “For today we live and tomorrow we die”. Maybe that’s really it! If we can keep that in mind each day that we awaken, then we might make a difference in the lives of the people around us for that next day’s grace. If we don’t, well…no one will really notice. Oh well.

Today is all we have, folks. Tomorrow is a crap-shoot, a blessing if given…another day to make another day count for those around us. Let’s do at least that.

ALS it is…

Yes, Bill has ALS. He tried to convince the doctor that his SEVEN falls in the past two years were due to his dog pulling him over during walks. Well, convincing, because Bill had a young “King Poodle” until a couple months ago. That dog almost pulled ME over the few times that I went up to visit Bill while he was still living close to me. “Would you mind taking Jimmy out for a walk?” he used to ask. Sure, I said. Damn dog tried to take ME for a walk until I smacked him on the snout and told him who was the boss.

Anyway, after the doctors appointment yesterday, which I was able to sit in on to listen, Bill acquiesced and agree that the doctor must be right (after the doctor said he was 99.9% certain that Bill has ALS, and added, “Oh by the way, Bill, I’m a ALS specialist”). Ok, I threw my two cents worth in there two to help Bill SEE the full picture.

Marvelous human nature! Bill still left the office optimistic, because the doc said he was referring him to an ALS clinic where they would be able to fix him up with a brace for his leg that would most assuredly help him to keep walking more steadily, for a while…

We went for lunch afterwards, as planned. Bill enjoyed the Dry Ribs and several of the beers.

Today, I got up early and hustled my arse around the building until about 3. Then I drove out to our swimming pool supply place and picked up all of the pool chemicals that we would need for the season and then stopped by the Red Cross Equipment supply place to pick up a 2 inch riser for Bills toilet seat that he really needed. I got to his place about 5, with a nice cold 6-pack of beer to celebrate the toilet-rising! It was a grand event.

Thank God for lifes simple blessings.

Old Bill…

Today I take my elderly (compared to me; he’s 75) friend, Bill, for his follow-up appointment with the Neurologist. I took him to his first appointment about 3 weeks ago. Surprisingly, the doctor invited me in then to “hear the news”. It wasn’t good news. He said, “I don’t have good news for you, Bill. In fact it’s very bad news. You have ALS, Bill”. Bill looked confused. “I thought I had Sciatica?” was all he could sputter, surely, amidst his overwhelming clouds of emotion, with a very confused, searching type of look on his face Meanwhile, I’m trying to remember what the fuck ALS is. I should have asked the doctor. I thought Bill might know. I’d ask him when we leave. He didn’t know. We had to Google it, right there in the bloody elevator as we were going down….

The doc said he wanted to run some tests to rule out “other things” that can mask as ALS, like AIDS. AIDS??? Bill??? Hardly!!! Then the doc said he was going on vacation for 6 weeks and wouldn’t be able to see Bill again until June 7th. That’s today. Meanwhile, two days after that appointment, Bill’s back feels better. He calls to tell me “good news”. No back pain, to Bill, means he doesn’t really has ALS. It’s Sciatica afterall! “Oh that’s great, Bill”. “Ya,” he says with childish delight. Post-script: I can still hear his desperately hopeful voice saying that to me now as I re-read this. (Feb 2018).

I know all the “Stages of Grief“. I first learned all that when I was a cop, then later at university in the plethora of Psychology and Sociology courses I took. Bill classically launched  into the “Denial” stage, and has stayed there for the last three weeks. At least he has been able to relax and have some hope for the last three weeks…

I think I’m more nervous this morning than Bill is. Assuming the doctor asks me in again, I know what I’m going to hear. The doctor didn’t say that Bill “might” have ALS a few weeks ago. He said, most definitively that he “HAS” ALS, but wanted to run those other tests, you know, to “rule out AIDS” and the like.

In the meantime I gotta say I’ve been struggling with my own mortality. ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) usually strikes people in their prime. Think Lou Gehrig or Stephen Hawking. Bill’s actually lucky to be getting it so late in life. Once diagnosed, you have a 2 to 5 year lifespan left. There is no cure and sweet all medications to help with it. Not that I’m assuming that I will get it, or God knows what else. There are a host of diseases running around out there. But hey, I’m 57 and very healthy these days–since my near-death experience at 50. But seeing all this happen with my friend Bill really isn’t easy, for Bill especially, of course. I’m ok. At 11:30 this morning Bill isn’t going to be ok. I’ll take him for lunch afterwards to his favourite spot. They serve good beer there too, which I’m sure he will be far more interested in today than the food…

I realized this morning that I’ve lived a very sheltered life. Nevermind that I saw a boat-load of life for the short time that I was in the police department. Since then, I really have been insulated. I don’t know why. Well, our society seems to be built that way. We hide all of the nasty stuff, in sanitoriums or hospitals or rest homes. And I think the police department may have shocked me so much that I unconsciously insulated myself and closed my eyes to many of life’s vagaries and vicissitudes. Surprisingly, I think, in some weird sense, I’ve been missing something important. Time to open my eyes again me thinks, look-see, and write about it, starting this morning with Bill.

Post-script: Bill died in November 2017.