Immortality – A Resurgance

We look at members of our family as being immortal. We hear of something on the news or from someone else or read it in the paper, and our first reaction is usually “thankfully that won’t happen to me”. Even when something happens to extended family, it’s not the same as immediate family. If your aunt or your uncle is diagnosed with a terminal illness, then we feel for them, but we thank whoever that it isn’t our immediate family.

What happens then when it IS our immediate family. When you are told that your father has a disease that kills. Then he trials a drug and is cured. But in the meantime you are watching the weight fall from him as he vomits every night. When the tiniest drop of blood can harm you. But then he is cured and it reaffirms the notion that your family is immortal.

Then your mother becomes ill. Told there is a brain tumour. The thoughts that run through your head are too fast. They operate though and remove it. Once again, your family is immortal. Then she has something wrong with her stomach. If she doesn’t get it sorted, she’ll die. Another operation later and once again, your family is immortal.

Your sister contracts Tuberculosis (TB) and is locked in a room in hospital. They tell you that she has only one working lung and that is not 100% efficient. But she survives. Your family is immortal. Your mother has a stroke. Puts her in hospital for months. She has to learn how to use the muscles on the side of her face again. But she survives. Your family is immortal. Arthritis spreads through her body, getting to every joint and some not joints. But she remains happy because your family is immortal.

Then your father, again, parts of him start to fail. His knees, his back. He has to have operations to fix it. Which he does. Everything is good. Yes, he will have to have other operations, but that’s not a problem. After all, your family is immortal.

And then it happens. That moment that knocks you off of your feet. Has you crying in a corner because your family is supposed to be immortal. These things aren’t supposed to happen to you. They happen to other people. Not you. YOUR. FAMILY. IS. IMMORTAL!!! The doctor’s have to be wrong. They have to be. They’ve misdiagnosed. It’s not cancer. Not your mother. It’s not allowed to be. When they say it’s inoperable, they don’t know that. There’s got to be something. Your family is immortal. It turns out that they were wrong, and it was a shadow. They mistook it for something else. Once again, your family is immortal.

Your father has a heart attack, but it’s okay. He’s in hospital at the time, which proves that your family is immortal. But they find something else. But that’s okay, they deal with it. Because your family is immortal. He has to have a bypass operation, and you are happy with that because it means he truly is immortal.

But then …

Immortality fails. And there is no coming back from it. You get a call from your sister at 6.40 in the morning saying “he’s gone”. You realise immortality is not real. Immortality is what you see when you don’t want to see. Immortality is a hope you have so you don’t think about the alternative. Immortality is your hope that your family will be there forever. But they won’t. Nobody is immortal. Not in the physical sense.

They are immortal in your heart. They will live forever with you in your thoughts, and your actions. So once again, your family is immortal.

Dad
November 6th 1939 – November 22nd 2019

Haibun Thinking: A Night Time Stroll

On a Tuesday, new prompts are added to the Haibun Thinking page to create a post using the Japanese form of writing. Write a piece of at least one paragraph and finish it with a haiku style ending. If you want to know more about the Haibun, then you can go either to the Haibun Thinking page where it has examples, or you can go to Penny’s blog The Haven Of Haibun which goes into easy to read details of how they are created. Once this has been, you can stick a link in the creature and then have a look at what the other couple of people have written.

The prompts this week were a photo and the literary quote:

“Not all who wander are lost”
The Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien)

© Alastair Forbes

By day, the hustle and bustle of the town is all around. People running to work, walking there, driving, bussing, going by taxi, driving; roads fill with vehicles where everyone is thinking about going to work, where the next pay check is coming from, where the money for the next bill, where the next meal is coming from. The day is filled with worry, with stress, with sounds of other people wondering the same things. Thinking about having more money going out than coming in, wondering where presents for Christmas are going to come from.

The end of the working day and heading home along with many other people, the thoughts the same as the morning, but this time there is the thought of relaxation. To sink into the favourite chair and get lost in the mundane life of television.

There is an alternative. Walk along the sea front beside the calmness of the water. Watch the reflection of the lights glitter off the water, feel the peacefulness of the air, the fresh breath. Let the worries float out to sea, and be washed away. Then when you go home, you can sleep with peace.

a night time beach walk
is sometimes all you need
to blow cobwebs out

A Century On – Remember The Fallen

100 years ago, a war started. They called it The War To End All Wars. Over 16 million people died in that War. Over 20 million were wounded.

The War did not end all wars. It showed a new way of killing millions. Maybe one day we will look back at every single man woman and child who gave their lives or had their lives taken, and see it as a barbaric time in the growing of mankind. It would be perfect if no-one else had to die because of a tyrant wanting oil, or a despot wanting a neighbouring country; a dictator wanting more power or an oppressor ruling by execution.

People like my grandfather who died as a result of being in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp. My cousin who watched his friends die in the first Iraq war. Wars were bloody before that, and they have been bloody since. Nobody wins in a war, but everybody loses.

Whether you call it Remembrance Day or Veteran’s Day, today we remember every soldier who gave their life in conflict.

Below the photo is a poem I wrote two years ago and reposted last year on November 11th.

Poppy growing outside the Battle of Britain War Memorial, taken in 2012

Poppy growing outside the Battle of Britain War Memorial, taken in 2012

Remember The Fallen

For what they gave, we always remember
Every year, on the eleventh of November

For those heroes, there will be no tomorrow
We think of them and their courage with sorrow

In the UK, it is Sunday, Day of Remembrance
Where we think of the fallen with much deference

In the US, the day is called veteran’s Day
Where troops march past where the soldiers lay

We think of the soldiers who have died in a war
And we know full well there will be many more

All wars come with a very high price
We mourn those who pay the ultimate sacrifice

All soldiers are heroes and have our respect
You know what I say is true and correct

I hope one day we can say no soldier has died
Where countries can live together, side by side

Until then we can only hope and pray
Our men and women see another day

© A Forbes 2012