Mortality sucks. Reminders about mortality suck almost as much as the thing itself. My brother is in the hospital in Houston, waiting to learn when the surgeons will perform an operation to repair an aortic aneurysm. That’s serious stuff. Not frequently deadly, but serious and nerve-wracking And it’s the sort of potentially unpleasant surgery that reminds us of our mortality. Which, as I will remind you, sucks.
If all goes according to plan, the surgery will be done, post-operative healing will be speedy, and everything will be back to normal. That’s what we all hope for. But of course we worry that things will not work out according to plan. We worry that the plan can derail and cause all sorts of problems leading to outcomes unlike those we hope and expect to see. Worry is idiotic, I know. If I can’t control the outcome, worry is a waste of emotional capital. But I can’t help but spend it. I can’t just say “it is what it is.” Would that it were so. Would that I could just accept that the world will spin without my input and control and I must simply accept it. Well, I do, in a way. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want, desperately, to have some influence over the situation.
Many years ago, this same brother who is in the hospital tonight, drove to Dallas after my open-heart surgery to spend time as my nurse-maid for a while during my recuperation. I stand ready to do the same. My plan for next week was to go to Corpus Christi for a launch party for a book by Corpus Christi authors (including people like me who grew up there). I want to go to that party and read from my story. But if I need to be with my brother, that will most assuredly take precedence. Isn’t that the way it is with all decent humans? And I do count myself amount them, even if there are days…months…during which I don’t think of myself that way at all.