Archive for May 12th, 2014

The Admiral would quote this line frequently; Gorey was another favorite of his: I didn’t know it didn’t picture people at a window pulling the curtain closed

What’s hard is simple.
What’s natural comes hard.
Maybe you could show me how to let go,
Lower my gaurd,
Learn to be free — Sondheim (a stanza the Admiral also would quote)

Dear friends and readers,

I find I can’t not talk about Jim. I worried lest I be misunderstood if I stopped about him. Well, I can’t. The alternative is to stop this diary/politics blog. There’s no point to my keeping this diary up if I don’t tell it from the heart. That’s my view of the justification for true serious poetry. Both are worthless if they are lies unless you are performing as an artist and inventing a life for yourself (fictionalizing, wish fulfillment) or transferring the social manipulations of life into poetry, using poetry as another means to that end. Neither of which can I join in on at all.

So, for now, early morning: I find I am putting my hand over half of my face starting in the later afternoon when I can. By then I’ve had it. If I am at my computer, I can’t because so often I am typing or reading the screen requires I sit up and face the computer. But when I am reading a book in my chair in the front room or in bed in the back, I find it irresistible to allow my hand to cover part of my face. It’s harder to read that way as then I have only one eye to use. When the admiral was alive and I’d be sitting in my chair across the way from him, I’d sometimes have such bad thoughts that I’d cover my whole face with my two hands. When he saw that, he would come across the room, to pull my hands down, hug me and get me to do something else — go for a walk with him say. There is no one to do that now and it’s not a matter of any conscious bad thoughts. I am just trying to do it to comfort myself somehow, to hide maybe.

Mornings I do read — for maybe two hours in bed; repeat late at night but only half an hour, each night an act or so of a screenplay, just now Downton Abbey, but I mean to go through many and when available, the scenarios (gussied up as Companion books — usually the only way you can get this material). So there’s less time inbetween to get through.

Now it’s late afternoon: I’m remembering that I don’t remember the Admiral ever crying. He looked distraught, bitterly distressed when he couldn’t eat something he so wanted to; for two weeks he pretended to be non compos, pretended not to understand what was happening around us, at least when I was in the room, except when something happened that he hated or thought I was deluded by, then he’d speak up and you knew he had taken it all in (e.g., the lying hospise woman who first came pretending concern). Shall I tell the unvoiced anguish and unacknowledged pain when he set up all the stuff he used to go make an egg omelet for himself and when he began half way through just gave up and went back to bed. I wish I had said something watching him, but so often whatever I’d say was the wrong thing somehow. But outright crying I don’t remember. I’ve cried only now and again, hysterically — but these last couple of weeks the tears do come now and again just like this. I’m listening to Nancy Griffith, Other Sounds, Other Voices, a favorite album I’d listen to in my car, and typing Ethelinde (which repeatedly brings back memories of how I didn’t accompany him to Wegman’s when I should have, saying I couldn’t waste the time for the long drive there and back).

Every hour takes its toll. Hour by hour. I miss him so much. I do not know how to live without him. Where shall I go? what do? I go for a walk in this heat — a nearby wood.


How pusscats are doing: They have to cope with living with me and no Jim. That means spending most of their hours in my workroom, for they cannot conceive of themselves as sitting in another room without their “person.” Clarycat used to sit on a puff as Jim’s feet or on his lap; Ian would sit on the top of his chair or on the top of my chair across the way, rather like Carroll’s Chesire Cat. Today Ian pussycat upset some stuff on the library table that has replaced the Admiral’s desk and I caught him gnawing on some wires. I screamed at him and chased him from the room. He was that upset that not only did he get himself into the bottom drawer of the bureau in my (not our anymore) bedroom but when I came looking for him, and spoke, he actually pulled himself out and came over to me and jumped on me and put his paws about my neck as hugging me. Then he sat in my lap for a couple of hours. When I go into the goddamn car to make start it each day and put it through the gears (if I never get my license back I must try to sell it), he watches me anxiously from the window. He wonders what I could be doing. Have I said he’s taken to growling when a stranger comes to the door, say a man come to help me with the computer. Then he runs away as usual, but he does stay for a bit to protest. Ian was particularly traumatized during the week of January when Yvette and I were away in Boston for the National Ice-Skating Championship. Caroline’s photos of him showed a terrified (seen in his eyes) cat, shrinking away.

This is what cancer does to a family, reader. And this is how the society responded. It cut him off — like some disabled person he was on the other side of a wall. He said that immediately. Then all the people supposed to help us made their shows of force, too their cut and then threw him away. He knew it. He tried to forgive that jock surgeon (half ironically finding some use in the operation in that he no longer had high blood pressure). He was just exhausted, feeble, weary, pitiful in those last 2 weeks. May the specific individuals who hurt and abused him and those who have now deprived me of my license (icing on the cake of misery? something to show they couldn’t care less) so I can’t what is amusingly called build a new life someday know a deep hell and rot in it.


Clarycat just stays close to me all the time, where I am, she is. She was his cat.

My header: The admiral also liked Sondheim — very very much; we spent extravagantly one summer at the Kennedy Center to see six of his musicals put on by Eric Schaeffer. We have Sondheim’s screenplays, books of his lyrics,DVDs. We also used to go listen to Barbara Cook when she came to the Terrace theater at Kennedy Center. The last time he was in London alone he went to listen to her. One of the Admiral’s favorites was “Anyone can whistle,” especially when sung by men, but he would have liked this by Cook too:


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