Archive for September 22nd, 2011


Moods and Mortality

“Blue” wasn’t just part of my online persona’s name yesterday. Ole Deac really was suffering a case of the blues.

Coming face-to-face with mortality does that to you.

Nah, I haven’t gotten some horrible diagnosis and I don’t have a dying family member. Hell, I don’t even have a sick pet right now. So, perhaps my experience is just so personal to me that it will seem trite to you. Maybe it isn’t worth blogging about.

Shit. Like I’ve ever let a little something like that stop me before.

It started with Mrs. Blue being kind of down in the dumps herself, really taking a pessimistic (somewhat justifiable, but in other ways not) view of something we’re working on right now relationship-wise, as well as kind of beating up on herself about one of those kinds of things women in particular so often beat themselves up about. She was bummed, and that bummed me out, since I wasn’t able to really brighten her spirits.

Then the weather was kind of sucky. Plus I’m recovering from a cold. So I was already vulnerable when I got the e-mail from my dad. He had thanked me earlier for something I sent him, and I responded back to ask how things were and how the family was doing in Arizona (those would be my mom’s relatives; my dad retired out near them instead of in Minnesota where his family is—the man is simply not interested in doing the mosquitoes and winters ever again).

This is where I find out that a former renter of his owes him even more money than I thought he did. And that my dad’s having some eye problems. And that even though he’s pretty active, he’s been gaining a bit of weight lately. Then I find out one of my cousins has remarried and just had the kid with his new wife baptized, and I never even knew he had been divorced from his first wife.  And miscellaneous other news of which I was also unaware.

The net combo has been to, first of all, remind me that my dad is going to die someday.

I know, big surprise, right? As is the shocker that he’ll probably precede me in shucking of his mortal coil.

But you know, while he’s a fit guy, Dad’s had numerous minor issues. Cholesterol started sneaking up on him. Sciatica and arthritis are getting in on the act and have been for years, frankly. And so on. Is he knocking on death’s door? Hardly. Will he likely live another 15 or 20 years (or more) most likely? Probably.

Or maybe not. I just don’t know.

Mom died early in my now-nearly-14-year-old marriage. She suffered cancer, and I wasn’t there when she died (though I did travel out to California to be there for her major surgeries and part of her recovery). Doesn’t matter that I had marital obligations and we just didn’t know when she would die…I still wasn’t there. And arriving in California to see her body before it was taken away for cremation didn’t really make me feel like I’d been number-one son. She and I were tight when I was growing up.

Still, I never beat myself up about it, and that’s because we always stayed pretty well in touch. Dad’s not much of a talker; Mom was. And aside from that, I knew Dad was with her, and Xeena the warrior princess miniature Dachshund. I knew she wasn’t alone.

But ever since she’s passed on to the next phase of spiritual evolution, I’ve often worried about my dad. Sure, he has in-laws around him who adore him, so if he dies someone will notice. But how soon? Dad and I don’t talk much because that’s just not the way he is. If we lived in the same state, we’d likely get together often. But phone calls and e-mails? Not so much.

I worry that Dad will die alone because, well, of course he likely will. He lives alone. Even the dog recently gave up the ghost. So now I’m extra sensitive to his health woes, because as much as I hate the thought of losing my only remaining parent (even though it’s the normal course of things), I hate as much…perhaps more…that he may very well have no one there when he checks out. Sure, he may end up needing care some day and may be living with us (or vice-versa) and we might have plenty of advance notice, particular if cancer decides Mom wasn’t enough and decides to visit Dad, too. But I worry about a fall, or a stroke, or a heart attack.

Stupid, I know, to worry about any of the innumerable “what if’s” that might arise. But still, I do, and more so the older he gets.

So, yeah, mortality in my face…even if it isn’t my own.

Plus the fact I’ve kept in poor touch with my relatives with whom I was so close for so long. I still have the connection, and yes, I know they could do more to keep in touch with me, too. But still, these are blood of my blood, and I feel like I’ve been too long disconnected from them.

And who knows how long I’ll live. Or when my grandma or some of my aunts and uncles might get their visits from the Grim Reaper.

Mortality again.

So much to do in life. So many obligations and desires.

So little time in the grand scheme.

I don’t have the blues today. But it all still weighs heavy on my mind.


Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley


Jeff Bouley

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September 2011

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