[-empyre-] sex death love - on AGEING

Simon SWHTaylor at zoho.com
Mon Sep 30 10:33:31 AEST 2019

Thanks, Ana.

Your story of the 80 year-old prompts me to reply.

My small family lived with my parents in separate buildings on the same 
property. The kids grew up through their aging and dying. I had the 
privilege of nursing both my parents until their deaths. But it is a 
mistake to call it a privilege. I recall a family friend telling me what 
an important time it was, a rich experience, to be nursing my dying 
father. I actually spent my time fighting the doctors' drug regimes. 
This was like when I had to commit my closest friend, section him, they 
call it in some places. The attendant would not believe he was 
psychotic. He's just acting, the doctor said. And he was, he had been an 
actor. And in the waiting room at the mental institution he had taken 
off all his clothes and was performing the best Fool from Lear I had 
ever seen, dancing on the backs of the chairs. But having been an actor 
without work first led him into depression. Then when he went looking to 
find himself a place in the world he found only psychosis. I could not 
convince the doctors my father had been drugged into psychosis. He had 
been a director. The medical professions enjoyed the suppression of his 
rage, when I could not stand it. Like those lines beginning Herbert 
Blau's book /Impossible Theater/: /The purpose of this book is to talk 
up a revolution. Where there are rumblings already, I want to cheer them 
on. I intend to be incendiary and subversive, maybe even un-American. I 
shall probably hurt some people unintentionally; there are some I want 
to hurt. I may as well confess right now the full extent of my animus: 
there are times when, confronted with the despicable behavior of people 
in the American theater, I feel like the lunatic Lear on the heath, 
wanting to "kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!"/
My mother died two within two years of my father. I remember her saying 
about his loss, /I feel like half my body has been cut off./
Belonging to an earlier generation, my honorary grandmother, came to New 
Zealand in the 1950s. An actress, she upstaged Christmas by dying on 
that day in 2000.

Three things: Most importantly, she wanted to go to the home in England 
that is set up for theatre people, mainly actors and actresses. Maybe 
directors, like Herb, like my Dad, would not be able to stand it. She 
couldn't go and in New Zealand there is nothing like that respect for 
the second oldest profession.

So she planned for dying, aging, saying that she did not want anyone to 
have to look after her, or to feel they must. With great pragmatism she 
arranged everything. All she insisted on was that we visit her regularly 
in the nursing home where she ended up--surrounded by people with whom 
she had not the slightest thing in common.

My friend and I went and stayed with her when I was a student. Our 
bedroom was next to hers. We tried to be quiet. But in the morning we 
rose late to find she had a friend visiting. She introduced us to the 
visitor, saying about me, /He learnt to walk here. He learnt to talk 
here. Now he's learning to **** here. /Not that she was modest about the 
word. It was simply funnier not saying it.

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