I was catching up with Momma Jackson last night. Like every other conversation, we both asked “So what’s been going on?” at the same time. And like Momma always does, she responded with “Oh nothing. What you been up to lately?” My response: work, writing, running websites, fatigue. Since she doesn’t cruise the net, tweet, or tag me in embarrassing childhood photos on Facebook, there’s no point in me going into too much detail about the online stuff. Her response: “I’m proud of you.” It doesn’t matter how much she understands about whatever I’m telling her. She always offers a pick me up as if she can sense when I’m weary without hearing a modicum of struggle in my voice. Then again, I guess that’s expected. That’s what moms do. Sense shit. (Don’t tell her I said shit though.)
Anyway, once she’s done mm-hmming, I-knowing, and reminiscing about the daily struggle pre-retirement, I ask her again about what’s been going on. And that’s when I usually get the truth, however brief it may be. It’s one of those things where I cross my fingers before she says a word, in hopes of making whatever possible bad news there may be disappear. Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of those calls.
MJ: I got some bad news.
SJ: What happened? *stomach turns*
MJ: Jeffrey’s not doing too well.
SJ: *relieved yet saddened* Oh man. What’s going on with him?
MJ: He went to see the doctors in Buffalo about his cancer. There’s nothing they can do.
SJ: I’m sorry to hear that. *legit deep sigh* Have you seen him lately? I haven’t seen him in years. You should go soon because you never know…
MJ: No. I’m gonna go see him on Thursday. I got your nephew for the next couple days.
Baby Slim: Oh, you mean my replacement?
MJ: *chuckle followed by tangent about something cute my lil nephew did*
This has become the pattern of my conversations with mom. She delivers the news of someone’s passing or terminal sickness. We take a moment to discuss and express our sympathies between each other. I make some semi-humorous and unrelated comment. She takes the hook and we talk about something more pleasant. Next time we chat, I really need to tell her to stop using the “I got some bad news” line. I’m already one parent down. So the thought of losing the other…I just don’t want that thought unless I absolutely need to have that thought. But I’m gonna pray I don’t need to have that thought until I see Jesus in some shades rolling through the hood on a cloud…listening to Rick Ross.
But this conversation reminded me of how as I’m getting older, so are all the people that were old when I was young. I’ve seen and heard about a lot of death over the last ten years. Nearly every passing has been from cancer, complications from another condition like kidney failure, and stuff like heart attacks.
I look at what’s in my family and it scares me. I don’t come from a long line of Klumps. But I know enough that if I don’t make some changes in my life today, I could end up expediting health conditions that could’ve been avoided. Besides, I’m not getting any younger. And genetics don’t sleep. They wait.
I’ve thought about my dad a lot since my birthday in March. A birthday I reluctantly celebrated as I heard the echo of his voice from a time when he wasn’t confined to a hospital bed or wheelchair. I thought about how he ended up there and the condition he was in when he died a day before his birthday and the day before I was supposed to see him to celebrate.
I don’t want someone to have to rush to see me. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, hospital bed, or hospice care. And I don’t think it was a coincidence that I heard his voice back in March and have continued to hear it since. From where he is, he’s seen me do many of the same things he used to. I sorta think he doesn’t want me getting too close to the tree. So I’m gonna try to stay away from the bark.
I’m not gonna make any promises of grand change in this post. I’m gonna stop doing that here. I still believe in speaking things into existence, but major change doesn’t happen overnight. It happens day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. So I’m not giving up cheeseburgers and fried goodness. I’m not giving up bountiful plates of crab meats and cracked lobster. I’m not giving up Pinnacle Whipped Vodka and orange juice. I just want to cut back. Moderation is my homie.
There’s some other stuff in store that I’ll tell you about in a future post that’s contributing to this thought train. But for now, just know that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I’m looking forward to one of the most productive springs and summers I’ve had since I graduated from Cornell back in 2005. We shall see what the future brings and I shall keep you posted. Stay tuned.
Trying to Get My Writing Groove Back,
P.S. I’ll be on the Naked Radio Show (fully clothed) this evening at 10pm ET. To tune in and catch me, Mr. Spradley from SBM, and Anslem from Naked With Socks On, go to PNCRadio.fm. If you need to stream from mobile, bookmark this link and you’ll be good to go. Should be a dope time! Catch yall later.