I was talking privately with some fellow author friends yesterday — guys I’ve known for over twenty years now. Guys who I have representations of tattooed on my back. Those kind of friends.
Anyway, they were talking about growing older, and the changes everyone is going through, and the possibility of death. This was all inspired by the fact that another of our friends who is also our age was recovering from open heart surgery.
This is a slight permeation of what I wrote. I’ve taken out a few personal details, and changed the names of my sons (my oldest is referred to as Grunge and his little brother is referred to as Turtle), and added a few things to clarify, but the rest stays intact. I’m posting it here because I owe you a Blog entry today, and I’d like to do one that’s not just a link to other things, and also because I’m worried that my thoughts on suicide (which are voiced in tonight’s episode of my podcast) will be misconstrued/misunderstood by some listeners.
“Truth is, boys — I’m ready for it. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want it to happen. I don’t want to die. Turtle is too young to put through that, and truthfully, being his Dad? It’s the thing I’m best at and the best thing I’ve ever done.
But between Pic and Jesus and Jason and everybody else that has passed recently, the fact is — we ain’t kids anymore. Yes, anyone can die at any time, but as we get older, the odds change. As someone who has spent his life beating the odds, I’m all too aware that they’re getting more and more difficult.
With that in mind, I half expect it at anytime. When Coop showed up at the studio yesterday to record the podcast, my heart was giving me trouble. It gave me trouble throughout the broadcast. And that’s with meds, exercise, eating right, etc.
So, I’ve got my shit in order — literary estate, instructions for the rest of Jesus’s literary estate, regular will, Turtle’s college, etc.
I hope it won’t be soon. I’d like to see Turtle graduate and become whatever it is he wants to be. I’d like Grunge to make me a grandpa in a few years, if he’s ready. I’d like to get a Lifetime Achievement Award.
But if it happens, I’ll be at peace with it, because I’ve accomplished what I set out to do, and my kids love me, and my exes have forgiven me my sins. I’ve had a pretty spectacular run. I’ve had some amazing adventures. I’ve seen almost all the world. I’ve laughed and drank far from home. I’ve had more than my fair share of romantic partners (not as many as Lemmy, but its not like I was out to break a record) and have been lucky enough to have loved many and been loved by many. I’ve cheated death, I’ve been to jail, I’ve driven fast into the sunrise, walked slowly into the sunset, walked through forests and deserts and everything in between, and danced naked in a few of them, too. I’ve held babies and puppies. I’ve gotten wisdom from both the old and the young. When I was a kid, I wanted to walk on Mars, and I still do, but other than that, there’s nothing I truly desired to do that I haven’t already done. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write things that brought people joy. Here I am.
So, no, I don’t want to die. I may be afraid when it happens. But I’m also at peace with it if it happens. I’m at peace with the certainty that it will come. I’ve had a spectacular run. Anything from here on out is just gravy…”