[the Writing of Kuypers][JanetKuypers.com][Bio][Poems][Prose]




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get it over with, 2005

09-17-98, turned to prose 09-12-05

I wonder how much time would have to pass before the hurting would stop hurting, and when you’d start to think that everything was okay and that you for no reason could be happy out of the blue. I wonder how much time would have to pass before you got to that point, where the world seemed good again and you could just move on with life and get it over with.
Sometimes I think about the number of people who I have cared about and who have turned around on me and died. It doesn’t seem fair when you think about death on those terms, but it is kind of sad when you think about it that way. My father’s parents died when I was younger, and my brother’s ex-wife died, too. And I’ve seen friends go off to war, when I was sure they were going to die, and they came back, just fine. And I’ve seen people that I’ve cared about become hospitalized after they were hit be a car. No, I don’t suppose much of it is very happy or anything. Well, death as a rule isn’t very happy or anything, and no one likes to think about death, not their own death or anyone else’s. So how do we get to that point, where the pain from such a potentially awful experience disappears from inside you. How many years does it take for that pain to be acknowledged before it can be forgotten so everything can be better?
I asked my mother today when someone I cared about died, I mean, what time of year did he die? You see, I couldn’t remember being sad because he was dead or anything, and I couldn’t think of what time of year it had happened. And my mother seemed shocked by my question, and she responded by saying, “he’s not dead.” And then it all came back to me, that he didn’t die, that he was fine.
After I had that discussion with my mother, it had occurred to me that I should have mourned him, that I should have been sad, that no one seemed to miss him. It occurred to me then that I was missing a huge void in my life, and that I didn’t know how to fill in all the gaps in my life that I was starting to feel and just starting to miss.
I only have another 60 years of this feeling in my life to go, if all goes according to plan.
I sometimes think about all of the times in my life where I have missed something that should have been important, something that could have made me laugh. Those moments come all too frequently, sometimes. Sometimes you just forget life, what you’re living life for, and life passes you by and you feel like you’ve got nothing to show for all the years that you’ve lived that you can’t remember. I wonder how many people that happens to, unexpectedly.
Today I thought of someone who died recently, and I thought that it would be nice if they just came up to me and made an effort to surprise me and they tried to come up with conversation and they tried to make me laugh. And after I had thought about that for a moment I thought, wait, he’s dead, he’s not going to do what he used to do, and I’m going to have to remember him this way. I didn’t like that idea at all, come to think of it. I wanted him to just be him, and I wanted him to crack a joke and make me laugh and be his usual self.
I think my problem is that I just don’t want people to stop being themselves. I want to remember that people can laugh, and crack jokes, and be senseless and silly, sometimes, like I like to be.
Well, to put it all that way, I suppose I just wanted him to be alive. I get tired of thinking of people as being dead, when they didn’t deserve their fates and they deserved to live on. I just get angry to think that people who didn’t deserve this got this, and it was awful luck, so to speak, and that they needed more. Those are the times when I try to make myself remember what they liked and how they lived.
Well, that doesn’t make me feel much better, but I try to think of the good stuff anyway.
Sometimes I wonder about things like that. Who is it harder on when someone dies? Is it harder on the ones who have to die? Or is it harder on the survivors who have to live with only a handful of memories?
When I almost died, I didn’t think about death. I mean, I was unconscious, I was in a coma. But when I felt like I was starting to feel normal again, well, all I could think about then was that I had to get better. I had to teach myself how to eat. And how to walk. And talk. And I had to get out of that wheelchair that the teachers wanted to keep me seated in, even though I felt fine. When people tried to make me different from who I was, well, that’s when I learned how to have my own set of rules, and because everyone wants you to conform, I also learned not to tell anyone about my rules. No one would want to hear my stupid little rules, anyway. They’ll have to learn about their own rules on their own time.
Death is a pretty scary subject. It can cover a bunch of different territories that the average person isn’t ready for. Even when some of us think we have it all together, well, that’s when someone throws us the curve ball of death to tell us that we might have been wrong, that we might not have been prepared for everything.
How do you prepare for something like this, though? What do you do?




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Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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