Twenty-eight years ago, at the age of seventy-five, my grandfather contracted cancer. Not a particularly aggressive form of the disease, but a rather average, creeping version which took nearly five years to rob him of his fine physique, sharp wit and personal dignity before killing him.
There was collateral damage too: my grandmother, in perfect health when Papa initially got sick, was by his side for those five long years, slowly descending into a depression-related madness that saw her eventually moved to The Loony Bin after he passed away.
Charming stuff !!!
I guess that’s the deal with cancer; it’s not really a capricious disease that carefully chooses its victims. It’s more of an unlucky-dip…and my poor grandparents managed to draw two short sticks.
Nana died not long after Papa, a small mercy to be sure, and at her funeral my mother, knowing how close I was to them, came up to give me a pep talk.
Now, Mom isn’t really a ‘glass-half-full’ person.
Nor is she a ‘glass-half-empty’ person.
She’s more of a ‘hope-I-don’t-cut-my-lip-on the glass’ sort of person.
So, at Nana’s service, Mom told me that when she got to seventy-five years of age, I was to put her out of her misery in a humane fashion, so that she would not suffer the same fate as her parents, or become a burden to her family.
‘OK, sure thing, Mom…it would be my pleasure…and thanks for making a difficult day just that bit easier.’
‘No, I mean it. I don’t want to die like that.’
‘Um, what about if you’re in good health?’
‘No, seventy-five is a good age. No point waiting for shit to happen.’
‘I see…well can Dad do it? As far as I’m aware it’s still illegal to murder your mother, despite her request that you do so, and I’d rather not spend my last thirty years in jail for doing you a favour.’
‘No, your father will be eighty by then and probably incapable of doing up his own fly…besides that he never does anything I ask him to do. Please promise me you’ll do this for me.
Well, guess what?
It’s Mom’s seventy-fifth birthday tomorrow.
She’s in perfect health, despite smoking a packet of cigarettes a day, lives in a nice big house with a large wad of cash, has three grandchildren (courtesy of my lovely sister and her cunt of a husband) and is generally about as contented as I’ve ever known her to be. The only thing that would make her even happier would be for the apple of her eye (that would be me) to meet a wonderful chick, get married and have babies.
Well, since that’s not looking likely at this stage, as a dutiful, loving son, I suppose the sweetest thing I can do for my dear old Mom is to keep the promise I made to her all those years ago.
So, Mom…here’s wishing you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY for tomorrow…I’m off to the bedding shop to get the fluffiest pillow money can buy and I’m coming over to see you just after lunch…