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Philip is dead [Dec. 22nd, 2005|01:37 am]
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Philip's been dead, actually, for some decades; but we just found out about it this weekend.

Philip's the boyfriend Marsha hitchhiked with from New York City to Berkeley in the early 70s. She used to call me Philip, sometimes. One of the symptoms of the M.S. is word substitutions like that (or more confusingly, "cold" for "hot" or vice-versa). I think by the time we knew that, she had stopped calling me Philip -- he and I were no longer in the same category for her.

She'd been talking about him a bit, and eventually mentioned that she'd had no luck googling him. I looked in Yahoo People expecting to find too many of him, but there were none -- his last name is apparently not common. A google search found a New York city high school's 40th reunion page that listed him "In Memorium", and a page of Social Security death notices from Berkeley. Marsha semi-recognized the high school (prestigious and in NYC) and she knew he was living in Berkeley. It's within the realm of possibility that Marsha's Philip isn't the one who died, but that would be a lot of coincidence to swallow. Sometimes the wonders of the Internet are not easy to take.

I only know him from Marsha's stories, but I miss him. I wish I could have met him. I wish he was still alive; and I wish Marsha could see him again.

She's been listening to a song by the Scottish group Silly Wizard that helped her cry for Philip, and for her friend Sunny, who also died too young:
Hame, hame, hame, O hame fain wad I be--
O hame, hame, hame, to my ain countree!

When the flower is i' the bud and the leaf is on the tree,
The larks shall sing me hame in my ain countree;
Hame, hame, hame, O hame fain wad I be--
O hame, hame, hame, to my ain countree!
Sunny died very suddenly -- an epileptic seizure caused her to stop breathing long enough that she was essentially brain dead, and the rest of her body followed in a few days.

Philip, I assume, lingered. Heroin addict, back in the eighties, getting Social Security disability -- you do the math. Lingered, but Marsha survives him as she survives Sunny. I think it's better she did; I think life is still sweet for her.

She's had a mild fever these last two days, 99 point something. She's not confused, exactly, but she's very tired. She's been using the iTunes Repeat button to play Hame, Hame, Hame over and over again, and also a song by Procul Harum. She's asked me to explain that button three or four times, both days. I've done my best, but I think she can't see it well, and the visual feedback is nothing to write home about: the button has two arrows pointing at each other in a circle that are blue (for repeating all songs in a playlist), blue with a digit 1 in a circle (for repeating one song), or gray (for no repetition).

But three days ago I wouldn't have had to explain it more than once.

I seem to go through the cycle of grief in jig time these days. Denial and anger were for yesterday. I saw she wasn't really responding, and took her temperature, but it was hard to adjust to the overnight change in her. And I left before I might have because Marsha's roommate had an Adam Sandler movie on, and I just couldn't stand sitting there looking at Marsha (who had her headphone on and was listening to Procul Harum, not Adam Sandler) while an idiotic movie was distracting me.

I didn't have to leave; I could have asked the roommate to turn down the damned movie, or plugged another set of headphones into the Mac and listened to Procul Harum myself. I was angry, not at Adam Sandler (however annoying he may be) but at Marsha or the M.S. or the universe. I didn't want to stay.

Today is for grief. Today I couldn't look at Marsha without my eyes brimming with tears, though she herself seemed happy enough, just (as I said) very tired. Acceptance tomorrow, I hope, and maybe for a few days more before I start the cycle all over.

Bargaining I seem to skip, unless the pretense that I can plan for longer than a week is a negotiating position.
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