More often than not, this is my escape from doing nothing. I quickly end up doing nothing if I’m left by myself. Doing nothing can be good. I think it’s essential to do nothing once in a while. It restores you. We’re probably more like computers than we like to admit. We need to empty the cache every now and then.

Yet I flee from nothing and end up here, doing something. I suppose you could often call it doing nothing, but it’s not nothing. It’s something. And it’s something good. I used to just sit down with a joystick in my hands and a playstation in front of me. Admitted: I do miss those days, but my playstation is dead and I haven’t bought a new one yet. So I try to take what I can from life-without before I’m back in its grip. And this way I force myself to write. Write, write, write. There’s nothing better than writing. It’s a way to create a world that can be anything you want it to. Especially when the real world isn’t all it could be. Especially not these day.

I really need to disappear to some other place where there isn’t illness in the family and assignments overdue and a body to feed. I’m bummed. And it is all happening so fast. And it shouldn’t. I don’t mind death. I know it’s what makes life special. But of course it hits you. And when it hits you so fast, it hits you harder.

Somehow life is just an escape from nothing for as long as we can keep it at a distance. We always try to keep ourselves active, try to find things that give a certain meaning to life. Doing nothing is supposed to give no meaning. But I do think there is meaning to be found in nothing. If there isn’t meaning in nothing, there isn’t meaning in something. I believe the two give each other meaning, and I think they are equally important. The nothing at the end of life, that’s what gives meaning to all the something’s. And the something’s in life give meaning to the nothing at the end.

He will be gone soon. I am trying to imagine what that knowledge must be like. Knowing you have just a few days left. Would you even believe it if you were told you had two weeks left? One thing is to hear it about other people, you can understand that: that’s medical statistics. When people suffer from this or that, they will have this or that many days left. But hearing it about yourself. It must seem so surreal. I don’t think people are designed to believe they are part of the statistics. We always believe ourselves to be the ones who can beat the numbers. Statistics don’t apply to me.

But he will be gone soon, and I have no idea what that feels like. It’s all happened so fast. Three months ago and no one would have thought this man could go down before he entered his late 80s. It was his 70th birthday Wednesday. It’s old. When I look at it like that, 70 is old. But age is such a different thing from person to person. And this is a very young 70-year-old. Mostly it’s just shocking that things could turn so bad so quickly.

I love the way he is taking it. He has never been the overly sentimental type, and this hasn’t turned him around. He cries, yes. But we all do. That’s what nothing does. It makes us cry. Cry because we know, once you go to that real kind of nothing, you don’t go back. And that’s overwhelmingly sad. But he is smiling. And he makes us smile. And I think that’s the best thing that can happen, that we can spend however much time we have left smiling and laughing together.

Together we can lighten up the room and keep the something’s coming.


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