The Living Dead Man


“Do you take guest posts?” he asked me when I walked in the front door this afternoon. “I can, who wants to post on it?”

What follows are thoughts from my husband. He doesn’t share them often, you should all feel honored.

********************

“He had multiple sclerosis,” said the very thin old man to the buyer of his brother’s roll-top desk.

The past tense caught my eavesdropping ear, for the person he spoke of this way is not a dead man. He’s living. Living with multiple sclerosis, and living with Alzheimer’s, but living nonetheless.

Yet his family, the neighbors, and I, we stand here on his lawn, with his possessions carelessly scattered about us, the door to his house standing wide open. He is not here, this living man. He sits in a nursing home unknown to me, where he probably doesn’t own the very blanket he sleeps under. Meanwhile we rummage through his property looking for “deals.” A young woman will sit at his desk tomorrow. A younger man will cut a younger man’s yard with his lawnmower. A heavy set man will wear the very clothes that this man wore not very long ago. A young couple will live in his house.

And because he is not here; because he is unable to care for himself; because he can’t remember; simply because he is very old, we buy and sell his things and refer to him in the past tense, in the dead tense. This is the end of the path named “American Dream,” and it is a sad, sad place. What is the benefit of a home and possessions when this is their end?

I think of how the wise man must leave his possessions for another, “and who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor.”

How can I but concur with the writer that all this is vanity?

It is depressing to think that one day sixty years from now, I may be the living-dead man sitting in the home while brothers and nephews I can no longer remember sell my possessions to strangers.

Perhaps, I think, I should have my own garage sale now and save them the trouble.

********

Highlighting our differences… I got to the next to last sentence and thought well, might as well really enjoy what I have before someone else gets it! And he thinks, sell it all. No, love, I still want my things, even if it is vanity.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Living Dead Man

  1. Amber

    Thanks for the guest post JJ! It was rather depressing, all the more so because it is so true. I agree with Heather though– I’d rather not have the garage sale just yet.

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