Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book about death called "Nothing To Be Frightened Of" by Julian Barnes amuses and stimulates

My sister Margie bought this book as her husband is 90 and in a care center now, and she is trying to get ideas on how to handle the end times. She says her husband Floyd called her last night and told her he was ready to come home now, this despite the fact he has to sleep in a bed that restrains him from getting up and falling on the floor. At home enough help can't be kept around to get him back on his feet. Besides there is the fear he will break something and make matters worse. So she had to ignore his pleas when she came to see him. He has actually been very active I think in his eighties, going to basketball games even and cheering for Margie's basketball playing grandsons. He has gone to the homecomings of their Mormon Missions. He has visited with his brothers and his kids who sometimes came daily. She says he has finally begun talking a little about dying since that appears to be what he is doing, but at a leisurely pace.
I am amused by this book Margie bought which is by an English author who is more urbane and intellectual than we are used to our authors being in this country. I am enjoying some of the stories he is telling about the dying writers like Flaubert and Voltaire, and composers like Ravel who was still capable of composing music in his old age but would forget that he had composed the piece and would even ask who had in some instances. Imagine forgetting that you had composed great music. Once they were clapping for him after a piece of his was played and he thought they were clapping for whoever had composed it and he joined in. He thought it was great. He was looking around for the composer.
Julian Barnes discusses a great many ideas about whether we continue to exist, whether God exists, and the truth of religion, in extremely witty fashion.
I have systematically been going through the thrillers down in the little but well stocked library here in this complex. Since so many of these thrillers have been top sellers I decided I needed to know what America was reading. I haven't read thrillers in years, and have run onto some that are quite good. I can zip through most of these in a day. Well they are a far cry from this book I must say, although it has not been tough going it is so entertainingly written. I wish I had this guy for a friend. If he was any closer I would try sending him an e-mail of appreciation.
None of the thrillers have so far inspired me to blog about them, although I might send off one or two of the best ones for Christmas presents.
But I would like to quote what the Boston Globe reviewer says about this book, "Barnes is a writer of impulsive insights, many of them remarkable...of humane irony, antic imagination, and unsettling perceptiveness. He constructs a many-leveled scaffolding of argument, memoir, literary reference, and musings all around the dark pit."
So saying I had a seven hour visit from a spirit the other night. I wonder what Barnes would say about that claim. I usually write what they say down, but I was already tired from writing, so we just talked back and forth without benefit of documentation. This visit was from my first husband's brother who I had called just after I got out of a week in a psych ward where I landed when I tried to help Dean who was threatening to commit suicide. Yes, I got locked up instead. Well, heck, it is a lot easier to lock up the wife than a soldier in the U.S. Air Force who denies he ever said what he did. I could have given them such a good case for his mental illness, so I was extremely incensed that I had been locked up instead. I even had a two month baby at home I had left for what I thought was a possible two hour mission to try to help my troubled husband before I returned home. I was too scared of him to stay. I had had to leave him when I was five months pregnant because he made a very serious attempt to murder me and almost succeeded.
All feeling had ceased after five hours of torture. He had his hands around my throat. I thought I was on my way out. And at the last possible moment a light came down and I could see an angel hovering there and was feeling ecstasy because I was going home. I was remembering Stephan stoned to death with his hands uplifted toward heaven, seeing visions. I was thinking of all people who had been murdered, what they must have seen and felt in their last moments. I know that I must have reflected what I saw in my eyes because my husband suddenly removed his hands from my neck, threw me back on the bed, and said that he would kill me but it would do no good.
I recall having spasms for at least two hours as a reaction to what I had gone through. I felt I was still in great danger of dying. If he tried to stop the spasms, I thought I could still die.
My ex husband was drunk, I thought in a full blown psychotic episode. I never really described this experience to his family. I just did not have the strength. They were too resistant. And my husband would always claim he had no memory of what he did during these violent episodes. Maybe he had a way of deleting the memory. He did appear at times to be in a blackout. He was only 20. Would his family have been willing to believe he was that bad so young?
I doubted it. So I found myself telling his brother the whole story and found that he was very knowledgeable about the alcoholism in his family. He had lived across the street from his alcoholic dad and step mother for years and he had been 8 years old when his mother died. After a breakdown of his own in the service, he had made up his mind to quit drinking and he did, but I did not think my husband was anywhere close to being ready to quit drinking. Despite what his family may have imagined.
I thought they believed he had married the wrong woman. If he had married his high school sweetheart she would have taken him to church, as his brother's wife took him, and he would have quit.
I asked his brother if he thought Dean would have quit that easy. He said no. He said contrary to what they thought I did not drink. I was the daughter of an alcoholic but had vowed never to get a drinking problem, but I just would not have taken him to church. Still I went to church a lot more than he did. He never went to church once that I can remember while we were married.
As a matter of fact after we were divorced he did marry his high school sweatheart and did quit drinking for quite a long time, and attended church. Fine. I was glad that he quit, but I thought his family just used that excuse not to help at all while he was married to me.
His brother said he was sorry that it appeared that way, as he believed that I was a smart woman and that his brother was actually lucky to have had the experience of being married to me! Well, thanks even if he said it in spirit form, I appreciated it.
It felt good finally to have the chance to talk to him about Dean and therefore my sons by Dean, Raymond and Gary, and their drinking problems. We just had a straight talk about what happened back then. He said he was there to help any way he could.
When I really do have a near death experience, I feel compelled to tell what happened, might add to the general knowledge about what occurs when death may be imminent.
My near death experiences led to easier access to spirits. I could also pick up danger in dreams. I scared my kids many times with warning dreams. I am just reporting what happened, make of it what you will.

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