"El Loco Rises"
created by
Michael McCaffery

Updated June 23, 2022

Friends 

 

I have been lucky to have some lifelong deeply satisfying relationships with some guys I knew in college.  We became very good friends, and although our backgrounds were quite different and we went our separate ways after that, we always stayed in touch and occasionally got together and had good talks and lots of fun.  We were very close.

 

As I became aware that my dementia diagnosis was terminal, I started writing about it on one of my public websites.  Eventually it was clear that the disease was moving rapidly.   I had seen those who were in the late stages of dementia, and did not want to go through with that, so I began looking for options, including medically assisted suicide, and began openly writing about that process as an option.

 

My friends are mostly very strong Catholics, and get much value from their religion.  The more I wrote (we almost never see each other), the less I heard from them, until there was nothing.  I was not sure what was happening, since there were no responses.   

 

Early one morning as I lay awake, it  began to dawn on me as to what the problem was.  I did finally find out after some intrusive online questioning that indeed that was the issue for a few of them, that their Catholic religious values and precepts prevented them from communicating further, which was validated through a third party.

 

I was stunned and surprised and curious, and after some direct and indirect inquiry found that my suspicions were correct, yet it was all over just like that, after almost sixty years, with no notice, and I found out through communication with a third party, also a lifelong friend and practicing Catholic, initiated by me.

 

This happened very recently, and I was stunned for a short while, yet not actually surprised.   While I have some understanding of the Catholic religion, and I do respect anyone with strong beliefs, depending on how much damage those beliefs justify, I was puzzled and shocked.  So two and maybe three lifetime friendships were gone, just like that, poof, with no warning or communication.

 

I saw they likely handled it properly in their eyes, and I respect those with strong moral beliefs which guide their lives.  I learned a lesson, am we are all still friends, while understanding differing values.  I think the world could learn much from them.

 

I thought this was worth writing about, perhaps as self-therapy.  This happened very recently, and I have begun to more fully understand, as I began to process and accept it.  I will also say that such a certainty of beliefs and rectitude is attractive, as it removes the difficulty of thinking for myself, and I do mean that kindly and respectfully.  I am not denigrating any one’s religion, depending of course on how much damage any belief system does to others and to society.   Almost all religions have been used, incorrectly, to damage other beings, all in my humble opinion, of course.

 

The twists and turns of life continue to amaze and astound me.  I do not blame others, and I do see how I actually was the prime cause and ultimately responsible for this, yet it is a useful lesson that was very beneficial to me.

 

I will complete this little tome with gratitude for the gift of life and friends.  Life is far too short to be spent in resentment and regret, and a bit of understanding can go a long way to cure the rampant ills of the planet that we all inhabit together.

As I write this little update on June 23, 2022, I see that my little bit of paranoid observation about my friends at the beginning of this chapter was incorrect, yet another example of this insidious disease.   All the thoughts about my friends "abandoning" me was all in my head, constructed out of nowhere, and we are planning a reunion in a few weeks to all get together.  And so it has gotten to the place where I do not trust my thinking, which bothers me greatly, since if I do not trust myself and my perceptions, what if anything can I trust?   I do not like the answer to that question.  Yet nothing is to be done other than proceed more carefully and not believe all my inner thoughts.  Big fat bummer, as we used to say in the sixties.


 

June 23, 2022

Santa Fe NM