This is one of those posts that attempt to be some sort form of catharsis. An arm, leg, even a car can all be broken. They all can be repaired, fixed and restored to nearly new condition. I’ve begun to realize that I am not broken, it seems I am something different.
When a car is too damaged, it is sent to the scrap yard. When an arm or leg is so damaged that it will never heal, we amputate. It’s true, sometimes we save a totaled car and restore it with enough money, time, parts, and effort. All sorts of prosthetics are available to replace missing limbs. I ask what happens when a whole person has exceeded being broken. Beyond limbs or parts, when a person’s brain is in such a condition that the act of living the life they have strived for is not possible. We must ask ourselves what that looks like, what it feels like, and most importantly is there any way to repair or restore it.
We all will inevitably die. From the most biological standpoint we are born to reproduce to propagate the species, then die. From a societal perspective, we include the biological point and add the expectation that we do things in our lifetime to make the world better for everyone. Then comes religious theology, which acknowledges the first to points and even makes them expected in some sense. Rules of morality and the expectation that if one has lived according to the tenets of their faith, then their soul will forever live on.
Can a soul be broken? Can you damage a soul beyond repair; even destroy it? I sit here alone, watching the Olympic Games, movies, news, and I find my eyes welling up with tears over some of the oddest things. I can not place the trigger for these sudden bouts of watery eyes and shuddering chest convulsions that have really only surfaced in times of great personal loss. Until recently crying was reserved for funerals and, apologetically, watching Forrest Gump when Jenny passes away.
I am physically broken, mentally broken, and emotionally unstable. If I were a car, no matter how nice, I would be considered a total loss. People say that one can be broken, which clearly implies repairable. When someone is destroyed, what do we do? When there is no more joy in life for them, is it really living? When they become a burden on their loved ones, society, and everyone else, what are we to do? We all could die at any moment. We have all heard about bucket lists and no regrets, but in the end it seems fear of death is the most basic essence of living. What if that primal fear vacates a person? A person who can no longer live their life, fulfill their obligations to their self or to others, and has no joy in whatever they can do? That person is destroyed, to be amputated from society, dragged to the salvage yard and have whatever good parts removed and reused elsewhere. Alas, we refuse to do that to people, so instead I sit here, useless, rotting away, empty, hollow, waiting for the inevitable. The phrase “get busy living or get busy dying” for the Shawshank Redemption always seemed like an inspirational quip, until I realized I can no longer live but I’m not allowed to die. What a schismatic existence to endure.
The Twisted Cripple