What a week, the Easter bunny has been and gone. Workplaces reopened, and the world continued to turn. Tuesday evening, my mother called, alerting me to the news that one of my uncles had succumbed to prostate cancer. Just making it through his last Easter, I’m unsure if his grandchildren could visit him in his hospital bed. I know the other week I wasn’t able to see him. Prince Philip recently spent a month in the hospital; the world told he was in better health, his death a sad moment to those who follow the monarch. I don’t personally. I wish for the royal family to be demolished. But for the prince, he was a humble man, a flawed man, who stayed faithful to his wife, one to be remembered. This morning I awoke to more saddening news, and that is that American rapper DMX has passed away due to a heart attack. Having grown up with his music, it hurts to see a fellow addict succumbing in the end.
“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge it has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”– Edgar Allan Poe.
It’s the two subjects that clash, death, and addiction. Death, the ultimate taker of life, and its equally damaging brother Addiction. I have noticed in life that almost everyone suffers from an addiction of some kind or another. Sure some are more life-threatening than others.
“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.”– Carl Gustav Jung.
I know addiction is rampant in my life. I have my primary habits and then others to curve me away from my devils, even when I don’t even try. My wife commented on DMX’s death while I watched a CNN clip on Youtube. It was along the lines of, ‘he couldn’t have been a recovered addict if he had slipped back in.’ Don’t take me word for word there; I had to then say to my wife that DMX himself had said, “it’s a constant fight every day.” I relate. My addictions to smoking and alcohol and sex pull at me every single day.
On top of that, I find myself getting addicted to the simplest things; if I start a new game, television show, art, I become so engrossed in it I forget almost anything else around me. Although they are usually short-lived, it makes it hard when you want to write, and another substance drags you down into their world.
“I admire addicts. In a world where everybody is waiting for some blind, random disaster, or some sudden disease, the addict has the comfort of knowing what will most likely wait for him down the road. He’s take some control over his ultimate fate, and his addiction keeps the cause of his death from being a total surprise.”– Chuck Palahniuk
My uncle had his passions; I guess, in a way, they were also his addictions. He used to have bees, creating honey for us when we were kids, his most recent love, orchids, and he had a lot. My aunt recently gave them away cheaply to members of a group he belonged to, the empty greenhouses once full, keeping him busy, now a ghost town of memories. Although his addiction to his beloved plants didn’t kill him, it would have been hard for him to surrender his love, life, and home to a vicious disease.
“There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away.”– Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
Death has always gotten my attention. Those moments of your final breath, what are the thought patterns, what do you see? What is the last moment like? Peaceful, Painful, Harrowing?
I guess I will know when my time is up. Till then, I will let Earl Simmons say the last words.
Thanks for reading,
“I just find myself happy with the simple things. Appreciating the blessings God gave me.”Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons 1970 – 2021