What If?

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

What if I breathed my last breath today?

Would there be any significant change in the world or in life for those who know me or love me?

Would it be relief or sadness or a combination of both?

Would anyone really care that my life had finally reached a conclusion?

I am sure Chooey will wonder what to do without me. I am sure my passing will be hurtful to him. Yet I am equally certain he will survive and continue to climb the mountains of life with his new home with Kev, Hailey and Fry.

For my Mother, it will be relief. Her obligation to love and support her oldest child who has languished in illness for more than a decade will be over. The disappointment of a man who failed at everything will become just a memory that will fade with time.

For my Father, it will hit hard, having grown closer these last few months. He will display sadness that his oldest child has passed on. He will be relieved to no longer have to admit that such a poor excuse for a man was his son.

For my brothers and sister, they can breathe a sigh of relief. They no longer have the emabarassment of the weird sibling.

This brings me to my two sons.

The oldest son pretty much won’t notice. He will no longer have to pretend he has a father out there.

For my youngest son there will be feelings of grief, but at the same time relief. My youngest son will no longer have to hide because he can’t bear to watch his father joust at windmills and lose all the time.

My granddaughters will not even know. In years they may be told they had a Grandpa and that’s about it.

For both the daughers-in-law, they will no longer have to be polite to the Old Man.

At my funeral, I am sure people will be there, but not to grieve, but celebrate.

I am sure my Mother and Father will be there, more out of obligation than anything. One of my brothers and my sister may or may not show up. I can’t blame them after all I have only been an embarrassment to them.

I am not sure if the daughters-in-law will allow my sons to attend. My youngest son with his sensitivity may find it impossible to deal and just stay in Texas. My oldest son may not come because of the hardship and difficulty in taking time off from work if his wife allows.

The two mothers of my sons may very well be there. Not out of grief or respect, but to make sure I’m really dead. I am sure they both would love the opportunity to dance on my grave.

There will be no other impact on the world.

No one will notice.

No one will care.

I have left no footprint behind. History will point to me as the type of life that should have never been and use me as an example for genetic selection. Genetic selection is to determine which child to keep and which to end prior to birth. A child with my genetic makeup will find its way into the waste bin.

Yes, what if I breathed my last breath today?

That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.

And how is your Tuesday going?

Kev (front left) with some of his classmates in a picture that appeared in The Linton Daily Citizen.

Roll On!

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

Roll on down the highway of life.

When you get to a fork in the road take it.

When there are curves, lean in and accelerate.

Practice the California roll when stop signs and lights impede your progress.

Never stop.

Take it to the limit.

As the hands on the clock spin,  as the world turns, I am not vegetating, waiting for the appointed time.

Another week lies ahead.

The pages are blank, ready for words or art to be applied.

So it is in Mark’s Den at this start of the week.

And how is your Monday going?

The annual Hymera Seafood Festival is this next weekend. This is Dad and Susie on a float in previous year’s Seafood Festival Parade, picking, grinning and singing.

Sunny Side

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

As a young boy, I always found it delightful when standing on the sidewalk outside the house and see the rain falling on the other side of the street. I would rush to the center and stand half in and half out. I enjoyed the feel of the rain on one side of me and the warmth of sunshine on the other.

These days, especially since May, I have done my best to live on the sunny side of the street. A task which has not always been easy considering I am afflicted with major depression.

The past few days the clouds of despair and dismay have blotted out the sun. The rays have failed to penetrate through the hazed and the gloom. The mental instability in turn has impacted my physical well-being.

I am not treated as if I am a man who is dying, but one who is simply old and feeble, virtually on my own the majority of each day and night.

Not that Mom and Bill, Dad and Susie are not checking in on me. Not that they are not taking care of some chores and business which I cannot. But they are older than I am, which is not easy on them to do.

I have no friends to come around or younger family who check in on me or contact to see how I am doing. My only companionship is Chooey.

Now, Kev, my youngest son in Texas, does texts me or calls me to make sure I am doing well. But he’s the only one, other than my parents.

My only friends are virtual, online – not real time, real life comrades. My former CNN iReport family are gracious with their comments, messages and emails as well as other support.

Such is life.

That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.

And how is your Friday going?

My Step-Father, the late Reverend Jack L. Hollifield preaching at The LightHouse Chapel, which he founded in Dugger, IN. Can’t wait to see him again on the other side.

Slumber Disruption

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

My slumber was disrupted this morning by the squawking of my medical alert system’s control box.

I sprung from the bed faster than I should have. I rushed to the living room faster than I should have.

Mother Nature called. I rushed to the bathroom faster than I should have.

The Guardian monitor came on the line to ask if I needed assistance. I yelled from the little boys’ room I was OK. She did not hear me.

While still in the rest room, my cell phone rang. Finished, I rushed to answer faster than I should have. I missed the call from Guardian.

I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down in my recliner. My house phone rang.

It was Guardian.

I told her I was fine. My alert button had been set off accidentally.

Joe, who installed the alert system Monday, had told me this could happen while the alert sensor “learned” my body.

That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.

And how is your Thursday?

#ThrowBackThursday photo:

Four Generations: Phil, Dad holding Johnathan, Phil Jr.


Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

August is not getting off to an august start. I am struggling to kick a bout of pneumonia, which struck suddenly Sunday evening.

Now on my third day of 750 milligrams of Levaquin. So far, no respite.

The simple task of walking a few feet to the kitchen for a coffee warm-up is torture.

That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.

And how is your midweek going?

Three generations: Mom, Grandma Powell and Leticia

Feeling More Secure

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

Joe with Guardian Medical Monitoring arrived Monday morning, while Mom and Bill finished cleaning and rearranging Mark’s Den, to set up the alert and fall detection system.

What a relief to know help is now only a push away.

Around my neck now I have the button to push if at any time I need emergency assistance – medical and otherwise. The device also “learns” my habits and movements.

This surely cannot be summer!

The last week of July and the first of August has been more like October weather as the mercury has plunged well below normal. Sadly the weatherman says it will not last.

I went to bed around 2 a.m. I stumbled out of bed when I thought it was surely no earlier that 6 o’clock. Imagine my surprise when I went in the kitchen to not find the coffee ready.

Then I saw the time: 5:05.

Surely, my body will catch the three-hour nap. Most likely later this afternoon I will fall blissfully asleep in my recliner.

That’s the way it is for me.

And how is your Tuesday going?

Phil Jr. (one of the twins on his lap), Bill Kev and Jeremy playing euchre.

Alarming Sunday Night

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

A beautiful, but rainy Sunday turned as the sun went down. Fever set in. Chills brought shiver. Mucus color changed. Pneumonia struck suddenly.

Texts, private messages and phone calls followed. Dad and Susie came back in town to be with me until my nurse, Tabitha, could arrive.

My temperature rose from 100.6 to 103.9. To combat the fever, Tabitha had me take 600 milligrams of ibuprofen. It was determined I needed an antibiotic.

When I rose today, my hair was wet. Overnight the fever broke.

Tabitha returned this morning with Levaquin in a 750 milligrams dosage to  take for seven days. She also brought me a case of strawberry Boost.

Mom and Bill returned this morning to complete the cleaning job on my apartment. My great-nephew, Chevy, came along as well.

Today is turning out better than last night.

While Mom and Bill were here, Joe with Guardian arrived to setup and activate my home and button emergency alarm and fall detector. Now help is a push away. This is definitely a blessing with Iohn gone, leaving me without a caregiver.

That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.

And how is your Monday going?

Kev and Hailey headed to the prom.

Sunday Gospel: How Long Has It Been

Written by the late, great Mosie Lister, “How Long Has It Been” has always been one of my favorites.

Here I am privileged to sing it with The Crystal Valley Quartet. I am also the pianist.

Another Week Falls

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

The weeks keep falling.

I am still here.

Strength is building.

Two weeks since Iohn left.

Two weeks I have adapted.

Two weeks Mom, Dad, Susie and Bill have taken up the slack.

This afternoon they are coming out with an alert button for emergencies thanks to the Area 7 Council on Aging. Hoping the alert will work with either my VOIP phone line or cell phone. I do not have a land line.

The frozen meals I received are filling, nutritious and scrumptious. I have been pleasantly surprised. I do need assistance in hiring someone to clean and help out. Hailey and Kev set this up to provide assistance: https://www.gofundme.com/support-and-healing-for-mark-ivy 

That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.

And how is your Friday going?

Chance being silly.

Changed Plan

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

It is said that the best laid plans can go awry. So it is with the plan I had put together for today.

When I woke around 7:30, I immediately faced one of the worst mornings I have had in awhile. The pain and pressure was intense in my chest. I managed eventually to get my breathing difficulty eased.

With Chooey in tow, I drove across the street to the bank. There was a detour to take Chooey for a ride instead of a direct crossing the street. Once I had withdrawn my bill-paying cash, we crossed the highway to the gas station.

The local power company was working on the electric  lines. The gas pumps were not working. Unable to get fuel, I had to return home.

My plan to load my debit card and drive to Terre Haute to pick up my meds for the  month had to be shelved. Thankfully, Dad and Susie were on standby to assist.

That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.

And how is your Thursday going?

Dad (Grandpa Ivy) with grandsons: Phil Jr., Jeremy and Kev 1993