The End of The Beast


She lies abed now in a hospice. The Beast — my ex-wife — has 2-4 months left to live, at best. She has cancer. Pancreatic cancer, metastasized to the liver plus double pneumonia and blood clots in her left lung. Two weeks ago today the Beast took a fall at her home and laid on the floor for two days as she crawled to the table where she pulled the phone to the floor and dialed 9-1-1.

Those who deal with her tell me she had been dramatically losing weight for at least two months. She was not eating nor hydrating and her color was bad.

The Beast and I had been married for six and one-half miserable, hateful, soul-crushing years that seemed like twenty. At the end, we each loathed every atom of the other’s being. Thankfully, I haven’t seen her in decades (forty-six years seems about right.)

My dissatisfaction with the Beast was primarily due to her shrewish persona which was manifested by ceaseless complaining, condemning and criticizing — that, and her pathological frigidity! These, as you might suspect, are the reasons behind the appellation.

But she is at the end of her days now. Frankly, I think when the news comes that the old bod is going to switch off, the old animas disappears like a bad fog burning off. We realize we are just human beings who ran the race and now that it’s over, it’s all immaterial; we can afford to be charitable and let the whole thing pass. You know, like sitting at the nineteenth hole, schmoozing and buying beers.

And so I wish her a good death. Free of fear. Free of dread. Free of pain. Yet full of love and bon home from kith and kin.

I believe the girls will do their best to be in attendance when the Beast is in extremis. I’ve gone so far as to ask Christine to check with the ex and find out if she might like a phone call for old times’ sake. It might give the both of us a sense of closure — actually, my sense of closure was achieved forty-five years ago but Christine tells me the Beast still stews over me.

In any case, it’ll all soon be over. I said a prayer for her today and will say kaddish when she goes.

By the way, her name is Judie.

-Merlin-

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