"...to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
That's the last line of Tennyson's poem Ulysses, which describes the discontent of the Trojan War hero on his return home, and his determination to face old age on his own terms.
"...it may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
it may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
and see the great Achilles, whom we knew."
In this journey to death by vicious illness that I would never have chosen, there are things I am learning...one of those is that to the people physically around me, I have become the illness.
It's the sum total of what I represent, and contribute.
But there's so much more...
"Tho' much is taken, much abides, and tho'
we are not now that strength which in old days
moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are."
I can still do things that few others can do; I was a master metalworker. Those skills may largely be in abeyance, but they are not lost. It may take a week or even two to do what once took a day...but I can still do it.
But I am defined, for others, by something I abhor, and if I want to retain something more, it has to be my job to seek it out again.
To find it.
And never, ever to yield.
Even if no one is looking.
These are getting tougher and tougher to write...I've got to go deeper, and there are things I might rather not share. But I HAVE to.
Otherwise, I'll be writing, living - and dying - a lie.