Ostomy Memories of First & Last


THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING, the first day of summer, the first day the baby walked, these occasions get all the plaudits and the second day gets nothing. Nobody remembers or even cares about the second of anything. It’s a damn shame. Who remembers the second time in their life that they had sex? Or the second time they drove a car? It’s only the first time that achieves recognition and enduring remembrance.
Ballplayers remember their first home run, not their second. The second time around the bases doesn’t have the same cachet, the same historical significance.
“In the first is the last” wrote Robert Browning, and I suspect that what he meant was that after the first, no one pays that much attention. Once you’ve broken the ice and gotten off zero, the other times simply don’t count for as much.
Perhaps there are instances when things happen so fast, it’s difficult to resurrect the exact order or the proper identities of the parties. “Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third—“
So I mourn the passing of firsts. After a certain age, one begins to anticipate not firsts but lasts. The last time one had sex; the last time one drove a car; the last time one looked up at the attending medical professional, grinned, and whispered, “And now for something completely different.”


Hello HenryM.

Thank you for another astute observation on the human condition.
I often think of these sorts of ‘firsts’ as the beginning of journeys. Of course, the beginnings of journeys are significant, and we all must be aware of the term ‘closure’, when one of these journeys come to and end. Very often, these firsts and lasts are ritualised in annual commemorations, so they get even more embedded in the memory. Many people constantly recall and refer to the beginning and end of their journeys, others are more interested in sharing their experiences and observations along the way.

I am one of the few who do not annually ‘celebrate’ things like birthdays, so I often failed to remember just how old I was (or am) . However, as I travel the journey of life, I do try to capture the concepts in verse. Thus, Although I cannot recall the actual event, I will share with you the rhyme addressing the very start of my own journey:
Best wishes


There I was with other sperm,
all racing to be free.
Thoughtless, mindless little worm
gets trapped in ovary.

I joined an egg so naturally,
was this just meant to be?
That I should rush so readily
to change identity.

The curtains part, life’s stage is set,
thus, came the little me,
as from restrictive womb, all wet
I struggled to be free.

I must escape and find a way
where no restrictions lie,
through DREAMS it seems I get away
and I can walk or fly.

This is a place I love to be,
where I can be alone.
A world of thinking, inside me
that no one else can own.

                              B.Withers 1989
                                 (In ‘Evidence’)

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