Let’s Talk About Death

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time with someone who was dying. This isn’t unusual for me. I work with a lot of elderly people and when I was young my family instilled in me that death is a natural thing and nothing to be afraid of. It’s not a taboo subject in my opinion, and it isn’t something I find frightening. Now, I’m not religious and I don’t necessarily believe in an afterlife, but death just doesn’t something that fazes me.

But yesterday was different. What took me aback was just how normal and happy the person seemed. Usually when you think of someone dying you imagine a pale face, sunken cheekbones, breathing that sounds like a death rattle, a voice coming from a throat that hadn’t felt water down it in the longest time. But no, there was none of that. This person did not look like someone who was dying at all. They didn’t look sick or unhealthy. Really they looked like someone who had just woken up from a nap, not at all like the vision of death you would think, or the picture had been described to me.

Something about life ending just seems so alien for a human brain to comprehend, no matter how much I tell myself I understand it or that I tell you how used I am to it. All I could really say to the person was “I’ll see you soon”. I know that is of course a lie, unless time doesn’t exist in any afterlife that I don’t believe in. But I knew for certain, that it would be the last time I saw this person.

I closed the door softly, without much of a goodbye. I didn’t trust myself to give one. I’m now just waiting for the news to come that this person has passed on. I won’t be happy and I won’t be sad, at least not for long. Death doesn’t bring out great displays of emotion in me. It will be a momentary blow and then, quiet acceptance.

I suppose writing this is an act of catharsis, of trying to get my nonsensical feelings out in some way. Like life, I’m not really sure where it goes…

But to the person to whom this post refers, all I can say is so long and farewell my friend. If there is any sort of life after this one, maybe I will see you just like I promised. Until then, I will do my best to live, and cherish your memory, or your wit, whichever you think is most important.

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