Impending doom. The lights are going to go out. The song is going to end. The next thing you will get is a phone call letting you know that it is over.
The grinding moments in between. The lost words, the tears, the sound of your own sobbing. Wishing you were there doing your part, able to say good bye, able to hold their hand. And that’s you.
Gasping, bleeding out, struggling for clearer thought, hooked up to a machine, surrounded by strangers, or worse… no one. Alone in every way that counts. What were the words? The last words you said? Who did you say them to? Who did you miss? Was there anything that really mattered left to forgive? Are your parents proud? Did you tell your children what mattered? You didn’t get to say good bye to your best friend. And you know… the next time the staff send word your family, you won’t be there anymore.
Not just for the loss, but what comes after. Having to go on without that person. And where are they? Will you get to say any kind of good bye?
That was life back in 1437 for me. Being bitten isn’t as romantic as it sounds. I was in love, he bit me and left me in the street bleeding. I couldn’t understand why I was beaten half to death after being bitten and left for dead. I was out of my own country, out trying to make a better life for myself so I could bring my children. I woke up in a hospital gasping for breath, with a pumping kind of contraption strapped to me because all of my organs had failed and they were about to perform an autopsy on me.
I ran, booked travel home, and although my family was relieved that the notice they received was wrong it was only a matter of a few years before my family was wiped out by a warlord, that I disposed of personally, who invaded my village when I once again was out of town trying to improve our chances.
The point is that my family suffered a great deal in the time between being told that I was dead and my showing up again. I too suffered a great deal in dying and coming back to life. I eventually got picked up by Primus’ people, but everybody was so spread out that it took years for them to find me.
So, sure I can do the keepsake thing and keep certain grief to myself and lie to myself when needed. But, that moment of fear never left me. The fear of knowing that I was going to die alone and the fear I saw in the eyes of my children when they told me what they had been through waiting to hear if I was still alive… it’s a special kind of torture.
These days technology speeds it all up and people wait by the phone, knowing that they won’t find out until after their loved one is gone. But, that fear and agony will still be there for both sides. Especially during a pandemic.
My heart goes out to you. My glass is raised for your loved one. I too am waiting for a call. It never gets easier. It feels like I’m drowning, gasping for air. And when the phone rings, my heart stops. Even though I realize it wasn’t beating in the first place.