Sunday, October 25, 2009

Now I know what death tastes like

Where I grew up people didn't die. I was lucky enough to be born and raised in the richer part of northern Europe where people don't die. Instead they pass away, go to a better place, the reality of their situation camouflaged by an army of doctors, nurses and other technicians, well versed in the language of evasion and euphemism. No, we don't die, we're too prosperous, wealthy, busy and successful. Death is not an option.

I have been trying to come to terms with what happened yesterday, when I saw a man die despite every effort I made. I woke up this morning the face of the man looking at me, blue black tongue, eyes staring without focus. I can still smell his breathe, taste his last meal, no matter how many times I brush my teeth, no matter how much I spit. A man who I tried to revive died in a pool of his own piss and vomit next to a set of traffic lights, surrounded by a group of helpless rubber neckers giving hopeless advice.

No, he belonged to the portion of the planet who do die, not cushioned by polite analogies and the like.

Last night I went out to see my friends Orhan and Eleni, I couldn't face this all alone, I decided to go out where there was life, friends, laughter, anything but death. I was OK until I saw a bunch of carrots in Eleni's kitchen. Carrots of all things, death tastes of carrots. At that point I lost it, and all that I had seen just flooded back in a tidal wave of fear, horror, disgust and guilt. It smashed into me like a freight train and slammed me back down into the chair I had just been sitting in. Thankfully I had my friends to support me in this moment of terror and grief.


DHM said...

There's not a lot I can say, but I know what you're going through (my own brother died in my arms—DVT induced pulmonary embolism—on Boxing Day 2004).

This will take some considerable time to come to terms with, and it will change you forever. You cannot unsee what you have seen nor unfeel what you are feeling and will feel.

The best that you can hope—and I appreciate this all reads like easy platitudes, I can express myself no better—is that you can turn it into something positive. You are fortunate to have supportive friends…hold on to them.

toomanytribbles said...

it was exactly a week ago today, almost to the minute, that my mom died while i was holding her hand.

i tried shaking her body and face to 'wake her up' but i couldn't. the doctors came in and tried to revive her but nothing helped.

i cry as i write this and i can't offer you or me any comfort.

dorapap said...

I really don't know what to say... I've been reading your posts these last couple of days... If you need sb to talk to, don't hesitate to call!