Friday, August 3, 2012

The Meaning of Death

     His family communicates through emails, a group email addressed to all members of the family. They discuss him like he isn't there. Nothing is sacred in the topics of conversation; dementia, nursing homes, incontinence, death and funeral arrangements discussed as cold and matter of fact as a 30 second spot between segments of a television program on the Lifetime channel. He is privy to all of the conversations, all discussing the final years of his life like some board of directors of a failing corporation. SO many emails. Each one is pages and pages, thousands of words. I see it as so cold. I believe they see it as open and matter of fact. I sense no love there. Maybe it is the kind of love that they recognize and I don't.
      I can't discuss my mother's death with her without crying. I dread that day. It is the worst thought of my life. I play that day in my head often. I contemplate how it will play out. Will I be there? Will I get a message through the phone. The most I say to her about it is to try and get her to handle her affairs because I know I will be a wreck. The gaping void that will open in my life will be like a chasm threatening to swallow me. My heart breaks into a million pieces when I even mention it. I stare at her all of the time, trying to see how she feels, to analyze her health. Every labored breath, every swollen limb, every bent vertebrae is a beacon, a shadow of death.
     They want him to respond to their emails. How do you respond to these insinuations, these excessive inquisitions. How can one respond when all moments are spent ducking away from death, living in the shadow of its spectre. I am sure they only have the best of intentions. This is necessary, important. So few moments left and this is how they are spent. I cant imagine what life led to this.

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