June 28, 2012

On morbid thoughts and foxes on the highway

What a weird day it's been. Michael's great-uncle is dying and we got a text this morning about his failing health. His mom suggested we come over and say our goodbyes. When we got there, the atmosphere was so depressing and quiet. I wanted to stop pretending the elephant in the room wasn't there and just ask the man what it felt like. What does it feel like to be terminally ill and know that your death is quickly impending? Could you come to terms with it and honestly think of it as a relief, or would you be scared up until the last second? I've only known this man for 3 years, and I wasn't sure what to say to him. I told him I loved him and that I was so glad to have met him and had him as part of my family. I couldn't help but cry when I told him goodbye.

Not to sound morbid, but this has made me think about death a lot lately. I have always been afraid of death. Not just my own, but death of my loved ones and the way death can happen to anyone, at anytime. Michael and I discussed how we would want to die if we had forewarning. He wouldn't want anyone but me and Molly there for the duration. He would want friends to come see him well before, but he says he doesn't want to die while being stared at by loved ones who don't know how to comfort a dying man.
I feel the same way. Ideally, I would be able to say goodbye to all my friends and family beforehand and just have Michael and Molly there with me. I think dying would feel like being on a crazy drug. Trying to grasp the thought of ceasing to be, no longer living--God, that is enormous.

I think back to a scene from The Doors' documentary (narrated by Johnny Depp) where Jim Morrison sees a dying fox on the side of highway. The fox is hyperventilating, struggling for air. He's been hit by a car. Jim pulls over and places a scarf over the fox's face, then drives away. A small gesture, sure, but the point is, Jim gave the fox a little privacy and solace in which to die in. No, it doesn't matter in the scheme of things; the fox is still dying on the side of some road. But that scene affected me when I saw it.

I'll just be over here, living and breathing and trying not to take it for granted. Good day.

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