Friday, 16 May 2008

At The End Of It All

There is literally a sense of death hanging in the air, surrounding the nurses station and the main hall, as a patient in her mid-50s approaches the imminent end of her life. We speak in hushed tones, and the laughter from visitors seems indecent. There is a propriety, and a respect that permeates all we do. Although the medical staff is calloused by the repetition of death, a code exists, that requires us to behave a very specific way.

The young daughter who sleeps in the hospital room on a cot, the grieving husband, the trickling of family/visitors through the always open door lends to the closure, the ending of life as they know it. Even more unbelievable is attempting to wrap your mind around the fact that you will soon die.

You lay in bed, too weak and in pain to move, soaking in the faces of the family, people you love, knowing that in perhaps in the next minute, the next hour, that night, or the next day, you will draw your last breath. The waiting is probably the most agonizing thing, waiting for death to come, waiting for nothingness.

How do you do it? How do you face each hour knowing it could be your last?

What would you do with the time you have left? How would you make it?

How would you suppress the rising panic that you are leaving things undone?

How can you be sure that you will leave the people you love cared for?

You can see how death is meant to come with old age.
You are prepared, you have lived a full life, and you have matured and grown wise.
As the years past you prepare yourself (perhaps subconsciously to some extent) for death.
You prepare financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally.

But what happens when you're young, when three weeks ago you were up and walking about and now are confined to bed rest? What do you do when you aren't ready to leave this world?

This may be so cliched and overused but really, the only advice I can give about be prepared for your end is live your life fully! Don't regret not saying things you should have, not trying new things, not tasting life completely. Don't live your life afraid of making mistakes. Get out there and just be.

Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life.
-Tuck Everlasting.

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