Dyspeptalk #18

There are all kinds of things you can say on your deathbed.

Honey, I think I left the oven on.
If I trusted anyone with my heart transplant, it’d be you.
I know you stole my inheritance, but I forgive you.

There are literally millions of sentences you can end your life at, some impart the much demanded closure for someone dear, some speak of forgiveness or remembrance, some simply go out with a last

‘I love you naked on me’.

There are millions of sentences you could  have ended your life at.
Did it really have to be ‘

no one is responsible for my death but me’

?

We tend to treat death as a phenomena.

The suddenness of which overwhelms us, relieves us of a survivor’s guilt.

We couldn’t see that coming. That was unexpected. That wasn’t anyone’s fault.

We want death to be a heart attack, a hemorrhage, a kidney failure.
So that we don’t realise until it’s too late.

But the truth is, we did.

It was there, in the 3 am phone calls when sleeping pills didn’t care to work, in the midnight highway 100 kilometres per hour drive at a reckless pursuant crash,  the cigarettes littering up the empty dented cans of beer, the forgetting to change dirty shirts, the forgetting to pack your sandwiches, the forgetting to write or call or say hello.

It was always going to end this way, and we knew it, and we never accepted.

Who were we fooling?
Who is left to be fooled anymore?

In the story one man lives beside the Australian cliff where 231 people jumped to death in the summer of 2002, and greets people with smiles and a tray of tea and snacks and patience to listen to their problems.
In the story, no one jumps from the cliff anymore.

In the story, tea and snacks and a smile is more appealing than quitting altogether.

Because a thing that’s already dead is magnificent.
It’s when it starts dying that’s dreadful.

image

Artwork by Steve Daniels.

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