Death – the action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism.
The definition makes death sound simple and uncomplicated. Why is it I find it anything but?
My closest friend going back to my teenage years died on Wednesday night. I struggle with the notion of death normally, but losing Nita has affected me immensely and more intensely than usual.
We had 18 years apart after losing contact when they moved to QLD and I was moving around a lot. 6 years ago we found each other again and picked right up where we’d left off. So much had changed but that just gave us even more to talk about. We still had many more conversations to have.
Losing her now hurts throughout my whole body. For the first three days I did nothing but cry. I couldn’t do any of the things I usually do or like – mosaics, ͏t͏v shows, music – nothing. Everything hurt too much to do, so I sat still, in silence, bawling. I felt disassociated with my current self, getting cold sweats and feeling nauseous from crying. That pain that shoots through your heart, breaking it, taking your breathe away, was firing constantly. Waking up bawling after only a few hours sleep at a time, I recognised I was feeling the same sick, awful way I did after our friend Steve died, so many years ago. I was right back there, having lost another of our close knit group.
I’d only spoken with Nita a couple of weeks prior. How can she be dead? How can she not be here anymore? How can she be walking and talking and being herself one minute then in an induced coma the next, gone the next, just like that?? I know how it works biologically, but there’s more to us than that. Where does our personality go? We leave behind an empty body that shows no signs of our personality whatsoever, our souls gone. I cannot get my head around it, to the point I have to decide to let it go otherwise I’m sure I’d go quite insane, as I did many years ago. All we have are theories, but no-one really knows.
I’d really wanted to see Nita before her life support was turned off, which is confusing me a little. I understand that I wanted to say goodbye, give her a kiss and tell her I loved her one last time, but it feels like there was more to it. I didn’t deal with Steve’s death, and I think Nita’s death brought that to the surface. I recognised that all consuming pain and loneliness I’ve only felt once before.
Nita’s sister told me I didn’t want to see her the way she was, that it wasn’t her. I knew that deep down, but couldn’t escape the image of our much loved friend on life support 26 years ago. It was pulling me strongly to see Nita. Although I’m hurting that I didn’t get that chance, I’m also thankful that seeing her like that isn’t my last and lasting memory of her.
It hurts that I can’t talk to her again. I usually don’t like talking on the phone, but Nita and I would talk for hours on end with ease. And every phone call ended with an ‘I love you lots’ or similar. I’m so grateful for that, as I’m trying not to fall into regrets, which are many.
I’m terrified of death. Not for myself, or of death itself, but for the pain felt losing someone. The heart is never the same. Death is often greedy and insensitive, cold, unforgiving, spiteful. Death invites itself when it’s not wanted, but keeps it’s distance when it could be of help. It has no consideration in regards to age or time. It shows no compassion or empathy for those left behind. Death is final, and despite funerals or wakes or celebrations of life, death always has the last word. It’s ruthless.
I went through a stage where I decided I’d cut off from everyone bar my daughter because I couldn’t go through this pain again. Sounds crazy, as a successful suicide attempt by my daughter would kill me I’m sure, but we still come as a package deal. The thought of being alone from the world seemed much more manageable at the time. At this point in life, crossing paths with death again is inevitable, which I really can’t find peace with.
It really irks me being so far away from Nita’s family and old friends of ours. We’ve spoken but it’ll be good to see them when we go up for her funeral. I only wish circumstances had prevailed that we were all catching up for a different reason. Why is it that life can keep us apart but death always brings us together?