This isn’t going to be about suicide – it’s about cancer. It’s about family. One specific family member, at the moment, who is dying of cancer as I write.
I’ve just flown back to the UK (hence my late posting). I had to leave her. I had to take my flight. I didn’t get to say goodbye. I brought her some lasagne a few days before I left, and the next day she was too sick for me to visit her, and the next day, and the next, and then I got on a plane. She was poking around on her iPad when my brother and I brought the lasagne. She said softly, ‘It smells good.’ That was nice, because it meant she was feeling okay at the time. I didn’t hug her, or her husband, because she seemed so tired, and we were just supposed to drop in and out very fast without being a bother. But I will not see her again.
Why is death so confusing? What happens when and if we leave our bodies?
Death itself is a profoundly steadfast servant of mother nature. It is all and then nothing. It is as if time stops and Death picks its way through the molecules as though through a crowded party, and it bows and holds out its hand to the dying one and says, “Let’s go now. It’s time to go home.” Ever polite. Ever calm. For ever.
And the dying one and Death weave their way back out of the party of molecules, and as Death exits the unpause button is pressed, and it is simply over.
It is a masterful disappearing act. There really isn’t anything else to it. The dying person is simply not there any more. I still feel like I might one day bump into my granny if only I knew the right place to be, if only I knew how to pick my way through the molecules as if they were standing still, as if no time had passed since she passed at all. As if she’d just been very busy of late, and we could finally catch up and I could tell her everything that had happened since her schedule got too full to see me anymore.
Because the only difference between alive and dead to some other person is the expectation of being alive – of being around and potentially available somewhere to have a molecule party. And maybe some inter-oracular sound wave transference. So you can tell them what happened since last time, one more time.
Outside my window the sounds of summer in England tick on. I hope there are birds outside her window, back home, to be a part of her final party.