03 June 2005

Dying is hard

Mother, daughter or wife you die a hard death alone.

Motionless on her side. Unblinking eyes turned to the cold wall. A white coat pauses at the foot of her bed, studies her chart but won’t look at her. Turning, heels click away on the polished floor. Laughter rings out in a corridor full of warm lunch smells.

Cannot breathe, cannot call for help. There can be no help now anyway. Too tired to cry and too old to care. Starched white sheets are cold. Bitter taste and dry lips. Wallpaper pattern could be a face or a map. A familiar face, a country. The monitor bleeps slowly.

Blue blouse wheels in a trolley. Leaves it in a corner, fresh bed linen piled high, ready. Flowers in the window. Outside airbrakes powerful hiss. Heartbeat, twitch, breathe, try...

11 comments:

Marjory said...

Indignity, indignity, indignity
was this meant to be ?
I don't know, I despair,
is there humanity out there ?
I don't know...............

transience said...

that was so powerful and so sad. the last line bleeded into some inevitable ending. from where i come from, familial ties are so tight. so this made quite an impression on me.

Perfect Virgo said...

Transience - Love hurts and I remembered that death hurts too.

Wardo said...

It makes me sad. It reminds me of my grandpa, whom I saw moments before he died. He tried to talk to us about a neighbouring farmer whose barn burned down, and cracked a couple of jokes, but he knew the end was close. He knew, because he'd been in the hospital many times before this last, and it was only on this occasion that he said, "I have no regrets. I had five fine sons, and fifteen grandchildren. It's all a man could ask for."

When we got home, the answering machine was flashing. He had died moments after we left.

I wonder what his last thought was.

-A

Perfect Virgo said...

Argus - my mother died a few years ago. She was told she had lung cancer and only lived 10 days following the diagnosis. She said to me "I'm going to fight this." But there was no fight in her.

I guess you don't grumble when you've had a long fulfilling life. We all must reach that time one day. Later rather than sooner let's hope.

recoveryroad said...

I rember when (and how) my Mum died. It was long, drawn out and agonising to watch. That sounds pretty selfish I know ("...agonising to watch"), but it was.

:(

Perfect Virgo said...

Kenny - not selfish I don't think, I'm sure the agony you felt was more for her suffering than yours.

The Flea said...

Whoah -- I missed this entry last time I was here. Unbelievable Virgo, just unbelievable. I can't understand how people say so much in so few lines! I babble on and on, and here, in a few sentences you've gone "WHAM!"

(And I'm not talking about the band).

Perfect Virgo said...

Thanks so much Flea, this one sneaked in under the radar! You can tell my musical tastes, although wide (-ish) do not extend to Michael and Ridgeley!

I tried to keep this deliberately short, like her remaining minutes on earth.

Jen said...

So intense. You have a way of making me pause and think about the important things in life.

Perfect Virgo said...

Jen - dying is so devastatingly lonely it seems all the more important to fully commit to a friendship while your friend is still alive.