Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Last Step

In the room next to me a woman is dying.

Yeah, that’s a depressing way to start a post, but the shock value alone triggered you to keep reading into this next sentence. Your disapproval and agitation with the shock value will keep you reading this current sentence. Followed by the fact that your envelope has been pushed to the point that you are willing to read this entire post to gauge my own personal feelings about life in general.

Don’t worry now, I’m not depressed or anything. I’m not sad either. Chagrin seems to be the word of the day as I vacantly stare at the freshly mopped talcum-colored floor and intoxicate myself with my sterile surroundings. This hospital isn’t foreign territory anymore. It’s been the bunker for my Grandpa for the past 74 straight days plus. And we don’t know how much longer he’s going to need room service here.

In the room next to me a brittle elderly woman is softly moaning to the nurses that her chest hurts. She’s been here almost as long as the colonel has been. The only difference is, she’s not progressing anymore. She’s getting ready to go knocking on heaven’s door. It’s going to happen soon enough.

Outside in the hallway a handful of red-eyed family members sits in limbo as to what is going to happen in the next ten minutes, next half hour, next nursing shift. They wait. Waiting for something traumatically relieving to happen. Waiting for their hallowed yet delusional mother, aunt, grandma, sister, friend, be relieved of her difficulties. The difficulties of her physical body not being able to regenerate itself anymore. The difficulties of balancing pro-life and pro-death decisions. The difficulties of letting go.

Yes, that certainly is the most difficult piece of life to chew on.

Deep down we all are afraid of dying. Afraid of what lies ahead. Afraid that our faith in the afterlife will be shaken and stirred once our hearts have given up their last beats. Death is one of the most constant uncertainties that we all have to face at some point in our lives, rather, at the end of our lives. Death is there. It’s always with us. Sooner or later we will have to come to terms with the impending closure of our lungs, or the ceasing of neurons transmitting in our brains. Our clocks continue to cycle down until the last granules of sand have passed through the hourglass. Sooner or later, that day will come.

Disturbing? Yeah, probably. But as the woman in the room next to me pants out the phrase, “just let me go” over and over again, with her supporting cast wiping away tears and hesitantly embracing the next step in all of their lives, I can only wonder about the inevitable future of the man lying in the bed two feet before me.

In the room next to me, the last step is being taken.

What do you think?

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