I’ve become obsessed with death…Mine. A friend of a friend’s. A well-known football player that I’ve never met. An old friend who I haven’t seen in years. A good work friend. My son. I think of death often. It seems to plague my thinking, planning, sleeping.
Whilst drying my hair, I’ll think things like: “Well, she doesn’t have to worry about ever having to do this again.” Same goes for teeth brushing. Coffee making. Cooking dinner. Eating food. Headaches. I spend time Facebook stalking recently deceased people I’ve never met. It’s embarrassing how curious I am about what they did with their last few days on earth, trying to find out what it was that took them in the end.
I often scrutinise my timeline wondering if I’d be okay with the last few posts people would see if I were to suddenly drop dead (as a surprisingly high number of people tend to do).
My mother used to say that she was jealous of dead people because they were out of it all. They didn’t have to deal with the shit that can be life anymore. I used to think this macabre and incredibly depressed of her. But now I see what she was saying… I’m terrified of dying and yet it is the only true escape.
When death becomes you, every ache is cancer. This cough? Well, if it doesn’t disappear soon, I’m going to. Every headache is a stroke. Taking exercise is a risk.
Life is short.
I keep saying it. And, while it’s true, of course, it’s not something people necessarily want to be reminded of.
I can’t help it.
I watched the shortest of short lives unfold. I wasted the days leading up to the end. I feel a guilt and a panic about doing this again at all times. What if Nick dies in his sleep? What if I do? I should be much skinnier because I am never at rest. Never at peace. Even lying prone on the couch, my insides are always tense, I am rarely comfortable and my tummy hurts. (What stage is this, Kubler-Ross?)
It’s one thing living this way. You do more, you say yes more, you spend with less concern, and you brush heart-sore memories to one side and try to be happy more. I suppose, for what they’re worth, you have more memories as a result but what are memories but another potential source of sore and a reminder of loss?
And then you get the what if… just what if… this life isn’t as short as you think/hope/dream/fear?
We’re six days away from the two-year anniversary of my son’s death. I could copy and paste my post from last year this time. I still don’t know what to do with this. How depressing is that? My beautiful son is dead. Still. Hope is still elusive – something you desperately need to carry on but that eludes you at every turn. I still haven’t died the romantic death of mothers and fathers before me who just couldn’t live with their broken hearts and left this world in a subconscious and yet earnest attempt to be with their babies. But this fascination with death, I wonder, may just mean I’m waiting for this.
Another new normal for me is that everyday things that make normal people very excited, sad, angry or blessed feel like chains around my throat. And as a result, over the past few months the need to run away from all of this has become quite urgent.
While it ebbs and flows, it is constant. I would like so much to be in a place where this doesn’t hurt anymore. That “sliding doors” choice which ended in everything being okay. Where I live in a world with a healthy two-year-old boy who wants to be able to poop in a big toilet now, even though his little legs can’t reach yet and has long conversations with his mother because that’s what makes him happy and she fulfilled. Where going to work every day, making plans with people or not making plans with people and cooking dinner doesn’t feel like a horrendous waste of precious, precious time.
But I didn’t turn left at the sliding door. I turned right. And trying to figure out what I do with this choice now is enough to make you mad.
It’s no surprise I want to run away, really. I just wish it were that simple.