Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It Was So Easy and the Words So Sweet...

When you are a child, you think you are invincible. You honestly
believe that nothing bad could ever happen to you, that you are – and
always will be – safe. The only problem with this childlike innocence
is that sometimes a child needs to learn that they are not invincible,
that they truly can be harmed.

When you are a child you do not really understand Death. In my mind, I
suppose Death only came to visit extremely old people. Death wasn't
interested in the young. Suffering didn't happen until you're grown,
and old. I suppose I learnt my lesson.

I remember that day as well as if it were yesterday. I remember the
instant freeze as I got the phone call. The shiver that went down my
back and the way the goose bumps covered my skin. The immediate
knowledge that something was wrong before I'd even picked up the
phone. I remember being unable to stop shaking, despite the warmth of
the spring day. I stuttered every word I spoke, and caught only very
few words being spoken to me. 'Hospital... Not much time... Possibly
fatal...' And then she said his name. I remember whispering his name
after I hung up. His name left a sickening taste in my mouth – a warm,
sticky sensation that slid down my throat like blood slides over skin.
Even now when I say his name, I feel the same sting of pain stabbing
away in my stomach.

Until that day I was a mere child. Pain was yet to mark my life. I had
not experienced the harshness, and pain of a world grown cold.

For days following I surrounded myself with safety. My father's baggy,
warm jumper that came to just above my knees. The scarf he'd given to
me so long ago. The much loved, one-eared, pink teddy bear that my
mother had made for me when I was only little. Warm, fluffy ugg boots
that reminded me of the peace I always feel in winter when the rain
pours down outside and the whole world is cold and beautiful. I felt
cold all the time.
When I visited him, I didn't know what to say. No one would tell me
what had happened, why he was there. The only reassurance anyone would
give me was that he would wake up and everything would be alright
again. But that wasn't enough for me. Day in and day out I watched as
he lay there, machines monitoring his vitals. Nothing ever changed and
no one ever gave me any answers.

It was a nurse who accidently mentioned it. The truth that everyone
had been trying to avoid. He'd done this himself. He hadn't wanted to
wake up, so maybe he never would. Only time could tell...

Before that day I'd never really understood depression. That poisonous
blackness that invades a person's life, takes over every part of their
being. I was young, naive, innocent, and sheltered. My world had been
carefully structured in order to protect me from the pain of the
world. I wasn't supposed to understand depression. But that day I
think I truly began to understand. In my mind I pictured it as a
brilliant red rose, slowly but surely being sucked of life. The veins
throughout it turning black as the rose died, until only the tips were
left red. The stem withered, the leaves crushed. All hope gone... He
must have felt like he had no other option.

That day, I cried like I never had before. I felt pain unlike any
otherwise experienced. I felt grief for maybe the first time in my
life. When the lines on the machines went flat, the machines beeping
out their emergency call, their final goodbye, I learnt that Death
smells sweet.

Some days I wake up to find that fragrance filling the air. It's that
sickly sweet smell that I still remember all of these years later...
The smell of honey, and cherry blossoms, and Death. The same fragrance
that I remember from that day. I used to think it meant he had visited
me as I slept.


The Guy's Perspective said...

You've capture the moment so eloquently. That must have been very difficult for you. I'm sorry.

Keep writing. You are good!

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