We all face our pain in different ways. Escape it, block it, avoid it, group meetings, late nights, routines, blame ourselves, blame others, pretend the wound never happened.
When you die, they dehumanize you. It is a coping response: they slot you and box you and you are the patient, not The Caregiver, or The Spouse, The Support, The Care Provider, The Family, The one in grief, the one in pain. And they are.
But it is a person dying, and they have a name, and they have hobbies, jobs, jokes, favorite colors and flavors. They are not looking for a 20 foot room to die in. My grandmother kept using her walker every day to explore the hospital. She had flown at 65 on a mail carrier to the Arctic to stay with an Inuit Tribe for two weeks. She talked about her travels in China, and Russia, and every place that she had taught in her school and read about in National Geographic. She suffocated because a worker paid $19.68 an hour didn’t hook her nosepiece to the oxygen.
No one looks for a 20 foot white room to die in. I have a name, I have a history, I have desires and plans, just like you. Elizabeth McClung, who had a wet dream last night of doing a very complicated sexual position. I woke to a body paralyzed, thinking, “Wow, I didn’t know Linda was so flexible.” It is the little, odd, usual, lewd and tender things which combine to make us into a person, and to remain so until the last beat of the heart.
Today I danced, perhaps only the top half, but I dance. There is time in life to dance, even during the dying. The intertwining is in all of us, to some degree or another. So dance.
1 day ago