That moment when the breath is gone
And souls released to who knows where,
But think about the ones still left behind,
Struggling through the daily grind.
The shock, the utter breathless pain
That drives the living to something near insane.
A woman that I work with lost her father last week and it has sparked off some really deep conversations in our department and among my own family members.
We were called into the office on Monday morning and told that she wouldn’t be in because there had been an accident and her father had died very suddenly. We all stood very quietly as we digested the news, each probably thinking about our own parents and how we would feel if we were in such an awful situation.
It’s the suddenness that bothers me and it’s led me to think about whether I would prefer to see someone die of an illness and be able to prepare for the inevitable; or to lose someone quickly and not have to see any suffering, but to conversely have to navigate that shock.
One of the team have spoken to her and she says that she feels like she is dreaming, like it’s not real. And that’s what those very sudden losses do to us. We very suddenly need to grapple with those thoughts about mortality and that is really uncomfortable for humans.
I am one of those people that have both a sick fascination with death, and also feel terrified of it. I feel like a child that knows it’s scary to stick their hand in the flame, but feels desperate to do it anyway. I want to reach out and touch death so that I can finally understand what it’s all about.
Faith helps, but it doesn’t take away all of the fear because it is faith; we can’t blindly believe something is going to be one way when we have no tangible truth. And that means that we don’t have a bloody clue and that’s terrifying.
Does death hurt? Do the lights just go out and that’s the end of everything? Do we get to meet up with old friends and family like it’s a big nightclub in the sky? Who knows? But one thing I do know is that I have spent a lot of time thinking about these questions this week.