I think about death all the time and I know I’m not the only one. Whether you’re 15 or 100, the idea of death is terrifying at every turn. The unexpected timing, the unbelievable pain, the lack of control and the sudden goodbye that you can’t make, it’s all horrifying and nothing can prepare you for it. Immortality isn’t real and even if some pseudo immortality is reached in our lifetime, it won’t be anything close to what our lives are now. We can try to create stuff that lives a longer life than us, but that’s finite too and once you’re dead it doesn’t matter. I don’t know what people fear more, the thought of being forgotten or the thought of making more memories. Regardless of the answer, everyone is scared for their own reasons and I hope that in the future, you can all find solace in the eventual darkness ahead.
I lay in this bed. I stare at that ceiling. I feel each breath painfully leaving my lungs. New air forces its way in, like a piece of popcorn forces its way between your teeth. All I can do is sit here. Sit here and think.
The cancer has really taken a toll. I used to be so agile. So quick witted. So alive. Now, all I am is the decrepit shell of the man that I used to be. A shell that might as well be picked up and skipped into the ocean. A shell that no one will ever see again.
My family surrounds me constantly. My wife. My kids. My parents. I never thought I’d die before my parents. They swarm me with flowers as if they’re going to give me the strength to keep going. The strength to fight through this again.
I don’t even have the strength to speak. Oh my, that’s what I was thinking about anyway. It’s so hard to keep my mind straight. My wife is crying again. I must look worse than before. No, I probably look the same.
Never mind that. Prisoners are always gifted last words before they die. I didn’t have that privilege. Instead, I’ve just had to witness my death through the mirrors of my family’s eyes. I wish I could say a proper string of last words. They would make me feel much more at peace.
Actually, the more that I think of it, maybe they wouldn’t. If I said something, it may just leave everyone wondering if I was going to say more. They would think that I was trying to fight. They would think that I didn’t want to die. The truth is… the truth is that I’m very tired. I’m ready to go.
I wouldn’t know what to say anyway. I would say that I love whoever was there, but what is that going to do? They know I love them. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be here. I wish I could at least have the option to say something. I don’t know if I would.
I don’t need proper last words. I don’t even want last words. My last words were… I don’t remember what I said. But I don’t think there is anything else for me to say. I said enough through life. Even in the bad times, I was around. That alone should be good enough. I’m okay with this.
I feel a breath painfully leaving my lungs. I feel my heart stop beating. I hear the melancholy tone of the machines connected to me. I feel the tears of family members falling to my cold skin. I hear their cries. Words can’t explain how I feel. Last words are a trick. A trick in assuming your words will live past you. I am not my words. I am a memory.