How many life altering revelations can you have while watching a made for tv wrap up of your favorite television show?
How many life altering revelations can you have before 9 am on a Saturday morning, fueled by too much coffee and an emotional sensibility that has been skinned, flayed, and exposed to the world for thirteen weeks and six days?
Can one person possibly pull on a single strand of their life and see how it is connected to everything else?
My favorite tv show of all time is (no, NOT Doctor Who...) Dead Like Me. It's a show that, every episode, asks the biggest questions that we can explore...what is the meaning of life? What is the reason for death? What have we got to show for our lives? Why do our loved ones die? What happens when we die? What if we could keep our loved ones from dying? How does one person's life affect the rest of the universe?
You know, simple lighthearted stuff.
And I can watch every single episode and laugh and cry at the same time.
When I explain to someone the premise of the show, I'm often greeted with a look that tells me I am incredibly morbid. "How can a show about dying be funny? How can being constantly reminded about your own mortality be entertaining???"
My favorite jobs that I have had in my life have been where I had the opportunity to help people at their most vulnerable. I've worked as a paramedic and I've worked in hospice. I've held people's hands as they've died. I've helped to revive people who could go on to tell me exactly every single word, every single drug used, every single dramatic moment that happened while they were clinically dead. I've walked into a room of a hospice patient and for some strange reason, the clock on their wall stopped at the exact moment that they died. I've seen a patient pass away and for the next 24 hours, the call light would repeatedly go on in their empty room and when I would walk into the room, it was like walking through an invisible ice cold fog. And then it was gone. And then the call light stopped going off on it's own.
I'm not morbid, just fascinated. Some people take their questions to a church, I guess I take mine to artists and the dying.
If you really think about it, what are the only two things every single person on this planet have in common? We're born and we die. Everything else is up for grabs. There are plenty of people out there willing to get all sentimental and goo goo eyed over birth and babies, that's easy. There are relatively few people willing to sit down with a person who is dying and let them talk. What's the worst thing you can say to a dying person when they want to talk about dying? "Oh, don't be morbid!"
Yeah, I've heard someone say that to their dying parent. I've also heard a parent say that to their dying child.
I want to talk about the biggest, scariest, most intense experience I will have in my existence on this earth, an experience that no matter how much you love me, you can't take with me to the end. You, in your infinite wisdom, are telling me, in effect, to shut up about it. How many more conversations will we have together before we can't talk anymore? Do you really think telling me to change the subject because you are so selfish that YOU can't deal with it is fair?
I prefer art, poetry, books, and tv shows that ask the big questions. Perhaps these are the questions that have haunted me my entire life. What is it like to die in an accident? Of suicide? Of cancer? My mom, dad, and brother will never be able to tell me but it doesn't mean that I'll stop asking.
How do the dead feel about leaving the living?
My biggest job when I worked with people who were dying was to not let them die alone. I don't know if holding my hand meant much, but I hope that it did.
When I bring this long discussion back to my life over the past few months, I realize I have come to a place where I know what consequences I want STBX to have. It has nothing to do with prison or jail or what might occur to him in either of those places. It has everything to do with what will happen in the future, years in the future.
One day, I hope he dies alone. Surrounded, as I see it, by all the people that love him.