I Just Can't Process My Own Death

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Today, Gini and I watched UP.  And when that heartbreaking first seven minutes were over, where we see a relationship bloom and literally die before our eyes, Gini was weepier than usual.  I cleared off the couch next to me, and she came over and held me tight, weeping.
“I’m glad that wasn’t me,” she said.
And yeah.  It’s been about six months since the triple-bypass, and I’m still not conversant with death.  I know it’ll happen, of course; I didn’t used to.  Oh, if you’d asked me, I would have said, “Sure, I know I’ll die!”  And in some dimly teenaged fashion I did comprehend it intellectually.
But there I was, living with Gini, disinfecting a beer-brewing kit in the tub, and I suddenly thought: you don’t think they’re really going to develop immortality in your lifetime, do you?  And sure enough, I didn’t. Which led to the thought that if they weren’t going to perfect it, at some point, death was on the menu for me, and I felt that mortality all the way to the root of my heart. These muscles would fail, these thoughts all gone, this unique spot disappeared.
I started blogging not soon after. I think it’s my way of leaving a record for somebody.
Yet there I was, facing death, and it didn’t bother me all that much.  I was scared, sure, but the end would be soon for me.  Either I’d be proven right about an afterlife, or I would never know, and I had a lot of things I wanted to do, but I’m pretty good at coping with non-negotiables.  If that wasn’t an option, well, it’s not like I could argue.  And so I went into surgery, not knowing if I’d wake up.
I dunno.  My friend Lady said that my recovery from the surgery was brave.  “Some people freeze,” she said.  “They give in.  You fought.”  And I guess, but I don’t know how else to be.  I was on the brink, and it doesn’t scare me.
Maybe because there’s another layer to go.  Maybe there’s yet some other layer where you process death even more tangibly, and that’s what PTSD is.  I don’t think we as humans can really process our own mortality this far away from it; Jay Lake can, but then again he’s in a situation where he has to, being terminal and all.  And you can see it corroding him, even from a distance.  Me?  I’m skipping over the surface like a stone hurled over a lake, and I’m just fine with that.
I think daily of Gini’s loss, though.  That’s how I process death; not the emptiness, but loss.  Sometimes I have nightmares of losing her, the greatest love of a damned lucky life, and I wonder what I’d do if that happened.
I’m still blessed, in a way.  If one of us had to have a brush with death, I got the easy end.  She gets to envision that life much clearer.
My job is to make that not happen.

1 Comment

  1. heather hernandez
    Jul 7, 2013

    i think you have to flesh out the layer that includes facing your own mortality a little further. paramedics, firefighters, and funeral directors do it on a daily basis. as a funeral director and an apprentice embalmer, i physically interact with death and mortality on a near-daily basis – which, inevitability, leads to contemplating my own mortality.
    anyways, long story short, glad you’re not dead.

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