Have you ever seen a person die?
I did. I will never be able to unsee it.
It happened on the 27th of July, 2016. I was at the train station, waiting for my train to arrive, it was quite a small station where there are approx. 4 trains every hour. I was there at 08:05 AM and my train was scheduled to arrive at 08:15 AM.
I decided to have a cigarette while waiting, so i went where the ashtray is on the platform. I remember seeing a lady, she was dressed quite normally, she had black jeans, a pink shirt (i will never forget that color) and a black leather jacket (it was hot as hell so i thought that was strange), she had a suitcase and a purse.
This lady was acting a bit strangely, she was walking back and forth on the platform and kept looking if the train was coming, she wasn't really close to her suitcase, like 10 meters or something.
I was looking at her, she looked worried, but since she had a suitcase i thought she was going somewhere and was late, or simply in a rush.
Two minutes before 08:15 AM her legs started shaking, like..really really shaking and she was looking for the train like every 10 seconds. She was super close to the tracks but she was still on the plaform. At this poing i was closer to her suitcase than she was, to help you picture it, the suitcase was in the middle, between me and the lady. I was at 5 meters from it and she was at 15 or more, so approx. 20 meters from me. She then began coming closer to me so she was at 10 meters from me and 5 from the suitcase.
From here on, it all went so fast, but so slowly at the same time. I heard the speaker saying "train 000 to .... arriving on platform 4, please step back". It was a long train, so it arrives kind of fast then stops while at the station. I'm trying to remember exactly how things went but I still have a few blackouts here and there.
I remember for sure the train arriving, the lady quickly looked around, i saw her eyes... never, ever in my life have I seen such a look, i can't describe it to this day. In a matter of seconds she JUMPED right in front of the train, I saw the WHOLE THING, there was blood... there was a lot of it. There were some remains that... you could not tell if it was a person or an animal.
Now, every person reacts differently to shock, some people scream, some faint, some will start throwing up and some go completely crazy, but there are also some people who just stay there, paralized, in shock. That's exactly what I did, I stayed there, looking without blinking, I didn't fell anything, I had literally no feelings, no words.
People around me were screaming but I was just...there.
2 minutes later, which felt like hours to me, a guy with a bright orange vest came to me and took me away, they asked me if I needed an ambulance and at that time I still was not talking, but I "said" no with my head.
They asked who they could call, I took my phone and called my mom. At that moment, it hit me. I was not able to speak but I was crying histerically, my mom kept asking me what had happened, if I was hurt, if something happened to me.. I just gave the phone to the guy with the vest and he talked to her. My mom arrived in 10 minutes, and took me to the doctor. My story goes on obv. but this is out of topic so I will end it here.
I am sorry for the mistakes, english is not my mother Language, it happened close to Paris Gare-de-Lyon.
thank you for reading.
I'm going Anon for this one as I don't want anyone to know what I really feel about the family of the loved one who died.
I had been with my boyfriend for just a year and a half. His mother was diagnosed with cancer. It was not treatable and the doctors advised that at home is where she would be most comfortable to live out her last days.
I always knew that my boyfriend's family was emotionally distant with each other. There was no family hugs, or words of compassion, they were always very distant. It was not my place to wonder why it was this way and I didn't want to judge.
However, in retrospect, I am severely judging how the weeks up to her death went. I noticed when we would visit, she would be laying in her hospital bed they have set up in the dining room, no one by her side, husband and three sons sitting on the couch watching TV, not paying mind to her and my boyfriend would say hi to her from the other side of the room and not even go up to touch her. I felt that even though I really didn't know this woman, I had to step up with some company and compassion. This was already during a time when I dealing with a betrayal from my boyfriend that happened two months before in which we almost ended, but I stayed to give him a chance, and this situation made me stay with him. I could not with good conscience leave him now, when such a tragedy hit his family.
I was the only one who would sit with her, talk with her, hold her hand and tell her stories. I remember the words of one of my boyfriend's brothers one time from across the room as he was watching me, "That's a good idea, I've been meaning to sit beside my mom holding her hand". But he never did. This was already five weeks into her dying process. A nurse would also come to see her as we would visit a couple of times a week and that was the only other person meaningfully interacting with her. I can't say anything bad about her husband, he did take care of her, feed her, change her diapers and I'm sure he was emotionally there for her, maybe when noone else was there.
I asked my boyfriend what was up. I accepted the answer. He was not good dealing with death. He didn't want to see his mom that way. His brothers were the same way. Their family just wasn't that close to make an exception either. To me, this was shocking. Your mother is about to die any day now, and none of the sons could muster up a few minutes to say "Thanks mom for everything you've done for me and I love you". Nothing.
The day she died I knew she was going to die - I have sense of these things at times - not something to get into in this post. We were at home and I said we need to leave now to your parent's house. We walked in and I immediately went up to her and started telling her not to be scared, everything is ok, it's going to be more beautiful than she could imagine, that we are all here with her and I kept smiling and smiling - to reassure her. Not sure if it helped but I was the only one by her side, so I tried to make her last minutes on this earth as calm as possible. Her actual family was on the couch talking as if nothing was happening.
When she finally took her last breaths, I realised what was happening and called them over in a state of anxiety. Her husband held her hand and said nothing but her name, though I sensed from him he was with her completely. The brothers just stood there in silence and my boyfriend (who was previously in a career where he witnessed death often)....and this is the part that bothers me so much....grabbed her hand with his fingers on her wrist, and timing on his watch the time between her last breaths. He said NOTHING.
She died. Of course, I started balling my eyes out. The family, hid their sorrow well for lack of a better term. Her husband was upset, did not cry, but we hugged and I could tell he was sad, but maybe holding his tears in because his SONS were not reacting. Even while we were waiting for the funeral home people to get her body - the sons were making jokes. The father did pipe up to say this isn't funny and his sons reacted with "Everyone deals with death differently Dad"....I was floored. My boyfriend did cry once when none of his family was there. When he was in another room and called a family member in another country to tell him. I could see how tortured he was - he did NOT want to cry and he was suffering. 30 seconds later he sucked it up, faced his family like nothing was wrong. He then went to go get take out for breakfast and everyone ate in the same room with their dead mother like nothing happened.
I did wait a few weeks to finally talk to my boyfriend about the events. I rightfully expressed my concern about how distant he was with his mother. I told him my fear that if we are together long term - and an illness happens to me, am I going to be left to die alone, without support, or words of comfort? Is he going to sit on the couch and not pay any mind to me because he can't face it? He said "Of course not, I'll be there for you."
After everything I witnessed, I don't believe him and that terrifies me.
First time I was... what? eight?
My mother and I were walking home. An elderly man, on foot, holding a bike, decides to cross the road. There was a long line of parallel-parked cars; he stepped onto the road from behind a green van. Without looking. The car that hit him had less than half a second to react - all braking was done after the man had been hit.
His body was launched. It landed something like thirty feet away. My mother tried to prevent me from seeing anything, but I have a distinct recollection of a body flying through the air that didn't look like a human body.
We later heard that he died before his body hit the ground.
Second time I was thirty six. The person who died was my mother. The beautiful story of how she died is why I wanted to write this answer. You're not going to read a horror story if you read on.
We knew for months that she was fighting a losing battle; she had been in an out of the hospital a couple times.
24 hours earlier, she was suffering intolerably and wanted to die. Early in the morning, I pressured the staff to put her on a morfine regime. When they agreed to that, I collapsed in in the arms of a nurse, realising what I had just done. I cried like a child for I think 20 minutes.
Early afternoon, the doctor came round, and he asked her "ok... what do you want us to do?"
She said she felt very good, but she was aware that this was because of the morfine... and she'd rather go out like this than suffer another round like early morning. She literally said "I'd like it if we could switch off the light rather than wait until the battery runs out."
To which the doctor said "I'm not allowed to say this, but from your point of view, that's probably a very good idea. If we do nothing, you might have three days of hell on earth before you pass away."
That afternoon, she was, for all practical purposes, pain-free. My sister and her boyfriend had gone home, but they were to return later that afternoon. Mum and I had a couple hours together. We talked about life, about our lives, about how we managed to get everything alright, and about what it was like to sit at your mother's death bed (she asked me that question just like that). We had lunch, and everything felt like it fell into place.
At the end of the afternoon, she was still very good. The doctor said that was the morfine doing that. I suddenly had an idea. I don't know where it came from.
Very many of her friends were our friends from school. I started to call as many as I could trace, telling them "if you want to see my mum, come to the hospital tonight. It will be your last chance, she will almost certainly not be with us tomorrow."
They all came. My mother was beside herself with happiness.
The hospital staff put her bed in a big room, and started to bring chairs in. Some had brought wine, some had brought some cheese. My mother was lucid and happy the entire evening, and it was as if we were all celebrating her life... although many of them had to fight back their tears. Some couldn't, and my mother took it upon her to console them. As she would always do. She always found the right words.
The doctor came to join us for a glass of wine too.
My mother had smoked most of her life, but not during the last ten years. But that evening, she wanted one last cigarette... and the doctor said "well, it won't take a year off your life, so what the heck?" He opened the doors to let some fresh air in (it was October, but it was a warm October night), and my mother thorougly enjoyed her last cigarette.
About an hour later, she was tired. Everyone said their goodbyes, there was much sobbing, but she had a special personal word for everyone. I saw many faces smiling through a flood of tears.
We talked for... what? half an hour? and then she went to sleep. I held her hand; she squeezed it ever so slightly as she nodded off.
She slept until about 7:30am next morning. Then she let out a sigh, and she was gone.
If I can look death in the eye without regrets, it is because she has taught me how to do it.
I've had the traumatic, yet profound privilege of witnessing the death of a 37 year old man, (who I'd later learn was married with two young sons) and an 18 year old young woman (who had hardly begun her adult life) Each incident affected me tremendously, and the memories of these tragedies are burned into my heart, although the first, was much more traumatic to me. I'll share that story.
Jeff - February 15, 2002 aprox 10:00pm
I was near the end of my first trimester of my first pregnancy. 22 years young, full of energy, confidence and happiness, my partner and I had just gone to bed. Then it happened.
We were startled awake by what sounded like the roar of a jet landing on the semi-rural road in front of our home, and then a very loud "explosion". I remember being immediately filled with Terror as I saw a flash of light through the window during the Boom. I don't remember putting on my shoes. Or calling 911. T and I were the first on the scene, across the street and two acres over, at the small mobile home occupied by a couple and their toddler. At this point we still had no idea what had actually happened, although I did observe there were pieces of skirting missing from the bottom of their home, which looked deceivingly normal from our approaching perspective. We are both confused, where is the "plane" that just crashed? The fire? Debris? Just as I was beginning to question our sanity, I begin to smell and see the flickering light of a fire coming from the backside of the mobile home. I called 911 again, briefly gave more details; it's a mobile home fire.
T starts beating on the door, then the windows, because no one has come outside yet. T finally gets response from inside the house after beating on the master bedroom window. We alert them to the fire and they immediately hand the baby to me through the window. The couple makes it out safely, and I put their boy back in the arms of his terrified parents. (At this point maybe 3 or 4 minutes had gone by)
We walk around to the back yard and that's when we saw it. It wasn't a plane, it was a car! This car, a Corvette, had been going so fast when it left the roadway and lost control, it went underneath this mobile home and came out the other side where it stopped; the rear bumper still resting against the home . Try to imagine this scene if you will. This Corvette stretched and bent the two 18″ steel girders that run parallel, underneath the length of the entire home. These steel support beams were wrapped around the front of the car, which at this point, had a small fire in the engine.
The driver was still seated upright in the driver's seat, unconscious. I was able to approach, only once, very briefly, to access him. Eyes closed, he appeared to be peacefully asleep. But he was dying; no longer breathing, but I did feel a very faint pulse. The yard was beginning to fill with more people as neighbors came out of their homes, and I was screaming, crying hysterically for someone to help me pull him out of the car before he burned. I knew this man was going to die, but I didn't want him to burn. A few people raced around nervously, trying to locate a hose or fire extinguisher, but due to a recent freeze, all of the outside hoses were put away, and the taps, heavily insulated to prevent cracked pipes. T pulled me away from the car as the fire got bigger and bigger. At this point 10 minutes have gone by. I was sobbing, screaming, angry that we were unable to do more. I could not watch anymore. I dropped to my knees facing away and prayed like I have never prayed before. Mostly I was begging the Lord to spare him any suffering, in case he was still alive. I prayed for this man's soul and for any family he may have. I begged for forgiveness for not being able to pull him out...The fire department finally arrived a full 13 minutes after the first call. By that time the vehicle was fully engulfed and the home was beginning to burn.
2 Days Later we read Jeff's obituary in our local newspaper. He was married and they had two very young sons who would now grow up without a father. I decided we had to attend this man's wake.
We first sat in the back row, as I slowly built the confidence to approach the family. When I felt strong enough, I went straight to his mother. Next to her was his wife . Very briefly, I told her that we were at the scene of the accident, that he had not suffered, did not die alone, and that we prayed for him. By then, we were all crying and hugging each other. Still racked with guilt, I felt terrible when they repeatedly thanked us, but understood the relief they must have felt at that point, knowing their loved one did not feel the pain of his death. To this day it's probably the most loving thing I've ever done in my life.
I have been present at 4 deaths.Three family members and 1 stranger.
The first was my 35 year old husband. He had been peeing blood for some time before he ever mentioned it to me. We had no insurance. I was the chef at a resort, and on New Year's eve 1980 he had a friend take him to the hospital. I couldn't leave because the restaurant was open until midnight that night. By the time I got off work he was home and he woke up to tell me that he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
They wanted him to have surgery, but that would probably cause him to be unable to have sex, and he felt that he wasn't willing to give that up. He decided that the next option of radiation was what he would try. That didn't go well, so he decided to use natural "cures". He was a person of very strong convictions, and it would have been pointless to argue with him. His health declined. He didn't want to leave me in massive debt so he didn't seek any more treatment.
Eventually he figured out that he was entitled to VA benefits so we rushed to the VA hospital in San Francisco a little over an hour from our home. I took two days off of work, but after that I had to work nights, get up in the early mornings to drive to the VA, spend my days with him, then rush back to work by 4:30 pm. My employers were very accommodating, and I took more time off.
My husband was in a great deal of pain, but the cancer had spread to his brain, so there was nothing that could be done. He was on a lot of pain killers, and one of the doctors told me I should get him some pot and they would make sure we had privacy. He hated and loved the pain killers. Hated them because he couldn't think clearly (though he wrote two songs, some poetry and journal entries in the hospital), loved them for the obvious reason that they took some of the edge off his pain.After 39 days there,with a desperate look in his eyes, he said to me, "I don't want to die. I need more time with you."
That night he kept trying to get out of bed. He got out and fell on the floor. The nurses got him back in bed and asked me if I wanted them to revive him. I did want that. I didn't want to lose him. Later, a couple of hours before dawn, he became very agitated again. I convinced him to stay in the bed, but it was clear to me that he was about to leave his body, and I was sorry that I had not let him leave the first time. I just kept hearing him say, "I don't want to die." I held his hand and kept telling him, "I will always love you."
I didn't call the nurses until a few minutes after he passed. I stayed with his body for about 3 hours because I could still feel his presence. He died 8 days before my 27th birthday. I'm 62 now, and I still sing his songs and recite the poetry he wrote about me. I also read his last journal on occasion.
Someday, maybe I'll write about the other 3 deaths. Suffice it to say I learned from my husband's experience how better to let go.
I am a retired RN that worked mainly in ICU and critical care. I can't remember the number over nearly 30 years that I saw. What I do remember is that I was touched by those families losses. Some yelled and screamed, even when they knew death was inevitable, some said nothing, and some felt an enormous amount of relief, but were very ashamed to let anyone know that their loved one was no longer in pain.
Entering the patient's rooms and turning off the monitoring equipment was always difficult, because the families would watch the heartbeat or blood pressure and have a few seconds of what looked like improvement, but was just the body shutting down.
The most difficult death I ever witnessed was a 23 year-old young man that fastened a chain around a tree branch and around his neck. He then took a step off of the roof of his car. The attempted hanging did not kill him, but it did herniate his brain stem, and when we got him, there was this beautiful body of a young man, and the only marks on him were the bruised areas around his neck which were possible to make out as links from a chain. He was body was trying to shut down, but the paramedics had put a tube down his throat to assist with his breathing. The family was very strongly Roman Catholic, and when the transplant team explained to the family how many people's lives he could save if he were taken off of the ventilator and multiple medications to stabilize his blood pressure, keep his urine output normalized, provide nutrition and vitamins that his body would stop functioning. The family went off of the wall and accused us (the hospital staff) of attempting to kill him. Over time, he developed pneumonia, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, and we had no magic potions to keep him alive. One of the family members told the social worker that if a person killed themselves, they would not be allowed to go to Heaven. He ended up dying of all of the things that attack dying bodies.
I felt terrible for the family because of their loss but I was angry with the family for the million dollar hospital bill that would never be paid as well as two people would not receive cornea implants to see, two people who would die from not getting lung transplants, one or more person would die because they did not get liver transplants, another for missing a pancreas transplant, another for the lack of a heart, burn patients who would not heal as well for lack of skin transplants, bone, tendons-the list of the number of lives one donated body in such perfect condition would be able to help is bigger than most people realize.
I could understand the families belief that if their son was taken off of life support he would go to hell. I also feel angry at those parents for the number of lives that were lost because they could not see organ donation for the gift it is, and how it would have enabled their son to live on.
A motorcylist made a grevious mistake and flew from under a truck and landed on the roadway right in front of my car. I'm grateful that I was far enough behind the bike and truck that he didn't land on my hood. His body went at least 10 or more feet in the air and back several car lengths.
I stopped and ran to his side, as did the drivers behind me. He lay on his stomach and did a strange gulping for air. I was kneeling on the ground by his head...all the others stood over us both and shouted "don't move him!" They were concerned about his spine. So, no one moved him. I thought he was going and needed CPR but was too intimidated by everyone hovering over me to act against the crowd.
I whispered to him non-stop begging him to hold on. I don't recall how quickly the fire truck arrived but the EMTs immediately turned him on his back and started CPR. I felt so miserable watching.
The highway patrol took a statement and waved us all on. I drove to work quite shaken and just spent my day drafting a letter of what happened for his family. I also arranged for a friend to remove my 2 motorcycles from my carport before I got home. I gave both away. Once home, I sobbed for hours.
In the next day's paper, there was a small article. He was an architect who had once been in the Peace Corps in Togo. Charlie.
I took my letter to the funeral home mentioned in the paper. I wasn't sure if I should go to the service a few days hence, but a good friend said I should and she'd join me.
His best friend gave a eulogy by starting with the words: "The best thing about Charlie is that he always listened to everything you said." My friend and I looked to each other and teared up at that. It was as if he was speaking directing to me.
After the service, my friend suggested that I approach the family, which I did. His girlfriend spoke to me first asking how I knew him. I explained. Her next question floored me as she asked "What happened?"
My letter was very detailed so obviously it wasn't shared widely. The girlfriend beckoned Charlie's mother to get my story. I froze up...what was going on?, I thought. Just then, Charlie's dad came and ushered them quickly away from me.
Ah, the dad didn't want others to hear. Charlie was in the slow lane and made the dumbest mistake of trying to pass the truck on its right. If any of you know the Waldo Grade in Marin above Sausalito going southbound, you know there are steep rocky outcroppings. Sure enough, he did this between the truck, the white line, curb and a wall of stone. A small confined space. Small rocks on the roadway that fell from the outcroppings made him unstable and under the truck he went.
I was utterly mortified by the dad's reaction. His best friend who gave the eulogy stayed behind since he figured out what the dad was wanting to avoid. He was very kind and thanked me for coming. I only cried when I returned to the parking lot.
Twenty-five years on, I travel that stretch of road 5 mornings a week. Every time, I think of him. Then, I think about his mom. The person that thinks of him daily too.
Once I had a job helping a woman named Carla die of lung cancer. She kept begging me to kill her, something with which I had some experience, but Art, her heartless, anal German-Jewish boyfriend, hawked me night and day, allowing me to administer only the most meager pain medication, not nearly often enough.
It was his house she was dying in, a sterile, barren place on top of Bel Air. The views were exquisite, as the place was all glass, but the glass theme extended to the interior, and plush white carpet covered all the floors, so there was absolutely no privacy.
Not only were the doors to the bedrooms also glass, but the combination of the plush carpet and the no-shoes rule made it impossible to ever hear Art creeping up. Art loved me, but he was a dangerously selfish man.
I slept on the floor of Carla's room, though there was barely any sleep for either of us. We'd whisper through the night, hoping Art wouldn't hear us and come spying. On bad nights, when she'd wake up panicked, I'd guide Carla through peaceful visualizations, explain to her how and why it was okay to let go, to visit those lovely places and even stay there should she choose to do so.
On good nights she'd tell me stories of her rowdier days. She'd come from an old Vaudeville family who'd taken the local LA scene by storm in the '20's.
In later life Carla became the wild card of the wealthy country club set, which is where she met Art. She never really fit in, always went a little too far, but they all got a big kick out of her so kept her around. I got the feeling her unusual childhood had made her an outsider, and she'd secretly always wanted to belong to the in-crowd. At the country club, she finally did.
By the time I met Carla, her country club friends were the only ones she had left. Coming from a show biz family, looks had always been important to her; she'd kept her dark hair dyed perfectly blond and set, her body trim, her clothes new and by top designers only.
Because of this vanity, and her inherent stubbornness, when she shriveled up in her dying days she refused to let any of her friends see her. In fact, she was so stubborn that she forbade Art to hire anyone to help her, though, by then, there wasn't much she could do for herself and, lord knows, he was no help.
Her one daughter, Polly, came down from Oakland to try her hand, but she didn't have the knack and Carla soon sent her home.
Eventually Polly heard about me from a mutual friend of ours, thought -- who knows, maybe Carla would put up with me -- so invited me over one time she was down visiting.
The plan was for me to pretend I was a friend of Polly's, the sort of character who might entertain her spunky mother and, hopefully, because I never knew her in her heyday, Carla may agree to come out of her room and meet me. I secretly brought some things with me in the hopes that, if it went well, I wouldn't leave. And that's the way it went.
Carla and I immediately dug each other, had a lot more in common than either of us did with Polly, so Polly went home and I stayed.
Damn, Carla was a stubborn old broad! The only thing that kept her kicking was her determination to make it to the party of the year that was coming up at the club in a couple of months.
I was familiar enough with cancer to recognize how little a chance there was she could hang on that long. But we shared an affinity for fuck-you shock tactics and both enjoyed discussing how she could blow some minds showing up at that party from her death bed.
Her friends continued to hound her with daily phone calls and pleas to come visit, but she wouldn't dream of caving in. There was also a neighbor guy who was a bit of a Gladys Kravitz, constantly snooping around, trying to peek in whenever Art or I came in or went out. He belonged to the same country club.
I could tell that Carla genuinely liked some of her friends in particular, and they all seemed to adore her. She'd always been a real social butterfly, so it was a shame her vanity was causing her to deny herself the pleasure of friendship.
By then I'd developed phone relationships with many of her friends and I knew they were curious as hell about me. Who was this one person Carla allowed to see her? Perhaps they had some shallow, gossipy country club values, but they clearly cared for Carla and were not eager to come simply to gawk.
It's common for some people to withdraw when they're dying. The thought of never again being able to spend time with loved ones is too hard, so they pull away beforehand. This was not the case with Carla.
She was obviously maintaining her interest in people, gossip, and shenanigans. So I finally concocted a scheme that allowed her to agree to visitors. We tried it out first on the nosy neighbor.
At the time, I had huge red, puffy hair. Somewhere I came across an official white lab jacket and embroidered my name on one of the many pockets. My nieces were 3 & 5 then, proud owners of giant thermometers, stethoscopes, and other brightly colored, over-sized, cartoony-looking medical equipment. I borrowed those and hung them from the pockets of the lab jacket which barely covered my ass.
When I invited the male Gladys Kravitz in for a drink, I wore nothing but the festooned lab coat and white spike heels. I stroked him and gushed, repeatedly bent at the waist to reveal some bare butt, played the ditzy bimbo nurse to the hilt, while I plied him with drinks, throwing back strong-looking, secretly non-alcoholic ones myself, fawned over Carla and gave her legitimate injections.
The guy was knocked senseless, couldn't get out fast enough, probably was racing to the telephone. He was in such disarray that he forgot his jacket and I got to wiggle down the street after him with it, cooing, yoohoo! honey!
Carla nearly shat herself, which, I confess, didn't take much those days. In her deep smoker's growl she admitted, "I may be dying, but damn I've done some living, and I don't think I've ever seen anything as funny as that!"
Afterwards she agreed to select visitors, mostly her women friends, though she preferred to see me pull my stunts on men.
Daughter Polly came down from Oakland pretty regularly. Toward the end, she stayed there. It wasn't too long after meeting each other that we started fucking.
There's a psychological theory that it's common for people facing mortality to crave sex. Maybe it's not even a psychological thing but a primal, evolutionary one.
I don't know if that has anything to do with why, but it was the best sex either of us had ever had (and, for me, it was pretty much my last). We even discussed having a baby together, getting me impregnated with Polly's half-brother's sperm. Carla was thrilled, and determined to convince her uptight son to donate his seed.
She was sure we'd have a girl and she started referring to the baby as "Princess," even began buying things for Princess, her favorite being a little pink Cadillac.
Because Polly didn't have the wacky gene Carla and I shared, she was somewhat embarrassed by this behavior. Probably a lot of Polly's attraction to me was based on my similarity to her mother, though she'd spent her childhood embarrassed by Carla continually going too far.
My attraction to Polly was that she was funny, amused me, was the only Jew I'd ever fucked, felt like family by then, was financially responsible, seemed to offer my last chance of having kids with someone, and damn, was she good in bed.
Carla did hold on for the country club shindig. By then she weighed under 80 pounds and had been semi-comatose for days. It took an entire day for me to get her properly gussied up.
The Bimbo Nurse phase, which had ended when she became too out of it for giggles, had gotten her over her medical embarrassment. She'd learned to appreciate the perversity of the situation and figured the more tubes and bags hanging out of her the better. Not that we added any extras -- she was hooked up to a million things -- but previously she'd tried to hide all that.
Of course the Bimbo Nurse accompanied Carla to the country club party. I can't really say it was anti-climactic because I could see how vindicated it made Carla feel, even though she was practically dead. People were absolutely scandalized by our routine.
Within 24 hours of the party, I could tell it was the day Carla was going to die. She wasn't going smoothly, either, the way George had, but then I hadn't had anyone keeping me from keeping George comfortable. Emily Fisher's answer to Have you witnessed anything noticeable happen immediately after someone dies?
Carla was miserable, tortured, gurgling, choking on her own fluids. I knew she was dying soon but why should she have to suffer so? For the millionth time I was furious with Art as the partial cause of her agony.
Somehow I got both him and Polly out of the house. I suppose they were too frightened to protest. Carla was on a morphine pump that was locked and regulated by the home health nurse who showed up once a week or so. Art had him buffaloed into thinking Carla was doing okay pain-wise.
In George's day those morphine pumps hadn't existed yet. I'd been shooting him up with morphine every 2 hours round the clock, which doesn't work near as well as getting a steady flow. In the end, I turned his feeding machine into a morphine drip and he went out peacefully.
After getting Art and Polly out of the house I called the home health nurse to get the fuck over here pronto and jack up this morphine pump. But I didn't reach the nurse, could only leave a message.
Carla was suffering more every second, choking, choking, choking. I couldn't stand to see her go like that so I smashed open the morphine pump to get at the goods. Unfortunately, by then, Carla's whole system had shut down, her veins were clogged, nothing would go in them. I realized she hadn't been receiving any morphine at all.
I only had intravenous drugs, which I knew wouldn't help her if I were to inject her intramuscularly. It was unbearable to watch her suffer like that so I did the only thing I could think to do:
I climbed into bed with her, held her tight, and hummed my Ecstasy tune that comforts from within. As I caught the rhythm, I began to allow the hums to form words, and the words images, of the landscapes she'd enjoyed most during my earlier guided meditations, months before.
I held her and hummed and rocked, and her gurgling began to slow down. Gurgle once, deep blue sea and crashing waves, gurgle twice, mountain forest with scent of pine, gurgle thrice, a well lit stage with a standing ovation audience.
I held her so tightly, willing her to leave her agony.
I don't know how long this went on before I realized I was rocking, humming and babbling to a corpse.
When I tried to release Carla's body, I discovered not only that we were attached by a large mess of goo that had leaked out of her mouth and nose, but that I'd been squeezing her so hard, her face had squashed up like Silly Putty.
Polly and Art didn't need to see this, and I knew they could appear silently on the plush white carpet at any time.
I quickly grabbed towels, mopped her up, threw the towels into the hamper, rearranged her face to look more normal, and had just plopped into the chair by the bed with her hand in mine when the nurse walked in, followed by Art and Polly. I looked at them mournfully and said, "She's gone..."
Death is not always as pretty as George's.