Sunday, April 19, 2009

Circuit Disconnected

I tried to retain the small details: the impatient flickering light in the waiting room, the pasty naked walls of the hallway, how people were polite but not friendly. We were herded into the emergency room where they tried to revive him and then, when they knew there was no longer an emergency, they herded us into the room we would say our final goodbyes in.

I didn’t try not to cry, but tears didn’t come readily. He was 83 and had lived a good life and for that I didn’t feel I was losing him. I had been prepared that this could happen; I was just glad he wasn’t alone. He was attached to a breathing machine with no hope of recovery. I think his actual death may have been hours earlier. Other people had their theories about his soul and a chaplain was called. I didn’t see his soul; I saw his body, lying in front of me, a single black hair stuck to the tape that held a tube to his skin. Such insignificant details, but I wanted to remember.


I watched the machines with their numbers falling gradually like a parachute landing. I didn’t know what they were measuring but I do remember seeing “epinephrine” and “adrenaline”. Those are two of the ‘feel good’ hormones, I recalled. I tried to make sense of the whole death thing while I was exposed to it first hand. Eventually, they turned off the machine and people waited and people cried and then we went back to the waiting room. The impatient light still flickered as we tried to talk about normal things. What now? When will they release him? Are you sure you don’t need me to stay for another two hours? I did all I could and then I went home.

For Uncle Lorne

3/19/09