When does the end begin?

When does the end begin? Is it January 15, 2014, when you decided on surgery? Later in the month, when you scheduled surgery? The day you left for surgery? The day of the operation itself?  When you stopped breathing? Sometime during the code?

The end has become a story itself. The end is long. It stretches away before and beyond the code. We do not know when, exactly, you ceased to be yourself. Five minutes into the code? Twenty? Was it a slow process of un-becoming? Did your brain slip away piece-meal? Did you see a white light, travel towards death in peace? Or was your brain too damaged for that? And what of the second death, the body death? We lost you then, too, but did you lose us? Where were you, all that time? Gone already?

I’ve been living the end all month, and today I realized that tomorrow, February 9, is the day I last saw you as yourself. Tomorrow is when you left for surgery. Brains are funny. Mine says if I can prevent tomorrow, I don’t have to lose you. Of course, I already have. But my brain can’t understand. I have special brain-walls that protect me from knowing you’re dead, except in moments. There are more moments in February.

On February 9, when you left for surgery, I was worried about hugging you, because I was getting over a cold. If I got you sick, they wouldn’t operate. I hesitated at good-bye and reminded you about the cold. “Oh, fuck that!” you said, and reached to hug me.  A quick good-bye. I don’t remember you leaving, but I can see the light in the living room and the angle of your head as you spoke. The stiffness of your neck brace and the swing of your pony-tail.


About rayajen

I am a high-strung, fast-talking introvert. I was raised (and live) in the Pacific Northwest, in a loud, Jewish family. I love trees, and tea, and words. Please feel free to share my work, but link back to my page, or contact me with questions. I can be reached at rjkirtner@gmail.com.
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One Response to When does the end begin?

  1. Amy says:

    You’re on my mind this time of year, in particular; I am so sorry it’s such an extended trauma. Sending you love and warmth ❤

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