The Smell of Death

Faster than the explanation of what's to come; faster than the hole to be dug; faster than the peace of death's needly kiss are those five seconds you get to say goodbye.

This blog site is dedicated to the grotesque and often bitter end to that which we all share in common as we read- life. We find ourselves constantly in the wake of an entertainment industry thriving on our gross curiosity and morbid fears. Many would look down upon us with loathe, thinking us some sick bastards who disrespect and mock the recurring theme of humanity we all have some fear of.

This may be true for some. Certainly there are morbid folks out there who take great joy in the decay of life. But nonetheless, death is a part of us, our culture and our celebrations. Why, this past Sunday, many celebrated the rebirth of a figure whose death promised them salvation- Jesus.

For me, it is not a sort of leisurely cheap entertainment. In fact, often I disconnect from scenes where death is displayed in colors more vivid than the forth of July aerial sparks we so fondly enjoy. My disconnect isn't a form of denial- but rather an acknowledgment and moving on- kind of like the social dysfunction we call promiscuity.

But today, when faced with the real whim of death, I did what most of us do... I died a little on the inside. Not so much because death occurred, for in this situation, death had already happened perhaps a month prior. No, I died inside for the same reasons that I think we, however small of a population (though I feel like everyone has this relationship in some fashion; be it in a movie, book, video game or music), all do when faced with it.

Peace. Jealousy. I used to have a theory that said we cried at funerals not simply because we will miss the one we love, but because we are jealous and feel great peace.

Jealous because they now know what we yet do not. Regardless of your faith and how much you have of it, one fact remains: none of us know for sure what lie on the other side. In this regard, I strongly believed that we were jealous of the dead. Their suffering and curiosity were both severed. Their time had come. They left us behind to wade in the morbid pools of anticipation.

Peace because especially when dealing with someone or something that has suffered for a long while, we feel relieved. We no longer have to deal with their outburst of abuses, deep ruses of their fear and strength. We no longer have to wonder when their last breath will draw near. We no longer have to take care of them, a task that we do out of love, but one we dislike greatly simply because we feel as if we are doing useless acts to calm inevitable storms.

Think me not insensitive. I cried. I am sad. I did not know this poor soul laid to rest well. I was not attached to him. But as I saw him accept his fate, long ago, witnessed by his lack of interest in holding on- which resulted in a rapid consumption of his mass and mind- I realized he was far braver than I.

He had a smell today, unlike anything I have smelled before and something for which I have no words. I knew, when taking him in, that his time was nigh. Having made all the necessary arrangements, and returning to him hours later, that final visit was all we had standing between us.

I had to carry emotions on behalf of other people who had fond memories. Those souls could not be there. I had to deliver their affections in the form of tears and sobs and comforting whispers. He could not look me in the eye. He knew what was coming but he also knew it had to be done. I think he felt like he was letting me down and putting me in this position of having to make that decision.

The doctor struggled with the needle- trying calmly and quickly to find a vein. He lay still not wincing with the pain of both needle and prediction. After what seemed to be hours, the correct placement of the needle was set and the long road of medicinal travels commenced.

Half-way through the process he let out some sound, a process that had to take a lot of effort as he had already lost the ability to communicate beyond whispers that day. And within seconds he passed to a slumber, his body unable to withstand the cruel force of gravity any longer.

We waited. Finally, the confirmation had to be, and was made. "He has passed," said the doctor with a rehearsed voice of comfort and professionalism. This was something he had done countless times before. How he managed to hold his composure is nothing short of a reality that his exposure to death had allowed him to find the beauty of it.

Wrapping Chekov in a towl, the doctor began to take him to the next step of the process which would prepare him for the final step. I had expected a sort of rigid reply from Chekov, having been under the impression that with death, stiffness sets in. However the bounty of peace we had just afforded him carried through with the total disconnect from his body. He was as flowing and responsive as the ocean, being pushed gently by the wind. His body rippled in response to the movement.

It is in this moment I realized that to some degree, my theory was not far off. Exposure to death prepares us for it. With each story, life lost, movie watched we become attuned to its call. We become peaceful to its cause. We realize that as cruel as it seems, this earth is not the end (we can talk about ghosts some time).

For the first time in my life I watched something die. I pushed the button, so to speak. I held him until he passed. Despite my distinct former fear of touching or being in proximity to the dead, I was able to pet his lifeless body and tell him I was sorry.

May you rest in peace. May you find comfort in death now for comfort humans and medicine could not and nature would not give to you in the last chapter of your life. I am very thankful that we are able to do for you what we cannot do for one another.

I shall not pursue this topic any longer for I have said all I intended to say. But in the macabre comes serenity. Thank you for showing me that, friend.

R.I.P. Chekov

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