My neighbor died today, I had done cpr on him for over an hour, but I knew there was little chance he was coming back. Death is a strange thing, in our soft society it’s blurred over so fast, so purposeful to not remind our vanity and psychopathy that we ‘may’ actually die. When you don’t think there is a time limit on your life, you have no impetus to do anything with your life.
I knew him for a long time, pretty smart with multiple phds. I would always ask him about stuff and he was pretty open with sharing his knowledge because many young people gave a shit about our elders so was eager to someone who cared. Its very strange to know someone you were talking to then a week later he is gone…forever.
I – for better or worse- am pretty ‘experienced’ with death, my girlfriend of 2nd grade got plowed by a car, my best friend died around 4th grade, and thourgh middle/high school about 1 a year of a friend dying, this does not include 7 dogs that have died, each one as if I had lost a sister.
To most people in this society death is something that happens ‘elsewhere’ maybe your uncle dies, or someone’s family member died, but its never direct, in your face. The first time I ran on a call for a women that was having a heart attack was a bit unreal, I was like 21 at the time; its very strange seeing someone that was there, and now they are not. You think weird things like ‘why did they pick those shoes today?’ or ‘did they know this would be the last shirt they wore?’ you see pictures on the wall, wondering when they last looked at them, or the life they lived to WANT to pick those.
His wife was happy to see me, in a mixed desperation of ‘Save him please!’ I arrived and saw his body grey, lifeless. I went straight to cpr, but I knew the odds were remote. The weather was bad, and an AED was over 30 minutes away. I dutifully did it, compressing, knowing there was little chance he could be saved, but nagged by my own mind that if I stopped he definitely was dead.
I don’t feel guilty about not being able to save him, I’ve seen enough deaths to know when its probably over, but there is always a twinge of ‘if I stop now he is definitely dead’. At first I vowed to myself I would remember each death that happened, it was so powerful and visceral, but…they blur together. I am not sure how many I have seen probably somewhere near 30 separate ones, they literally form an amorphous blob in my mind, I can recall a few of the more notable ones but it becomes a matter of course in life. To others that I talk to they are curious ‘what its like seeing someone die’ I don’t hate them for their naivety, but its a bad reminder of how sheltered we are, that something so simply, yet so profound is hidden from us.
I feel bad for a lot of the psychopaths that are unable to realize they are going to die, and feel nothing when others die. It doesnt allow them to live correctly, they think there will ‘always be time’ and no urgency to anything they do. It’s sad, I have seen far too much end-of-life-regret to know how frequently it hits nearly everyone. Things like regretting going for some chance in life, never hiking some mountain, never getting a motorcycle, never making up with someone you fell out with.
Life end for us all, and few people process this truth. Maybe in some way we come back again, but the undeniable truth is your life is fleeing every moment. You absolutely must seize the time you have, it’s more limited than any of us imagine.
This is a perfect song too:
It’s latin from a ode by Horace, but here is the translation
Hey, Postumus, Postumus,
The years are slipping by quickly and
Piety will not delay the wrinkles,
The old age, or the untamed death;
Not even if every day,
My friend, you try to please,
Pluto the Dry-eyed with three hundred bulls,
for he keeps Geryon and Tityos in check,
Behind the river which must be
crossed by all of us, who feed
upon the gifts of the earth, whether we be
kings or poor peasants.
In vain we flee from the blood-thirsty Mars,
And from the raging waves of the hoarse Adriatic,
In vain we fear the southern wind,
which blows in the autumn and harms our bodies.
You must see the Cocytus river,
meandering with its sluggish flow,
and the infamous children of Danaus,
and Sisyphus, son of Aeolus, condemned to hard labour.
You must leave the earth, the home,
and the loving wife and none of the trees,
which you have tended will accompany you,
their master for a short time, except the hated cypresses.
Your worthier heir will consume your
Caecubian wines, locked with a hundred locks,
and on the ground he will spill the proud wine
better than the one served at high priests’ feasts.