Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

A Verb Before Dying This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

By
Lose: to come to be without, through accident, theft, etc., so that there is little or no prospect of recovery.

The word leaves an empty feeling, as if the breath used when saying it takes away a bit of life. There was no prospect of recovery for a while. Sitting in a hospice, crowding around a bed of antiseptic filth, holding his clammy hands while he slept. Was he lost already?

Pass: to let go without notice, action, remark, etc.; disregard; overlook.

It brings to memory the sound of a car zooming down a wet street at night. Those cars that pass my house on rainy nights have somewhere to go – a purpose – and they want to get there fast. He was always a fast driver, but never one to shoot by a warm house filled with his daughters, his parents, his sons. Was he disregarding our pleas? Overlooking our prayers? Did he let us go without fair warning, without a word? As he sped by, he may have been weighted with regrets, but he was unable to voice them. If he passed, it was not his choice; he was a prisoner transported to where he did not want to go. Innocent, yet accused.

Decease: to depart from life.

Decease – de-cease – cease. It reminds me of war, a cease-fire. The end of bombardments and a start of reparations, a scar on those ­involved, grief on a global scale: the dousing of a world on fire, then the collection of its ashes. This disease hijacked our lives. We ­endured stress beyond imagination, looked down when we knew not to; then, swooping up, we were brought to the sun. The fighter jet began a death spiral, crashing down and simply adding to the debris, throwing us among it.

Take: to get into one’s hands, possession, control, etc., by force or artifice.

In all the world history classes I’ve attended, no dictator has ever said “Please.” Hitler took Germany and Mussolini took Italy. Take is versatile; it can go anywhere, from Adolf Hitler to the force controlling our lives. That high and mighty figure twisted the verb against us all. He is a peaceful being, or at least that is how He is portrayed. A giving man who’s not afraid to play around with His people a ­little, giving His children rests at random times. He has also never been afraid to use force.

Slowly, He tested everyone’s competence to deal. Doctors, nurses, and specialists were baffled, thus unworthy of His exam. So the loved ones bore the burden and bargained all they could with the more-important Him. Slowly, they failed. The failure reflected on his body – the sallow skin, yellow eyes, and loss of speech. By sheer “holy” force, he was wrenched from our hands, straight into the greater good.

Die: to undergo the permanent cessation of all vital functions; become dead.

Death is finality. The “eye” sound stumbles off your lips, the end rolls, then drops to the ground with the weight of an anvil. Permanence is hard to come by, but the most horrible verb is defined by it. It is a cancellation. You get no warning, and you are forced to make decisions at the drop of a body. It is necessary for me to live with whatever was left unsaid and let old scars fade, forget past arguments. Sympathy becomes a synonym of his name, and he is alive in spirit only. The empty house is filled with ghosts of his past movements. He’s everywhere. And he’s dead.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the November 2008 Teen Ink Nonfiction Contest.





Join the Discussion


This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

the_Horsegirl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 16, 2010 at 4:47 pm:
What a soulful, heartfelt piece. You have a very original, memorable writing style.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
englishteacher said...
Nov. 16, 2008 at 5:17 pm:
I had to read this several times - it is amazing. What a gift of expression you have. Keep writing!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback