November 24, 2016

Death conjures up unimaginable emotions, ripping holes in the hearts and minds of those involved. The person dying, the loved ones suffering, and the scientists treating, all define death differently. The brain tries to take in the news but can't seem to accept the fact that the person is gone forever; not away in a strange country across the salty seas, but gone with no return.  According to the dictionary, the definition of death is the permanent ending of a vital process in a cell or tissue. But death can be just strictly science, or the impairing grief, or even the joyous relief from the constant devastation of pain.

Doctors treat patients on the verge of death daily. First handedly, the physicians tell absolute strangers their loved one has passed away; but it's old news. "I'm sorry but we did everything we could..." is just another sentence and yet another victim sent to the grave. But the monstrous tumors that consumed the vital organs is seen as a perplexing learning process for the new medically inclined interns. Those foreign aliens in the body are what made medicine so intellectual and technology so far advanced. Pathologists examine the bodies of the deceased as part of their daily career. Nothing but fascination is felt as they dig through the rotting flesh to solve the mystery of death. But can death really be solved?

Family members deteriorate in the unknown questions of why, or how. Loved ones mourn not just at the funerals, cremations, and burials but in the once comfort of their own home. Little things like a simple cup of coffee, the smell of a perfume, the indentation in their bed, remind them of their beloved, and everywhere they turn a feeling of extreme sorrow courses through the melancholic veins. They are forced to adjust to the missing place mat at dinner time, and the sound of silence since no one is there to laugh at their corny jokes and the empty bedroom because the belongings were too hard to look at. Seeing someone with the decedent's shirt or their favorite piece of jewelry makes the living want to run up and hug the unknown since their mind played a cruel trick of deception. The reality comes back all at once and they stand in their puddle of dripping remorse.  Hearing people speak the name of their departed brings a flood of memories, sending scorching daggers through their broken souls. Years pass and the conversations regarding the death doesn't cause agony or mental torture anymore. People move on and appear to forget the tragic event. But can death truly be forgotten?

The young woman lies in the hospice bed, with the cold scratchy sheets covering the tired, fight less body. She pulls them up to her saggy chin with the little strength she has left. Nurses clang around with the different narcotics in an attempt to ease the pain. Nauseating food is shoved down her sore, tender throat from the tube jammed up her nose. Red marks cover her now dry, pale skin as she rubs the pricks out of her motionless legs from the injections of her numbing medicine. Even rolling over or shifting positions is unbearable. The bland room is going to be her last sight. The staff does everything they can to make her feel comfortable but nothing will be enough. Nothing simulates that of the warmth radiating off of her spouse or her down comforter that smells of her children. She aimlessly stares at the pictures, flowers and stuffed bears that line across the off white counter top. The needle in her lap constantly crosses her mind of how she could end her misery. Another round of anesthesia to kill the agony. She prays to not wake up. She prays she can be relieved of her slow painful death, to be rid of the torment of not only her disease but of the despair  inflicted on her most precious crushed souls. But can death actually bring relief? 

Solving death is a mystery that scientists will forever research. The nanosecond between life and death at this point in time is unexplainable. However, someone who has experienced the loss of a dear loved one can tell you the exact moment in time when it happens. This sensation and moment is never forgotten. The ill are set free of their jail of demons and finally achieve peace. Their war is over. The finality of ones’ life can be the subject of science, the end of a generation, or the cure for the ravaged. Death has many meanings depending on your point of view...

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