Friday, 10 May 2013

Snippet of a dream, because I had to write it

I woke up from a suffocating dream this morning. It still hasn't quite let me out of it strangling hold, even though I'm doing my best to shake it. It creeps up on me when I'm unaware, that little moment between taking my mug of hot milk out of the microwave and placing it underneath the coffee maker for a fresh shot of caffeine.

My father died last August. We were told that he suffered from cancer in February of that year. It was an aggressive form, one that might be temporarily shocked into paralysis, but never eradicated. They made no promises. They gave us no deadline, just words of warning. Ever since that evening I prepared myself for the inevitable. When it came, I went on auto pilot. So much to arrange, to do, to take care of. An incredible amount of paperwork I had never expected or even considered. Whatever questions I had, I shoved to the back of my mind. I went into work mode. I worked, I arranged, I took care of things.

And now this dream.
This dream that demands I write it down.
Once, twice, three times, however many it takes.
So here it is, a snippet.


I am me, but I am trapped. Inside my body. Looking out through two eyes that are bright as day and that want to take in every rose petal, every ray of sun. People around me are somber and I know there is something wrong. Very wrong. I am dying.
My body is giving up on me. Parts of it are paralyzed  the other parts are just ignoring my every command and making me work for the smallest movement. My voice is nearly gone and I can only make myself heard by whispering as loudly as my lungs will allow. And even then they don't understand what I'm trying to say.

I am locked inside the prison that is my own body. Yet I can look down on it and still see it as it used to be, walking, skipping, dancing. No more. I am stuck and my inside is slowly turning on me. All I can do is sit and watch and feel. I am dying and there is no stopping it. Nobody knows what this feels like. Nobody knows how fucking fast this is proceeding. No pause, it won't relent. I have no say in this but I am not ready. I don't want to go. I'm not done yet. I disagree, I veto this, for god's sake.
I am still here. I am still me. The spark that animates this goddamn body is still aflame, but without the body the mind loses its anchor. 

I should be angry. I should be raging. I should be damning everyone and everything to hell for allowing this to happen to people. To me. But the fight has seeped out of me through the catheter. I am on the losing side of a battle I never wanted to fight. I fight with all my might, but it is useless. Bit by bit, cell by cell, piece by piece I am being destroyed from the inside out. My mind oversees but cannot control. My brain grasps but the insight is too shocking. I am dying and I don't want to die.

And yet there is an outer calm about me, surrounding me like a whitish grey fog. It must look as though I have reached a state of acceptance. Like hell I have. And yet... if this really is inevitable, I might just as well reconcile myself to it. Shut down before I go crazy. Let it happen. No expectations, nothing. Just... let it be.

Never have I had such an inner body experience. Especially an experience that isn't my own. All I have ever done these past months is imagine. I imagined what it must have been like for the opinionated and headstrong man to be reduced to such a helpless and angry figure in that over-sized hospital bed in the living room. He hardly ever complained. I know he was probably losing his eyesight - but realized that only in hindsight from remarks and hand gestures - but he never told me in so many words. He hardly told us anything.

I've had so many questions that I wasn't sure I really needed an answer to. And yet the first weeks my brain was busy reconstructing scenes I never even witnessed. That final moment, the extreme restlessness before he breathed his last breath... I've seen it play over and over in my mind, even though I wasn't even in the same house at the time.

Even after all this time, there are so many questions and I'm still not sure I really need them answered. Maybe some blanks are better left empty.

1 comment:

  1. It is so hard to deal with a loss of any kind, but especially more so the loss of someone so close to us. I'm so sorry you lost your father. There is nothing I can say to take away the pain. You'll go through many phases; some days you will think it's getting easier and then it will all come crashing back again. My heart goes out to you.

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