Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dead vs. dying and the balance.

I had no idea when I began this process of learning about death and dying that the "dying" would be so painful. I was worried about dead bodies, about smells and fluids, and about making the bodies look nice for families. I now realize that I'm nowhere near that stage yet. Before the dead arrive, they have to die. The process of dying is where the core of my fear is.
I used to think that I feared "death." Now I know that it's dying that I'm afraid of and the more I learn about "dying" the more I find my fears are completely rational and founded in reality. Dying is, nine times out of ten, icky. Even if a person dies "comfortably in his home," it's still icky for someone.

Last night in class we talked about Jamie Butcher and the horrible decision his parents, Pattie and Jim, had to make to remove his feeding tube after caring for him for seventeen years. Yes, seventeen years. He was seventeen when he was injured in a car accident and they decided to pull his feeding tube when he was thirty-four. I cannot imagine my parents having to make that decision...I can't imagine having to make that decision myself for someone that I love. But, everyone always thinks that they'll never need to make that kind of a decision---lots of people find out that they're wrong.

I absolutely need to find ways to begin to desensitize myself. I cry in every class, and that needs to stop. I internalize everything--when I looked at Pattie Butcher I saw my mom. I can't allow that to happen or I'll never make it into the business. I'll break. The writer in me wants to fall into these feelings and swim in them, cover myself in them and write them out into beautiful scenes and verses. I need to find the balance.

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