Freewritten post

Free writing is a prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism.

We’re all going to die. It’s a morbid reality that we generally prefer not to think about but it’s the truth. Invent nano machines to run around our bodies and repair cells, remove cancers and restore our youth there’ll always be something that eventually puts an end to our finite time. It’s a fact of life. Death and taxes they say. I still haven’t paid my tax bill from last year.

When death enters your life it’s unsettling, someone you’ve known will no longer be and there a raft of emotions that come along with such an even that I’m not sure anyone, regardless of how many people they lose, will ever truly feel comfortable with.

My mum works in an old folks home, surrounded by people who aren’t long for the world. I grew up with her coming home from work and telling me this person had gone or this person might not make it through the night. Every couple of months another one would disappear from the ledgers and you could see in her eyes the pain that went along with that. It didn’t matter if they were the most troublesome patient on the ward, they were no longer, and regardless of how compassionate that may have been in some awfully ill cases it was still sad.

You would think being around that, each day after school being near those types of people, might prepare you for what’s to come. But you’re a child. The world, death, life, it’s all still a riddle of fairytales, there’s nothing tangible to it.

It wasn’t until I was around 10 when my Grandpa died that I truly started to understand what dying meant. He’d been sick for a while, a couple of strokes had left him pretty much bedridden in a place almost identical where my mum worked. We’d visit him and I’d sit in the corner of the room and do my homework while he did his best to communicate. He was so frustrated lying in that bed, the world plain as day in front of him yet completely out of his reach to interact with. He was in so much pain. I realise that now, but as a 10 year old, Grandpa was sick in bed.

He got worse obviously and as time went on I knew I’d not be getting the same Grandpa back to the point I started getting really worried about it. I kept asking mum questions as any inquisitive child does, the whole concept of life & death became a very real and consuming concept to me. So much so my parents bought me a dog to get my mind off of it. I don’t remember being depressed at all but apparently I had an un required concern for the concept as a 10 year old.

The phone rang at home, Grandma was there, so it was probably a Tuesday because that was mum’s day off and I was home from school for a reason I honestly don’t remember. No mobiles back then, just the old rotary hanging on the lime green wall dinging away on physical bells. Mum answered, our cups of tea left steaming on the dining room table as Grandma lowered her head and put her hands in her lap. It was the third phone call that morning, their intervals decreasing exponentially. Mum didn’t even really answer, she knew it was the home calling her again, she nodded verbally with a soft “uh-huh” and handed the phone to Grandma who stood up and put the receiver against her ear.

“Thank you”. That was all I remember her saying, before she hung up the phone and hugged my mum. I was there too. Crying. I knew what had happened. Right then at that moment I understood the true meaning of dying. My Grandpa was gone and there was nothing I could do. Nothing anyone could’ve done or do to change that. I cried and cried and cried.

With adult life and the realisation you learn to sort of insulate or numb yourself to the whole thing to a degree. Or I have anyway. You tell yourself things like “It’s a fact of life” or “They had a good run” whilst in the back of your head you add up how many years older they were and shit yourself that you’re steadily creeping up to there yourself.

None of that works though when it’s a completely different scenario you haven’t experienced before. Someone your own age or younger for example. Or even worse yet when they’re your age but choose to end their life. How do you deal with that? How can you even begin to comprehend that decision? I can’t. I just don’t know where to start… write a thousand words perhaps?
Last week a friend took their own life.

Ended it.

Chose to. Of their own accord.

No phone call. No note. No asking for help. Nothing. Not to me anyway.

There are things you just can’t prepare yourself for and this was one of them for me. Of course I found out, as you would in today’s techno-driven world, via Facebook. A mutual friend posting to the wall of my lost friend. Insane.

I can now understand why people call those who choose to end their lives selfish. Of all the emotions I’ve gone through this past week anger stands clear as the dominant one. Anger that she felt she couldn’t ask her friends for help, anger that things were that bad she felt she had no other choice, anger for taking the easy way out, anger at GIVING UP! I can’t understand it and it hurts damn it. Fuck!

Breathe… breathe… there were reasons I’m sure. Her own that will forever be her own. A long history of depression and the battles that go along with that a large contributor I’m sure but still, I couldn’t feel more shit that death was the best option for whatever the problem may have been.

Thirty three and gone. So sad.

I cried. And cried.

Goodbye Emma.

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