Think of all the people who’ve passed away, you still love them don’t you? That bond of love is unbreakable, the only thing to survive death.
Two years ago today I almost died on Jacob Riis Beach.
When Cameron and I arrive the water is furious, half the shore eaten up. With little to no sand to settle on we decide the rocks are a good idea.
Each of us a has a bottle of Merlot from Trader Joe’s.
Earlier we blazed in the backyard of my building.
We felt so safe, languishing in the brilliance of our position.
In retrospect it was idiotic and almost got me killed. Water slapping against craggy rocks is far more dangerous, the tide has a stronger pull.
Idiocy also saved me.
Having the audacity to lay down, only my elbows propping me up.
When the waves crashed in I was skipped like a pebble five feet forward. My elbows preventing my head from cracking like an egg, then preventing me from being sent to sea when the water receded.
A man ran twenty feet, leaving his baby and partner to help me. Cameron just watched, gripping the neck of the wine bottle I purchased for him (he was unemployed and broke).
Between my head cracking and being sent to sea there was a 66% probability of death. I made it. What shook me to the core was that this was the anniversary of my grandmothers death. In 2003 there was a city wide black out. The hospice my grandmother resided in felt it frivolous to turn on their back up generators, all the people were there to die anyways. So the next day she did.
Almost dying instilled in me a deeper reverence for water. So when the waves are incensed you better listen you puny human. A swift reminder that we are at the mercy of nature at all times. There’s just gotta be something keeping it all together for us, because it believes we’re worth consciousness.
Photo: Diztant Dreamer
This book taught me that without death we would do nothing. Having a limited amount of time forces us to be productive. So we seek our life purpose and create with a sense of urgency. #AMustRead
The old adage goes you regret what you don’t do, or in my case, say.
The last day I saw my grandmother is mine. The visit loops in my mind, over and over again. I should have told her I loved her. Upon our departure I was going to, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. Every time I opened my mouth to speak, my throat closed up, like if I did, I would birth the frog stuck in it… and cease to breath.
I would tell her next time. But next time never came. In a hospice with an amputated leg, due to cigarette related cancer, she welcomed death. She stopped eating food altogether, making a single exception for my father’s cow feet (this is a Caribbean dish and yes it’s delicious).
The energy of death is humid, heavy and stifling, permeating this poorly furnished, florescent room. Imagine endless bodies hooked to I.V’s, laying listlessly on hospital beds. All these people waiting to die, limbo exist.
We circle around her dismantled body, proffering her a final meal. This is her only moment of lucidity. When the aroma hits, she garners what little strength she has to sit up and eat. For a moment delusion transfers from her to me; she was so sharp I foolishly thought she would heal. I didn’t want her to leave me so bad. I would believe anything to make this go away. But it didn’t last long, shortly after finishing she descends back into the fog: forgetting who we are, mixing things up, creating events that never occurred. The beloved, vivacious, charismatic, funny woman, the life of the party is gone, even before she dies.
For what I didn’t know would be my last time I look at her. I want to tell her she is my favorite person, my hero; that if I could I would switch places with her, that I love her. But I couldn’t do it, because in my family being sensitive was seen as weak. As a child my mother often chided me for this characteristic, making me ashamed to show emotion. It wasn’t until I got older, that I learned being vulnerable, to let your guard down, open your heart to others, is actually a marker of strength. Not weakness. Anybody can be cruel, but to be vulnerable is for the brave.
I will always wish I was brave that day.