I’m still here.
It’s just I haven’t felt like writing much and I don’t even know where to begin in telling you why.
I’ve heard a lot recently that the world is going to end soon. The Mayan calendar predicts that by the end of the 2012, the world as we know it will no longer exist. December 21st, in fact. A cataclysmic end to the history of Earth is predicted. Leading up to this date, as things come to a head, it has also been said that life will run at such a chaotic pace that we will be fielding hits and wading through enormous upheaval all the way to the end.
Who knows? I’ve come to the conclusion that anything is possible.
It certainly explains things.
In order to protect the privacy of those involved, I can’t really say much. What I will say is that the last week has been one of those blood-draining life-flattening weeks which derail you from the inside and leave ripped, ragged holes in places they shouldn’t be.
In the midst of it all, I woke up this morning to a pack of policemen and paramedics huddling together in my neighbour’s backyard. As I walked outside and saw them, my heart sank. I knew even before they told me.
My neighbour is a chronic alcohol and over the past three months since his wife had left, he had been getting thinner and scragglier and one time when Joel found him walking the streets, he gave him a lift home and the smell that oozed from him was like mouldy salami, Joel said. Like fermenting meat. With every passing week, I would see him walk to the bottle shop shakier and more ghostly than the day before. I called Lifeline for advice on what to do because I knew he had nobody who cared about him. They told me I could let him know we were there if he needed but that, really, you couldn’t help anyone who didn’t want to help themselves.
So I knew.
I knew that he had drunk himself to death. I knew that he had died all alone. I knew that he had probably stayed dead in that house for days and days until somebody noticed.
The paramedics said that he’d been there for a while – possibly a week – and the thought of that was so horrible I had to sit down. Should I have paid more attention? Should I have checked in on him more? Would it have mattered, in the end? Whether he was lying there dead for a few hours or a week – he still died alone, didn’t he? He still lay there dead while nobody really noticed.
I do suspect that he’d probably been dead long ago. Connection to others is the thing that makes us alive, after all. The love we share, the bonds we form, the help we give and receive, the times when we step out of our small little heads and we reach each other and really see each other, like those crabs on the beach that dart in and out of their hidey-holes. That is what fuels life, those connections. They are the tender parts of life which we hold delicately in the palms of our hands and protect fiercely. Those connections ARE human life. If only you existed, with not one single other person, human life would die. We need each other – to procreate yes, but to give meaning to this life we live. To give it colour and sound and vibrancy and depth.
My neighbour had burned all his connections. The people in his life – his wife, his children – they had clipped their ties and walked away. Here was a man, then, who was dead. Here was a man with nothing. Nothing but a bottle of booze and his own misery. It was just so tragic. It made me think, We’ve lost another one – another one didn’t make it, because the ideal ending is the satisfaction of holding in your heart a life well lived, isn’t it? It’s dying in a room full of people you love and thanking the stars above that you were lucky enough to have them as yours. It’s leaving nothing unspoken. Nothing unresolved. Nothing messy or broken or sharp. It’s staring directly at death – unshaken – and saying I’m ready. If you must take me, I’m ready. I have lived and loved as fully as I possibly could and now I’m ready.