April 22, 2014

the lonliness of suffering

“Oh God, midnight’s not bad, you wake and go back to sleep, one or two’s not bad, you toss but sleep again. Five or six in the morning, there’s hope, for dawn’s just under the horizon. But three, now, Christ, three A.M.! Doctors say the body’s at low tide then. The soul is out. The blood moves slow. You’re the nearest to dead you’ll ever be save dying. Sleep is a patch of death, but three in the morn, full wide-eyed staring, is living death! You dream with your eyes open. God, if you had strength to rouse up, you’d slaughter your half-dreams with buckshot! But no, you lie pinned to a deep well-bottom that’s burned dry. The moon rolls by to look at you down there, with its idiot face. It’s a long way back to sunset, a far way on to dawn, so you summon all the fool things of your life, the stupid lovely things done with people known so very well who are now so very dead – And wasn’t it true, had he read somewhere, more people in hospitals die at 3 A.M. than at any other time...” - Ray Bradbury from Something Wicked This Way Comes

     I can close my eyes and the memory comes unabated.  I was giving my brother liquid morphine every thirty minutes as the hours passed into that abyss nearing 3 am.  It was time for his next dose and as I got all my tools ready, I noticed in the smallest moment that his breathing slowed and became more regular, less labored.  In that small moment, time stood still and spread to infinity.  I felt in that instant the cold stare of Death's eyes upon my brother.  In truth, my brother as I knew him had left long ago leaving only his fading body, myself and Death in the room.  Naught was left but the profane and profound, the sacred and forbidden, the tangible and intangible forever ordained to play out in my head alone.

1 comment:

Abe said...

I,too, have not slept through a Sunday Morning for almost three years.I awake around 2 or 3 and remember.It will be 3years,May 22, at 3:30AM, that you called his time of death. Your First TOD. Thank-you,dear son, for being there,for him,for us. I love you, mom