I stood in the hall of the hospital and tried to explain myself to a man who knows me well. “I’m not afraid to die. I’m not.” I protested. “It’s just that everything has been redefined. They’ve put me on a timeline. Now I have boundaries. I’m like a child who’s been put in a playpen. Every time I turn I face a fence.”
That’s how I feel: redefined.
But I’m not afraid to die.
I’ve never written about death. I’ve never really thought about it before. But now I think of it every day.
Sunday night I sat in a chair and watched a comedy concert. I think Kathleen Madigan’s comedy is genius. All at once I had a thought: my heart is a time bomb. And I felt panicked. I wait for my heart to fail. I don’t know when; they don’t know when. So I wait.
So I’ve thought about death. A lot.
For the first time, I’ve understood suicide. I’m not suicidal. I’m a Roman Catholic. I believe in heaven, hell, and purgatory. I do. Suicide is not an option to me. But I understand it now. It’s about the waiting. It’s about the desperation. It’s a can in the midst of can’t. It’s difficult to be confined in can’t.
I’ve spent a life battling biology with spirituality. I’ve defined myself as a spiritual being. And now I’m redefined as a biological being. Biology has taken precedence over spirituality. Caring for my body is paramount because my body is happening. The spiritual is pending.
And I know that death is just a biological evolution.
I’m redefined in my relationships. I’m the man in need not the man with resources. And I’m confined by the redefinition.
Biologically my body is failing. I can’t control my body’s reactions. I chose actions. And those chosens begat consequences. I can’t control the biological reactions.
I have to redefine my actions and my essence.
I’m not afraid to die.
I’m afraid I can’t live contained.
(Photo courtesy of BritishDucks)