The doctor said I’d have to be hospitalized if my condition didn’t improve. I have no intention of dying in hospital, so once again I prepared to kill myself; but my condition is improving. I’ve even begun taking daily walks again.
But while my body soldiers on, my brain continues dying. I felt the prefrontal cortex go numb after she died, and now the top of my head, the cortex , feels numb.
Leonard is also preparing for death, sending family memorabilia he’s saved over the years to relatives who probably throw it away.
He keeps saying he has only two more years. He doesn’t want to die alone, at home, so he intends to move in with one of his relatives.
Family means everything to him, but I doubt his relatives feel the same, so I wondered if any of them would agree to take him in. I underestimated him.
He’s chosen to live with his nephew Eric, who recently lost his job, his house and his wife, and is now working as a bartender and living in a room above the bar. I’m sure Eric will jump at the chance to share living expenses with an uncle who receives two pensions: one from the city, and another from the navy.
I don’t want to die alone any more than Leonard does, and considered suggesting to him that he move in with me (or I with him). Apparently he anticipated this, because lately he’s been making disparaging remarks about friendship. Friends can’t be relied on, he says. Only family.
Piecemeal the body dies, and the timid soul
has her footing washed away, as the dark flood rises.
We are dying, we are dying, we are all of us dying
and nothing will stay the death-flood rising within us
and soon it will rise on the world, on the outside world.
We are dying, we are dying, piecemeal our bodies are dying
and our strength leaves us,
and our soul cowers naked in the dark rain over the flood,
cowering in the last branches of the tree of our life.
We are dying, we are dying, so all we can do
is now to be willing to die, and to build the ship
of death to carry the soul on the longest journey.
A little ship, with oars and food
and little dishes, and all accoutrements
fitting and ready for the departing soul.
Now launch the small ship, now as the body dies
and life departs, launch out, the fragile soul
in the fragile ship of courage, the ark of faith
with its store of food and little cooking pans
and change of clothes,
upon the flood's black waste
upon the waters of the end
upon the sea of death, where still we sail
darkly, for we cannot steer, and have no port.
There is no port, there is nowhere to go
only the deepening black darkening still
blacker upon the soundless, ungurgling flood
darkness at one with darkness, up and down
and sideways utterly dark, so there is no direction any more
and the little ship is there; yet she is gone.
She is not seen, for there is nothing to see her by.
She is gone! gone! and yet
somewhere she is there.
And everything is gone, the body is gone
completely under, gone, entirely gone.
The upper darkness is heavy as the lower,
between them the little ship
she is gone.
It is the end, it is oblivion.