Death and the Aftermath

The following was written towards the end of my eighth grade year. I was interested in death and its consequences. This piece was not an expressed wish to die; rather, it was the fear of it – the fear of what would be left behind if something happened to me. I wondered about what my life was, what I’d done with it, what I was supposed to do. Interestingly, the piece is written as if it’s speaking to me personally, although I am the character referred to. Three years later, it breaks my heart to read this. Because if I died, this piece would become reality. And I don’t want that. I don’t want to die. 

Put yourself in this story. Substitute my details for your own. It truly makes you think.

Well, someone is notified that you’re dead. Whatever the cause, you’re dead. The police have to tell your parents (I would hate to be the one to have to do that). Your parents don’t sleep that night, tossing and turning, trying in vain to convince themselves you’re really still alive. Eventually, they have to walk in your room and see it–how it was, so untouched, so real. But you are not. You are dead. They have to arrange a funeral. People say stuff about your life, but you can’t hear. You’re dead. Everyone has to act reverent, like you did so much with your short life. But deep down, someone is thinking–you did nothing. You took money from your parents, you were provided free shelter and education, you existed, and then ceased to exist.
The school has to be notified also. All those tests you took, all those hours spent on homework, none of it matters anymore. Everybody passes by your locker knowing it was yours. The dead girl’s locker. Suddenly, all you’re remembered for is the fact that you died. Each time you complained about gym class doesn’t matter anymore. Your friends know you’re dead. There’s an empty seat at the lunch table. Even that girl who you only talked to a few times knows you’re dead. The ex-boyfriend knows you’re dead and silently grieves you. What once seemed to full of life and words is now just a body, a shell, a bag of formaldehyde and chemicals shoved in a box and buried underground. All you are now is a gravestone. Your family is in pieces, but you can’t help them. There’s an empty place at the dinner table. At least your family can book rooms for four instead of having a fifth person on the floor, but it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. They look through photo albums of you, seeing that happy little baby growing up. Taking her first steps, going to kindergarten, learning to read. That little girl is dead. Forever gone. All the people that truly loved you have to go on without you. Without your poetry, all your unfinished short stories, all your crazy freak writer girlishness. It’s gone. All they have of you is what you left behind. Your ideas that were never put on paper died with you. That smiling face is pasty white now. Those crying eyes are glassy. You can only hope it was enough. But it wasn’t. You were too young to die. Loved ones got to say goodbye to you for a few short minutes at the viewing–but it’s not the same. You can’t laugh with them, hug them. All you can do is lay there, motionless. Cold. Your favorite song plays, and your family cries. Your favorite TV shows. Your favorite books. Everything seems to be another reminder of you. Someone has to pronounce you dead on Facebook–either that or just leave it there, sinking to the bottom of profiles. Every email you sent is still there, but no more. Ever. At Thanksgiving, your cousins are quiet. At Christmas, there are fewer presents around the tree. Every dream you had was cut short. You didn’t get to walk down the aisle, publish a book, or have kids. Your mother of three becomes a mother of two. Everyone has to face the fact that your heart doesn’t beat anymore, blood doesn’t rush through your veins. It’s not the same without you. Even Sunday school classes are quieter. Family photos are missing a member. Your dad was saving your college money–now what? Vacations aren’t the same. But most of all, you’re gone. You’re gone forever. Every little quirk you had lives only in the memories of your loved ones. They cry, but you can’t help.
You are dead.

 

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4 thoughts on “Death and the Aftermath

  1. I have to say, this is a very touching story. Well written you have clearly captured the phenomenon of loss. While presenting it from the point of view of the one who was lost.

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