Monday, May 2, 2016

The Liz Army | Hacking the hospital death

A beautiful essay on helping a friend to a quiet, loving death space.

"The medical team gave Jim medication to take away any pain he may experience. They removed his breathing tube, and unhooked all machines except for the one monitoring his heart beat. Quickly, his bed was moved to the sunny room where his friends, including myself, were waiting outside by the window. As soon as the medical team cleared out we poured in. One person set up the speakers. Another friend was ready with the iPod. The door to the medical area was closed. The rest of us swarmed in around him: hands placed on his hands, his legs, his feet. The room was small, so some hovered around the perimeter and in the doorway to the open air. We fell silent and the first song began. Nearly every other song on Jim’s iPod was a Christmas song, so I wasn’t surprised when “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” started playing through the speakers. For decades, Jim gifted friends with his mix CDs of obscure Christmas songs he had spent the previous year curating. This is perfect, I thought, while I cried and laughed at the same time. Unburdened by machines his body began sinking into the bed. As the body shifted and settled I said, “This is natural,” mostly to remind myself that what I was witnessing was part of the cycle of life, much like a baby crying when born."

The Liz Army | Hacking the hospital death

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