By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
So cold… I can’t see; I seem to have my eyes closed all the time
My skin itches… I try to scratch it gently… I don’t know if I do
So cold… can’t seem to get warm… tons of blankets lay over me
100 degree weather… I am so… cold as I lay in darkness
Coughing, whispering… I’m not sure I’m talking… who cares
Have you eaten today… yes, I have.. I answer each time
How do I know… I can’t even think… I answer ‘yes’
I don’t want to cause worry… I’m not suffering, I’m alright
Dying… I’m not aware that I lay dying, I don’t remember
Why I lay here in darkness, my body cold, itching
I think I scratch my skin… I’m not sure
I don’t feel any pain, hunger… I don’t feel anything
All I have left is… my hearing
Even my thoughts aren’t thoughts anymore; they just … are
My mama comes to tuck me in… just as she did when I was a child
Pulled the blankets up around my ears to keep them warm
I close my eyes, I think they’re already closed… feel her love
Mama, don’t leave me here alone in the darkness
No, I am not afraid now, to die… you bring me comfort
Just as you did when I was a child… when you tucked me in
I can only hear… I’m not aware that it’s called ‘hearing’, now
I’m not aware of anything… but, I hear
I know it’s Skip’s voice asking me if I ate while he was at work
I automatically answer ‘yes’… I hear… relief in his voice
I can’t see his face, but… I know… he is standing close by
I hear his footsteps walk away
For a brief moment… or is it more than a moment… I don’t know
I am aware of being on my feet… I am walking while holding
Onto things while I go my way
I found out months later that I did a lot of things while in
The darkness… though I couldn’t see … didn’t remember
Did that come from living with a blind man as a tiny child
Was I blind… I may as well have been… all I saw was… darkness
God, how cold it is when in the darkness… I couldn’t get warm
Doctors… riding… Skip holding me so, I could walk… darkness
I couldn’t see the colors of my world… I forgot they were there
Darkness hid them… the only color I could see… was black
I don’t remember looking for my colors… I didn’t look for anything
Dying… I was always afraid to die… somehow, Death came for me
I didn’t recognize it… so, I didn’t know to be afraid
Maybe… because I didn’t feel pain… I didn’t know to be afraid
Awareness for a moment… I was holding the phone, I tried to talk
I was very weak… floating in my dark, dark world
I couldn’t speak above a whisper… the voice on the phone was concerned
I was asleep in darkness… when I woke, I was in darkness
I still held the phone… I whispered, heard a voice
Darkness took me again… I don’t know what happened to the phone
Sitting in a wheelchair… I became aware it was time for surgery
I looked up at Skip… I could see his face… his beautiful face
I’m so glad to be here… I can’t make it another day
Note by this Author:
I lay dying… all I knew was darkness… briefly becoming aware of all around me… then, darkness. I would imagine my mother being there to comfort me by tucking the blankets around my ears to keep them warm.
From the month of May to July… each day I became very ill until I almost died. Skip worked in management at a company in Raleigh, every day… and would take off to take me to specialists to find out what was wrong with me.
I was diagnosed finally with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. A large mass (cancerous cells) was on my right lung, resting against my heart. It also, was cutting off my air… until when I tried to blow in the device to measure breathing… I barely lifted the little ball up with my breath.
I remember only once being afraid to die during this time. The rest of the time, as afraid of dying as I was… I wouldn’t have known to be afraid of … death.
I was in the shower… the steam began smothering me. I was too weak to get out of the shower by myself. I began crying out to Skip to help me… I couldn’t breathe.
When I laid in darkness, I must have only needed a little breath to keep me alive… I don’t remember not being able to breathe.
I have sat here thinking of how to describe how it feels to lay dying. I’m not sad, depressed… dying is a fact of life… we all are going to do it someday. Truthfully, I don’t want to… I’m afraid to die… unless like what I described above… I wasn’t aware I was… dying.
I tried to describe fleeting moments of thought, awareness. Have you ever wondered about dying? This is only a small description of knowing how it is to lay … dying.