notes on the death of patient EG 

——- — ————- — ————- —

it’s strange watching someone die. it is happening now. i am sitting by the foot of her bed. i muted the tv, but can’t turn it off.

the shows that play through the night: mostly young white people seducing or operating on each other.

I have access to witness the death of someone I don’t know. we’ve never spoken, will never speak.

it seems difficult, to forget how to breathe. 

i study her face, note the lengthening gaps between breaths.

doing this reminds me of laying in bed, watching someone i adored, before they’d wake up. 

——- — ——

they say hearing is the last sense kept. her eyes are fixed when the nurse pulls an eyelid back. death rattle audible. morphine administered orally.

my job is to sit with the dying person. 

i have no idea if my work has a purpose, or an effect.

it is a common request that a person not die alone. we require witnesses.

the room feels heavy.

——- — ——

seeing death happen makes me want to be held.

there’s a physical ache for it. 

it, too, passes. 

i leave before the family arrives. one of the other nurses makes me watery coffee in styrofoam and gives me a pack of saltines.

the graveyard front desk staff is all latina and asian girls in scrubs, behind plexiglass. they’re bored with one earbud in, writing in files, talking shit to each other, alive. they are so lovely i can barely look at them.

I drive home at 4am. i listen to KDAY loud with the windows cracked. i grieve for her, but i’m tired, and have us all mixed up. 

——- — ——

-september 3, 2014