I can't help but think about death a lot lately. It's not just that Mabel passed away; it had already been on my mind, especially during my wakeful nights. I lie there, on my back, and I think that's how people die — on their backs, I mean. Not everybody, I'm sure, but I've been on three vigils in my life, watching helplessly as loved ones slip slowly away. And they all, all three of them, died on their backs.
They all were really gone before they breathed their last. They were certainly in a coma-like twilight zone. Of the three, my mother was the only one who had a brief moment of consciousness near the end. She opened her eyes, and it was clear that she perceived us even though she was unable to speak.
And I lie there in my wakefulness and wonder. I wonder if I will know that I am on my death bed. I can picture trying to smile reassuringly at my loved ones with my last bit of strength, trying to give them a final gift, the only one that I can possibly give. I think that maybe I'll find the strength to blink three times, and maybe they'll know that it means, "I love you." Sometimes, I even imagine that I might summon the wherewithal to give a final thumbs-up.
It doesn't make me happy to think on these things, but I do. How can I not think on this as I creep closer and closer to entering my seventh decade? I miss myself if that makes any sense. The little candle of life that is I will be forever extinguished, and that's got to be somewhat sad-making — a form of grief, I guess.