When the time finally comes you do not always get pre-warned. In the midst of the most mundane journey from room to room, ventured a thousand times, a simple loss of balance may be all that you remain to perceive.

There is, when joining an ambulance service, a sense of crossing over into a private world where the unspeakable, the unbearableĀ and the unthinkable become your everyday business. The worst and most guarded fears of Joe average and Madam survivor are laid out in front of your legs and you are trusted to take the initial steps required.

At an early age it was apparent to me that death had nothing to threaten me with. I am not self important enough to think the world will be diminished by my departure and i am not religious enough to think that my soul will survive. The thought of serious injury still squeezes my adrenals but the thought of sudden death does not raise my pulse more than a few beats a minute.

Truth is i was raised to believe that death is what makes life for the individual possible. Without death there is no place for birth and renewal so death should be regarded as beautiful, in a sense desirable. If the earth were populated by billion year old trees… i digress, the point is that my mother wanted me to see beyond futile human fears. She wanted me to see my existence for what it actually is. I wish i could bring this same sense of the rightness of all outcomes to my patients and their families… maybe i should write a book… no no, a blog will do fine. Please excuse the sermon sweet readers.


One Response to “Death”

  1. Talisa Deshandon Says:

    Hi spup,
    I’ve been reading your past blogs. They’re wonderfully diverse. Evocative, thoughtful… at times even challenging. Thanks.

    I’m sending you another poem from ‘one of my favourite poets’ as I’ve been revisiting his work recently and as I read your blog I think of certain poems of his.


    The end is distance. A day
    too great. You are surpassed. Your steps cannot be equated
    with such immensity. You sit on the track,
    waiting. You do not ask yourself
    why you wait – exhaustion is its own answer
    and there could be
    no justification of all this silence. A single tree
    shades you from noon. It is as though
    you have achieved some irredeemable
    godhead; as if all your life you have striven
    for this isolation. Detail distracts you:
    even out here, crows live – their black
    drift through enormity. Ants. Beetles. Grass.
    You cut across a paddock, thinking to save
    some miles. They will find first your swag, then
    your clothes abandoned.
    The cities have a more subtle way of death. How white
    your skeleton will be, naked,
    picked clean, in the next summer’s
    furnace solitude. How marvellously simple – the white
    bones, the orange grainy texture of the plains, blue millennia.
    You are pleased by the stylisation of your death.
    The crows, too, express interest; also the ants.

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