[Note: this is fiction. I am not, nor do I have any reason to think I might be, terminally ill.]
They pat you on the arm, or head if they’re really patronizing, and give you the ‘there, there, it’s all right, you’ll be fine’ speech. Sometimes they have the decency not to start that right away, to give you a bit of time to think. But not too long, since that screws with their own heads, your being lost in that dark tunnel they’re just as terrified of. It yanks them out of neverland.
And that pisses them off. They get impatient and angry with you. At first it’s just a tightness around the mouth, a gathering of the brows. Doesn’t stay that way long if you don’t snap out of it, get with the program already. If they’re civilized, they just stop coming around; if they’re not, like family or some other form of bond-slave, they let you have it, both barrels, every pellet of shot dipped in the juice from habaneros laced with strychnine. Burning poisoned wounds to your psyche.
Ironic, isn’t it? They’re killing you because you can’t jolly up about dying. People are such idiots. Who was that dude with the “I think, therefore I am” saying? Yeah, right. The thinking goes right out the window when you don’t go all happy-crappy over the grim reaper whispering sweet nothings in your ear. How ridiculous! I mean, you’re the one who’s effing dying for god’s sake and you’re supposed to cheer them up?
Or at least not bring them down.
Know what? I don’t give a rat’s ass if you think it’s morbid. Just stop with all the patronizing platitudes. “It’s not really the end.” “You’re just stepping through a door from this world into the next.” “Aunt Maude and Mom and Dad will be there waiting for you.” “It’s a far far better world to which you’re bound.”
OK, they’re helpless and what’s worse, they know they’re helpless. Makes them uncomfortable. Just trying to help. All the clichés. I get that. But holy goddamn mother-loving sonofabitch, why can’t somebody, just one somebody say, “Shit, man, this totally sucks. I’ll bet you’re so scared your nuts have crawled up into your belly just to be close to something warm. Listen, I’ll bring some of the good stuff and we’ll smoke ourselves into next week. You got chips, right?”
One world into the next. Is that what some angel whispers to the ones getting ready to be born? “It’s OK that your entire existence, all you’ve ever known comes to an end about six inches from now, cause it’s a whole new world out there and isn’t that just nifty-neato?”
No. It isn’t nifty-neato. Here’s what would be: take all of us who are terminal, mark us somehow, I dunno, a tattoo on the forehead or something and make it legal for the real psychos to hunt us down and take us out. Come at us from behind or something, so there’s not this tick … tick … tick grinding you down as those empty eye-sockets ol’ Mort wears get closer and little-by-little closer to swinging that scythe. Serial killers get open season on the dying; they don’t go to prison; we don’t have to sit here and count seconds and ask ourselves over and over, “Is that it, the beginning of the end? Was that little twinge, that little hitch in my breathing, that little flutter in my chest, was that the whistle of the death train coming into the station?”
The door to another world. Someone open it and kick my butt through.