“We talked about death. The husband and I, we talked about it! We did! I always thought,” says she, “I always thought about our death in a sort of romantic kind of way. I thought that when death came for one of us, well, the one that died first would sort of pass ‘gently into the night.’ But, when he died, well, there was nothing ‘gentle’ about it….and, there was nothing romantic about it. His death was hard. Long. Drawn out. Messy. And….”
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Thinking about her and the tragic death of her husband led me to think about a time when…. I was not yet a man, yet, I was no longer a child. It was one of those strange times when I thought I knew it all. I was driving dad’s car through City Park with Genny, my future wife, seated in the passenger seat. As I recall we were somewhere near the City Park golf course.
Its seared in my memory -- the golfer taking a swing at his ball – when suddenly, into my line of sight came a man – putting a gun to his head – and pulling the trigger!
As the golfer dropped his club to run toward the afflicted man, I pulled the car to the side of the road and ran to see if I could help.
From a few feet away, the dying man looked like a fallen tree. His body was facedown. He was dead less than a minute. The golfer and I stood there looking at him. Neither of us knew what to do. Then there was a sudden twitching, a quiver in the dead flesh of the man as he lay there.
“He’s alive! He’s alive! My God, he’s still alive,” shouted the golfer. Shock ran through me as the dying man’s head turned toward us. His small closed eyes suddenly opened. He looked at us – then he died!
Thinking about the death of this husband, and thinking about the self-inflicted death of the man near the golf course, well, there was nothing ‘gentle’ about either….and, there was nothing romantic about death either. Both death’s were hard. One was long, drawn out and messy. The other was quick, messy and….
My stomach churned. The golfer threw up. We wept.
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