Guess who has been at it again? Old Death; riding his horse or striding the earth in his 7 league boots, reaping the worn, surprising the ripe and even taking the occasional tender shoot just showing the first green of life. He doesn't mean anything really, he is just the inevitable result of a contract we agree to when we come alive. A contract quite similar to the sort we click right past each time we make a minor software adjustment to the computer. Really for all you know you may be assigning a couple of pints of the red stuff per month to Mr. Bill Gates of Microsoft Inc. of Redmond, WA. and his phlebotomy squads just haven't made it out your way yet. That being a possibility, agreeing to a death at the end of your life is not so bad.
So who did Mr. Bones interlock with this time? Well yesterday at 5:30 AM, Gail Reigal , a woman whom I truly loved and enjoyed , took a final taste of the air we use. Then, for all legal purposes, she died, while, otherwise, seemed to be sleeping in deep comfort. In this case, Death was the ultimate analgesic.
Gail had cancer and then cancer had Gail. I got the word that she was sick just over five years ago. I remember being scared. I thought about Gail, one of the most vibrant, alive and kindest people I had known . I imagined her dead right there and then and it hit me like cold fist. Well, she didn't die. In fact, she never even spoke of her disease; would not dignify it by name. You would have thought she was in denial, but no. She was beginning to fight for what she loved. I guess you could break that down into many areas, but life would cover it. Gail was simply alive. Her garden, fishing, walking the beach for sharks teeth, Kayaking the flats for Red Fish and Trout, surf fishing for pompano all these things and more she shared with her husband Craig. 20 years and then some back. I was working with Gail in a bar. I watched Craig fall in love and patiently push his case ever so slowly until one day they were just together for ever after. And Gail kept fighting. Name your poison. If there was a treatment, she took it, an operation? Cut on the dotted line. Lose your sight? Get a friend to drive. Need a friend? Choose the one out of many who could handle it. She did and She did. Five years is a very long time for a person with metastatic cancer to live.
It pops up everywhere. It seemed that Gail could win every battle. Then, not too long ago the cancer co-op in her body seemed to get together and decide to bring a little bit a each type back. It was enough to put Gail into the hospital for what everyone was certain would be the end. Well no, she got better and went home. Then Monday there was an early call. Something was amiss.
A confusion of sorts. An ambulance was needed. At the hospital, some doctors had different ideas, but it was obvious with a low blood pressure and a high heart rate as well, as other signs, that the body was shutting down and without heroic measures involving respirators and dialysis ,death was being summoned. Well Gail had spoken about the machines and not wanting them simply because the onus would fall on a loved one to have them turned off at some point and to that end, she had signed papers saying so. And that brings us to yesterday morning quite early.
The reaper does not hack bodies or mow them down in long rows with his scythe. Not at all, he quietly appears and severs a small bit of energy, like a data cord between the body and the soul,
allowing one to be free and the other to hang around and take part in any pre planed or spontaneous ritual. Gail's friends are many and go way back to "The Day" The day ends, however and choices and changes are made in the line up of regular days that follow. As one of the first of the Bar Tenders on the scene when this old town got hip and those original customers now making up the latest crop of old timers and big shots around here. I wonder who will remember to remember and if so how? Me? I don't need no stinking funeral. That's the end and my life of remembering Gail is just beginning. As long as the name is spoken the person cannot die.