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A Complete Guide on How Not to Deal with Death: A Creative Piece by Luke Bull

You’re sitting there, in one of those awful hospital chairs that seem to be designed to make you as uncomfortable as possible. You sit there and your hands are clammy as fuck but they do not move an inch. Your eyes dart from object to object, the controls to the bed, the ‘Get Well Soon’ cards that seem like a dark joke. It does not matter so long as you do not, under any circumstances, look at the figure on the bed in front of you. Then they make a noise.

Everyone around you, brothers, sisters, parents, whatever, leans in attentively, desperately trying to catch what unintelligible shit is coming next, hoping for some final words of wisdom that bring some kind of closure to this whole clusterfuck. But all you can think is a continuous, unending string of ‘Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.’ Your very own soundtrack to death, because when that noise is made, you look at them. You look at their swollen torso and shrunken limbs, their gaunt face surrounded by a week old beard and you have absolutely no fucking idea what to do. The only certainty is, ironically, that you want to get as far away from this cancer ridden legacy of twentieth century life and smoke about twenty cigarettes whilst listening to some melodramatic music.

Someone suggests ‘getting some coffee.’ In one swift movement you rise, get everyone’s request and dart for the door. At the coffee machine you willingly pay six pounds for three coffees, the droning of the machine offers relief: it doesn’t piss itself, doesn’t cry, doesn’t stare at you with eyes begging for fucking death that haunt you every night. It just makes terrible, terrible coffee. Bringing the drinks back up you enter on some conversation, some desperate attempt at bringing normality: ‘How’s uni?’ or some other inane bullshit that for one second allows everyone to ignore the situation at hand and you reply, robotically keeping your eyes fixed on something inanimate and stationary. But then, without a doubt, someone will suggest remembering the ‘good times’, bringing up an anecdote of your loved one when they weren’t ebbing into nonexistence. Suddenly a sepia-tinted montage of every good experience you shared together plays in your mind like a fucking John Lewis advert, a catalogue of nostalgia drenched images that for a moment offers an escape from the room.

Inevitably though, you glance back at the hospital bed and suddenly everything feels four thousand times worse: you now have a stark contrast to think about. Your hands clam up and you just hope beyond hope that someone wants some coffee. Finally, you go home and drink some beer or watch five hours of Netflix in an attempt to suppress the reality that you’re going to have to do the exact same tomorrow, and you just wish they’d die, taking all the misery and despair with them. But you know that if there was anything to make them the same person they were a year ago, you’d do it in a heartbeat. So you feel guilty, guilty that throughout this whole shit storm, the only thing you can really think about is you.

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