Life had come to a standstill. The same hospital, same medicines, bizarre pieces of equipment around Neil that felt he was chained in a cell.
Doctors and staff also had dropped, sad and fatigued faces, almost if they had no more excitement left in their own life too.
In those rare moments when Neil had less pain to pierce his body, he looked around. The room was occupied by three more patients. They had pale yellow complexion and a picture of autumn in their eyes, eyes that spoke of spring, summer, family, fun and then a prospect of bleak winter.
It was not long when Neil was moved into a big room, all for himself. It had been a few days since Neil had made a decision to be moved to a hospice. His life expectancy was less than six years and for once Neil decided to leave this world in peace and dignity.
The staff was caring. They tried to cheer him up, to speak to him, to make him talk. Neil could hardly speak now, yet the worst part was he could feel everything. The barrier to be not able to communicate made him felt all the more helpless.
Many times he tried to tell the doctors he was in a lot of pain, he couldn’t take it any more. Not once did he see any hope in their eyes. He then realised it’s a helpless feeling to be left to the care of doctors, who themselves have limited knowledge and expertise when it comes to a fatal disease that had no cure: a gap in learning.
Life lost its meaning, left its colours. Neil didn’t remember what month or year it was. He wished in his heart to leave this world, feel the eternity and novelty that it brings, just like a breath of fresh air.
He started missing his deceased friends and family. The idea to meet them grew more and more with every passing moment. It was then that he left his will power, refused to take the food and surrender himself to the will of nature.
The distance in life and death was too short, yet never-ending, it felt only a gasp yet left nothing behind.
After showing patience with the ailing body, the soul finally decided to divorce the aching, stressful body. Neil’s eyes were fixed in the direction of his departing soul.
After a long time, Neil felt light as a feather. He could fly, move over and beyond the walls and roofs. He roamed around in pleasure, visited his family, neighbours, friends who all had been sleeping in the middle of the night, unaware of his departure.
The best part was when Neil visited the skies, he met his parents, his loved ones who were so excited to see him. In a few moments, Neil could see a crowd of faces around, eager to listen to his story.
Neil knew he so badly needed that freedom, away from the hospice, away from the boring stories being read to him by the volunteers, away from the hustle and bustle and nerve-racking chores of the material world.
For a few days, he enjoyed the new company, the morning walks, the socialising yet he felt that pain that felt a Stab piercing his soul.
He missed the worldly matters, the stress, the hospital, the hardworking staff, jubilant and smiling at him, he missed the stories of the cleaning staff, a new story every day, the good, the bad, the ugliness of life.
He looked all around him at the dropping faces of his new companions. The excitement to see him was now gone from there faces and left boredom.
Neil finally asked a question, ‘how come everything suddenly looks so stale, so predicted, so smooth and dead here, like a defeat’.
The reply made his soul shiver,
‘It’s because there is no life, no fight, nothing new happening, no problems, no solutions, no disease, no cure.. the only time we get excited is to see a new member to tell us stories of how life is, apart from that… nothing happens…’
The cost of life he now understood, the life that he had spent making others happy.. and now the feeling of loss gripped him…his bad, selfish deeds pinched him, he wished he could think of one good deed to feel happy.. to put his guilt to sleep too that somehow rested deep inside his soul. He wished he didn’t give up, had never given up that will power to fight, for the fight is what life is, a continuous fight.
He remembered that pain, that trauma of his disease. The struggle that felt a punishment itself. He knew he had given the price of life with patience and forbearance. He had fought his battle bravely, which meant he could now rest in peace.