3/03/2008 11:58:00 pm


Posted by Unknown |

It was always going to be a significant day today. Tonight was to be our last house dinner together before we move on the weekend. However it was more significant than I expected.

Just before 4 this afternoon I got a call from Martin telling me that our friend, David, (not blog David) had died. Martin had been called by David to come around and feed his cat and when he arrived there were Police there. David had been about to be taken to hospital by his nurse and carer when he suffered a heart attack and died.

It wasn't a big surprise to hear because David has been living with AIDS for many years. Over the past few months we've watched him get much sicker. When we saw him on Saturday he seemed more tired than usual. He told us he was thinking he might just give up on doctors. Maybe he was tired of life. I would have been.

And this afternoon he died.

I went around to the house to see him this evening. My mum was there. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go. I've never seen a dead body before. But I wanted to see my Mum. I wanted to know if it would be helpful. When I talked to Mum on the phone she said they were just "hanging out with David". Which seemed like a rather odd thing to do. Why would you want to "hang out" with a dead body?

But on arriving I realised why. There was something peaceful about him. When people say that when you look at a dead body you can believe in a soul because the body looks different, it looks empty, I wasn't sure what to think. But it was true for David. It was peaceful because David wasn't there. His broken, diseased, abused body was there, but the David we knew was gone. I don't know if the fact that a person looks different is just because of the fact that the body isn't living, the heart has stopped pumping, the blood has stopped following, oxygen has stopped circulating, so the body should, and does, look physically different. Or if there's something else to it, if it really is about the absence of the soul. But it felt like David had gone out and left a strangely life-like, but not quite right, copy of himself behind. David had left the building.

So I think going to see David was helpful. I saw for myself that he was gone, he wasn't just away on a really long holiday (which death usually feels like for me). And I could feel peace about that, because now he's no longer suffering in his AIDS ridden body that wasn't doing him any favours anyway.

He was a lovely man, and I am happy to have been involved in his life. He taught me about films, and helped feed my love for America. He would tell me stories about his amazing life that sounded like they were out of movie. He liked us and we liked him. He also had a three-legged dog, which is amusing, a least watching him try and pee was against a tree was pretty funny, poor thing.

I am sad that David is gone. Death seems so odd, so unnatural, which I guess it is. But today was David's time. God has it under control.

Anyway, we (Martin and I) were asked to take some photos for friends who will find it helpful to see the body, so I became official dead body photographer. It's a rather odd thing to do. I doubt I'll stick that on my resume.

Then Martin and I went home to meet the others and have our last house dinner. It was a more sombre affair as David was a friend to all of us. He had come to visit a few times when it was well enough, he was part of our community.

But we did dinner anyway because dinner is good and moments like these have to be honoured. The loss of a friend and the end of our lovely Community House is a pretty big deal. I've had two excellent years living in this house, with seven other wonderful people. They've all made my life so much richer. I love them all.

We had a veggie stacks barbecue tonight and made play list of songs which remind us of our time here. It was nice. We drank tea. We made jokes. A few cried. We did community. It was good.

And soon this too will end.

"There is a time for everything.
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot."

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2