20 minutes

I have 20 minutes until I am able to leave work.

I have building coverage, which means I have to stay in the building with a walkie-talkie in case there are any emergencies.

Last month during my building coverage, a 70 year-old man passed out after playing racquetball. I watched for 30 minutes as CPR was administered and then the EMTs came. I don’t know exactly when he died but it was some time in those 30 minutes.

People talk about death “taking” a person. This idea connotes two different things: either Death is anthropomorphized and physically takes away the life/soul of the person or death enters the body and replaces the life inside with itself.

What I saw felt like a release of life, but “death” didn’t enter into it. It looked like life remained in the room, hanging there, slowly radiating outwards from its origin, like an explosion in slow motion.

When the man was finally taken away, I looked at where he had lied and could almost see the life sticking around, viscously floating there. Maybe that’s why you couldn’t pinpoint when it was that the man had actually died. Death is a process, a separation of the soul from the body, and that separation can take as short as a few seconds to as long as a few years.

I have 4 minutes until I am able to leave work.


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