Student Connections

To Live Death

By Danielle Clum, student, Northeast Center – Saratoga Unit

April 5, 2011

How easy it is to write about courage and strength, about love and hope, but death, to write about death? To write about the ringing phone that awakens one to shattered dreams – disillusioned by reality with a tragedy yet to unfold.

The blind stumbling out of bed, trying to find pants and flip-flops, needed only to step outside to what should have been a beautiful day – the sun beaming in full mocking form.

To write about the spilt coffee on the counter caused by trembling hands, the hands that should have been clasped in prayer, the prayer that had no intention of pausing fate for one more moment, one more breath.

The blur of death – I don't recall dropping to my knees begging for your life, there was no chance. How was I to know the seriousness of this matter?

The haunting memories of the voice that uttered the word “death,” what strange power it holds over me, so unsuspecting, unknowing and unwilling to accept such misery.

To write about the walk down the bleach-white corridor to the room so grey and dismal. The lifeless body there whose lips once so vibrant from the constant use of rouge, replaced now with bloodless lips. So foreign is this pale face. Though now alone, I speak to her.

This dreaded day has befallen me, the day which used to sneak into my thoughts as a child and cause tears to streak my innocent cheeks. That same girl, just ten years older, holds her mother's hand, this frail hand for the last time.

The railing of the bed is so hard and cold against my skin and it seems to chill my heart. Overwhelmed by grief, I feel the anger brewing inside me. I now know what true heartache feels like. How does one express such thoughts on death?

To write about that day, the day where by noon a whole eternity had passed, yet there was so much more to endure. The day when the yellow school bus crept slowly to a stop – oh how I feared this moment more than death itself.

To write about those young faces, those two beautiful faces whose innocence would soon be lost. To speak to them the words that brings sorrow to life, to see their sadness, to share their pain. What words can comfort? What words can relieve this wretched thing placed upon our shoulders? This burden, this ache, this question of why?

How simple minded to write about happiness and laughter, about war and honor, but death, to write about death?

To write about the burning candles in memory of the beloved, the swollen eyes that sting from unrelenting tears, the gasps for breath through whispers of her name. How does one write such pain?

Danielle Clum

Danielle Clum