Death

Today I held a dove as it died in my arms. It was the first time I’ve ever witnessed the moment when life suddenly isn’t there anymore, and it horrified me. For fifteen minutes, I cradled the stunned dove that had been attacked by magpies, its wide eyes staring at nothing, its little body trembling in my hands. After trying to fly, he fell to the floor and died seconds later. It was a seizure, from shock my mother told me. It wasn’t peaceful like everyone claims death to be. It was violent and awful; the sight of a little heart giving its final few beats, a feathered body convulsing with the end of life. I was devastated. He was supposed to fly into the sunset a few hours later, but instead was lying limp on my living room floor. I’ve always hated death; the knowledge that eventually, everything must die. When I was a child, I remember saving insects from spiders webs, untangling them from their silk prisons and setting them free. To my dismay, I was informed that in doing so, I was potentially endangering the life of the spider instead. This is when I realised that life is cruel. But still, I tried my hardest to make sure every creature had a chance. I’d save the insects, rush to the windowsill, gather the dead flies that lay there and rush back to spider, carefully placing them in the delicate web. All the spiders in my house probably hated me. If I was served month-old roadkill instead of a steak, I’d probably hate me too. As the years passed, I learned to accept that I can’t save everything, but today – holding the dove that I’d bonded with for a few short moments – and watching it move on from this world… well, I guess it was just a harsh reminder that life can be swept out from underneath us at any moment. How depressing.

-S

 

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