This is the nineteenth installment of The Death Blog.
A Word About Last Words
Fun fact about me: I’ve always been fascinated with death. Even as a topsider — shit, even as a KID — I was always attracted to the idea of death. And terrified. I mean, who the fuck isn’t? But I was one of those true crime groupies, even though I died long before the mass market paperback, blogs, podcasts, and home decor.
I’m not telling you this to make you think I was ahead of the curve or anything. Shit, I’ve learned true crime groupies are about as modern as the advent of agriculture.
The fact is, I used my interest in true crime as pretty much my entire personality. I read everything I could about different cases and more to the point, about death. I was fascinated by experiments being done to learn about what happens to the body after death, about theories on the afterlife, about those last few moments where you pass from one place to another.
While I was alive I kept a notebook containing the last words of various celebrities or historical figures. I started it when I was like …. I wanna say twelve? It was right after I saw my cousin die. He had a fever, some sickness no one ever named because by the time we realized he had it, it didn’t fucking matter.
We were there when he died. My mother was wringing out another cloth to cool his forehead, his mom (my aunt, my mother’s sister) was half asleep at his bedside. I was sitting to the side, reading aloud from a book of poetry my aunt said had “healing properties”. I hadn’t been sure what that meant at the time, but figured it couldn’t hurt.
In the middle of that perfectly boring moment, he bolted upright in bed and said “No! I never asked h — — ” and then fell back and went deafeningly silent.
And that was it.
For a long moment, the four of us — really the three of us — didn’t move a muscle.
Someone exhaled and suddenly my aunt was wailing. My mother rushed over, lifting my cousin up, hugging him to her chest.
My father and uncle, alerted by the noise, came running in a moment later.