What does death smell like?

When you first walk into the ICU the first smell that hits you is the throat-stinging bleach. Can human life and experience be extinguished with something so small? We build ourselves up as such strong characters but the human body is so fragile, it can be broken and bruised with a simple fall. When my nana fell down the stairs she broke her back and instantly slipped into a coma, no pain, no recognition. When we saw her the first smell that hit me was faeces. How could someone I’ve always seen as strong be reduced to a state where machines replace her bowel movements and breathing? She couldn’t move and her eyes never opened again. The whole journey over I repeatedly told my mum, it will be ok, she’ll be ok. But she wasn’t. I never even said goodbye, I was too frozen to move, to speak. They took her off the ventilators and an hour later she stopped breathing, her heart stopped beating and I was a mess. It wasn’t like we were even close, I guess just seeing someone being reduced to that state gave me a new perspective on life.

Life passes you by, we all know that. But until you’ve been in an ICU I don’t think you ever realise just how fast it goes by and how small you are in this world. No matter how big or small you are, rich or poor, we all end up the same way. I imagine death smells much like that ICU. Misery, faeces and bleach. Honestly when we die we all lose function of all muscles so I guess we all do shit ourselves when we’re born and when we die. Maybe it’s the universe saying “Hey this is the world, shit when you enter, shit when you leave”. Right now there is approximately 7.4 million people in the world so in a way we are tiny and insignificant in the bigger picture. But what if we can make that middle great? Make a change no matter how small so that when we kick the bucket that shit might not smell so much. What if the universe says no matter how we’re born we all die the same but it doesn’t mean we have to conform to the same society without making good change? What if death could smell less shitty and more like calla lillies? Like beauty and magnificence because hell yeah we did something with our lives, we made a change and we made ourselves goddamn happy.

We didn’t survive before we died, we lived.

“Live life until your last breath, don’t die before your death”