Cryopreservation of Valia Zeldin
Translated by Alexey Turchin with the help of Google translate
I started to date Valya in 2011 after the championship in “crocodile” — a game in which you need to portray words with the help of pantomime and guess them. For several years we communicated in very different ways, either parting or renewing relations, and only in 2016 we finally engaged. I realized that everything that I like to do in life, with this person I like even more. On both sides there was a confidence that no matter how we quarrel, nothing will change. We felt that a large concrete slab was laid at the base of our relationship.
In May 2017, we got married and started thinking about moving to Moscow. We worked together a lot — we made a discussion club and a telegram training game. It seemed to us that for the development of the latter it was important to be in the capital. We moved in mid-October, and lived in Moscow for almost a year. September 2, 2018 Valya shot down.
It was Sunday. We woke up quite late and only had breakfast at 12 o’clock. Then we lay on the couch and cuddled. A couple of years ago I was gifted with a book “Lessons of Russian love” with excerpts from Russian classics. All this time she stood sealed, and so we opened it and began to read. After that we went for a walk on the Sparrow Hills.
We reached the embankment, look at the Moscow River and at Moscow. It was a great weather, and we just had time to discuss what we like in Moscow like it. We sat in a cafe next to the lookout, then went to cross the Kosygin street toward the house. Kosygin is divided by a boulevard. We crossed half of the street and went along it. A little before reaching Leninsky Prospekt, we began to cross the second part of Kosygin, and Valya was hit there.
We crossed the unregulated pedestrian crossing. It was already evening, it felt like the lights of the cars were super far away, but at some point it became clear that they were moving too quickly. Intuition suggested that something was wrong.
We began to move back and seemed to even turn around. I remember this moment very badly. From the blow Valya flew away. As the coronar’s conclusion showed later, she had internal hemorrhages, multiple fractures with a rupture of the intervertebral disk, and her left leg just below the knee was torn off. She had blood on her side, and I tried to plug the wound with a cloth bag. There was simply nothing else.
When this happened, my first thought was, “What the fuck did you interfere with my life?” It was outrage that someone so indiscreetly intrudes into your reality. It was a strong feeling, but it was not converted into irritation on a specific person — a motorcyclist who hit Valya.
Immediately after what happened, he ran up with a shout “Kill me!”. It was incomprehensible to me. I stopped him and said that it didn’t matter now, I had to call an ambulance.
The ambulance and the police arrived fairly quickly — in 10–15 minutes.
I was in fairly adequate condition, 100 percent aware of what was happening. Periodically flew panic and hysteria. In these moments, I gave vent to emotions so that this state would pass. Then I was going to again and tried to concentrate on the situation.
After the doctors announced the death, I had the idea of cryopreservation of the brain of Valia. We were interested in similar topics with her and discussed several times that if something happened to one of us, we would go for it. Moreover, I knew who to turn to.
The first person I called then was the founder of Kryorus, a company that deals with cryonization. I told the ambulance team about my idea and asked to hurry with the body — it needed to be cooled as soon as possible. They explained to me that they could not take the body to the morgue, since there is a special transport for this, which is commonly called a “dead transport” vehicle. We had to wait for her 4 hours, and only after another 2 the transport left. In order for the body to be taken as soon as possible, I had to give the nurses 5000 rubles (80 USD). There was no other way to influence the course of events, let alone go with them according to the law. After that, I did not know anything about what was happening with the body. Nobody called me, did not say that he was delivered. I found out about everything the next morning.
I left the place of the accident only after 4 hours — already late at night. I felt a wild shock. You come back home, thinking that you just left here together. You think that this can not be. This “can not be” hammer you in a very strong way.
I slept only a few hours and woke up with a completely awful feeling. At the same time, I was clearly mobilized. I understood that I have a clear procedure and the most important thing is to deal with it. I went to the morgue with a man from Kriorus and started asking there for us to give us a Valia’s brain. Naturally, they did not give it. It was not clear how they responded to our request and whether we were taken seriously, but their principles were irritating.
To begin with, we had to refuse an autopsy, but as the doctors explained to us, this can be done only in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Once there, we learned that this could be done only in the Ministry of Health. It was clear that we could not achieve anything quickly. I had to go back to the morgue and agree to an autopsy — it turned out that this is not so critical for the brain. We managed to pick it up only on Tuesday morning — almost 2 days after death. After that, we immediately started the cryonization procedure.
In the first days, the sensations from what was happening were very disturbed. Shock, grief, sadness. All this chaotically changed and became stronger and weaker. I understood that I needed to take care of myself somehow — as early as Monday I met with my psychotherapist and continued to keep a diary — transferring my emotional experiences to paper is very helpful.
I tried not to blame myself for the death of Valia, but at first, I thought a lot about how I behaved in a relationship with her, where I didn’t give or bring discomfort. Separately, I scrolled in my head that Sunday evening — I thought that if we went for a walk to another place or would have crossed both parts of Kosygin Street at once.
Still thinking about the death of Valia, I notice how the brain tries to perceive this event as an element of a whole story, to see it as some kind of meaning or consequence of previous actions. You have to constantly pull yourself up and remind you that many things happen by chance, that life is not built according to the laws of narrative.
In September I hit the road — I went to Belarus, I was at a funeral of relatives in another city, then I went to St. Petersburg and met there with friends. I interviewed people — I asked about Valya in order to fix as much as possible information about her. At that time, I started creating a digital trace — collecting all the valid data, texts, photos — in the future to be able to make a digital copy of her to restore the brain after cryonization. Together with my friends, I think about how to perpetuate the memory of Vale. The best of their ideas is a scholarship of her name and a book with what she wrote in VK (social network), LJ and on the channel in Telegraph.
As for me, the main thing that I could do for Valia — freeze her brain — has already been done. Now I need to recover, develop, do my projects and follow the development of the recovery technology after cryopreservation.