Deaths Landing

It’s a beautiful spring day and an unassuming 10m x 5m concrete pad sits quietly in an open space surrounded by green grass. This innocent slab of concrete has seen more than its share of carnage, loss, desperation and fear in its time, but it has also held in its grey speckled surface the power of hope.

I guess I knew it was here somewhere, but I hadn’t actually seen it before today. 100 meters to the right is the hospital and the mental health unit where I nearly lost my life in 2015.

As I sit here in the car park waiting for Red, I look over from the helicopter pad to the red brick building where we took our final breath and I recall a freezing winter night standing outside after someone had pulled the fire alarm and we all watched, huddled in blue blankets as a helicopter flew down over the bricked courtyard of the high dependency unit to land. It was so close you could almost touch it and we had joked about jumping up to grab its skids and escape our confinement.

At that time Deaths Landing had in fact held me before, for a few minutes as I was taken away by air to another hospital in a big city far more equipped to manage my condition.

I don’t remember that flight; I wasn’t conscious, none of us were. When people told me later what had happened, I didn’t believe them for months.

It’s odd sitting here, looking over at the place where part of me left us forever. For years after I couldn’t even drive near this street without having an anxiety attack, now it’s oddly numb.

I’m slowly healing from this grief, tending to the shame and trying to process the pain. I feel the same sitting here now as I do driving along the road where a friend died, loss and a need for unanswerable answers.

I wonder who was there, what they said, how they felt. I wonder about the last song they heard, last word they spoke and what happened around them as the world kept turning when for them it had simply stopped.

A little piece of my heart throbs in the recognition that we will never be the same again.

This week, the universe has forced me down the road to some sort of closure I’m only now realising how desperately I need. I have been half expecting for this awakening for years, but now that it’s finally here, I am nervous.

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