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Friday, August 23, 2013

Jake Furie Lapin:Soul Connection: The Eyes of a Dying Man


I was born in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Although I only lived there for about 5 to 6 years of my life, I have several vivid memories that date back to when I was a young child.  One of these memories is very vivid, and affected my life in a powerful way.

I lived in a multistory apartment building; my guess would be that it was about 5 stories high, containing maybe about 30 units. My family lived on the 4th floor. The apartments lined the rectangular perimeter of the building, and the staircase leading to each floor revolved around the center, forming a central stairwell.  It was grueling work,  lugging up groceries up to the rectangular staircase to the 4th floor.  One day, I was watching cartoons on a late midweek night.  Both my parents worked very late to make ends meet, so I was being watched by an elderly neighbor sitter, who always just snoozed in the living room rocking chair  while keeping me company.

I was in the middle of a Loony Tunes episode when I heard police sirens nearby, which was common in my part of Jersey City.  They sounded extremely close. I peered out the window to see three police cars parking quickly and sloppily in front of the building.  Then 4 or 5 officers rushed out of the cars and ran into the building.  Being my usual curious self, I walked out of the apartment, and looked down the staircase, watching the officers run up each level like military troopers.  My heart raced, because  they were approaching my level, but then they stopped climbing on the level below mine, and ran to the apartment directly underneath.  I tiptoed down the staircase, just far enough to peer through the banisters and watch them try to break into the apartment.  They broke into the apartment and all of the officers quickly ran into the unit.

All I can remember at that point is one of the officers yelling "STOP", "HANDS UP!!!".  In the next few moments, events seemed to unfold for me in slow motion, as a black man ran out of the apartment towards the staircase.  I heard several shots ring out of the apartment, apparently hitting him.  In slow motion, I watched the man crumple and fall onto his face. It only took a few a seconds, but it seemed like minutes.  As he fell forward, he looked up, and he saw me. His eyes were terrified, and he stared at me, piercing my body and soul. I watched him and our eyes held all the way as he slammed onto the concrete floor. In that instant of connection, I felt his soul touch and enter mine.  In the next moments, all of the officers ran out of the apartment, and one of them peered up towards me, and yelled "Get the F** out of here".  I ran back up into my home, trembling, and deeply changed.

I found out later that the ex-wife of the black man had kidnapped his son, and tied him in a closet in her apartment.  She knew he would come to his rescue, and called the police to report a burglary and frame him, as she hid in a friend's unit across the hall to watch him enter. An innocent man had died that day, and I watched the whole thing.

I never forgot that moment of connection with another soul.

In my older life now, when I hold and kiss my lover, I make sure my lip bites leave a taste of my soul, and my eyes pierce her eyes when I first plunge slowly deep inside her.  Even though those moments may only take seconds, I make sure it feels like an eternity.

Have you ever watched or witness someone dying unexpectedly?

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18 comments:

  1. Yes and it still stays with me to this day even though I've tried to block it out out of my mind all of these years because it's too painful to deal with. My dad and I were very close. He was battling lung cancer and had recently developed a tumor on his diaphragm one night that caused him to hiccup in a lot of pain. We had him then lie down on the couch to make him more comfortable and we were going to take him the emergency room but he kept saying he didn't want to go. It was like he knew he was going to die that night and wanted to die at home surrounded by his loved ones all around him instead of in the hospital. We then noticed that he stopped hiccupping and that's when the tumor must've erupted causing him to bleed internally. We didn't know it at first until we saw the dark blood leaking out of the corner of his mouth. One minute he was standing up trying to breathe and next minute he collapsed onto the floor and stopped breathing. His eyes were opened at first and then slowly closed. Suddenly everything went into slow motion. My mom was calling 911 crying and my brother was crying hysterically yelling at my dad to wake up while pounding on his chest to make him breathe again. I tried to move to help my dad and be at my brother's side to help but, I couldn't move at all like I was paralyzed. I couldn't even cry much less say anything. I was numb all over. I kept wishing it was a horrible nightmare and wanted desperately to wake up from it. But all I could do was stand there staring down at my dad's lifeless body lying on the floor while the paramedics were working on him. I knew right then and there that my life was about to change forever that night and never be the same again. My father whom I loved dearly would never see any of my milstones and I would never again see his smile that could light up a room.

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  2. Very intense and gripping. Death in its own right can be life changing for those left behind, specially for children. Its heart breaking to read a child witness such a violent death, let alone that the suspect was an innocent man. I for one am very interested in how this event will affect the main character emotionally and psychologically.

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    1. The eyes tell everything in life. In personal, in work, in relationships etc. Learn to read the eyes

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  3. This was very intense. I can’t imagine how this event has impacted your childhood and adult life.  It’s very unfortunate for any child to experience such horror. Do you feel this day lives with you? Or found ways to transform it into something productive in your life? I’ve experience death myself in different ways.  My Personal experiences have been close to death with asthma attacks, and anaphylaxis. This story is growing up in Brooklyn living as well in a multistory building; I remember one event that has never left my memory.  I remember being about 8 yrs old or so, and walking about my apartment with my mother to run errands that’s when the smell hit me. Something didn’t smell the same in the hallways; the walls looked strange as well. There was police tape and other objects but my focus was on the walls and floor. From my apartment on the second floor to the lobby entrance there was blood stained on the floors and walls. Streaks of red and brown everywhere, the smell was of drying blood. I only knew it was that I remembered it from my bouts of nose bleeds growing up.  I looked to my mother to see if she reacted to what I was sensing, she seemed unaffected. I turned to her and ask what happened here. I don’t remember her explanation. I found out later in my life that the sweet lady next door that would buy me dolls and came over for coffee with my mom and been stabbed and beaten. She was attacked by a man with whom she’d had a relationship with. The story from which my mother told me was that they had a futile relationship which involved heavy use of drugs and alcohol by both parties that lead to a night horror. My sweet neighborhood survived the attack only to be scarred physically on her face and body. I was oblivious to what evils she could have been suffering from at that time in her life. I’m thankful my parents kept me sheltered in some aspects to those evils.

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  4. Jake How haunting an experience to witness as a child.Your writing gripped me from the beginning. I felt transported to the scene and felt your terror as a child.Frightening to glimpse into a dying mans eyes. Something you will never forget. Thank you. I enjoyed it. Christine @WannaBeRockStar

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  5. Another great blog Jake. I was terrified for you reading this experience. Makes you value every minute of your life just a lil more than before because guilt is in the eye of the beholder and metaphorically many people shoot send ask questions later. Butterfly you.

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  6. Kids should never have to experience violence, even death. It's sad to know that many like Jake experience this more often than not. It's heartbreak how innocence is taken away at such a young age.
    I especially connect with the feeling Jake had when looking into the man's eyes. So much can be felt and told through the eyes. How haunting it must be to look into someone's eyes and see how vulnerable & terrified they are. Powerful story. I cried for Jake's loss of innocence at that experience.

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  7. Innocence
    Deception
    Violence
    No time to breathe or blink
    A fearful father sacrificed
    Two children forever scarred
    A single tear falls

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  8. I work in the medical field so I unfortunately have seen death before. But never so graphically and horrifically. I work with children and that is very hard when something so innocent looses their life. I'm sure just as hard as an innocent man loosing his life. I had to deal with two deaths in the last year and it was very hard for me. This definitely had to effect young Jake and he seemed to take in into a positive part of his life.

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  9. A very powerful and horrifying story. Your writing is awesome. I was able to visualize the stairwell, the man looking into your eyes. The eyes are the windows to our souls. When someone touches our soul, it is a very powerful feeling.

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  10. As part of my profession I have seen numerous deaths some expected and some not. One in particular will stay in my memory forever. I had not long qualified as a registered nurse, about 1988 and was working on a medical ward. To my horror I had discovered I had a breast lump and as expected went into panic mode. Because of where I worked and knew a lot of people there I was seen the next day by the surgeon who I also knew as a friend. This was on the Friday, by Monday morning I was in theatre three days before xmas. When I came around I had said I did not want to go to the private ward but to a ward where I knew people, there was a young girl in the next bed. She was 22 and also had go through a breast lump removal. They did not remove my breast just the lump. We compared our drains (device to remove fluid in a wound) and had a laugh. We were to be given our results the next day. Mine came back clear and I was sent home but when I left hers had not come back at all. I wished her well and left. A year later when working on a surgical ward she came in. She had liver and lung secondaries and was dying. I was having lunch in the canteen with the on call Dr when an emergency call came through from the ward. Racing back only to find she had a cardiac arrest but her husband was demanding we try to revive her. Have you ever tried to revive someone when you are blinded by tears and cannot see properly. We tried, by god we tried but had to let her go. To see her husbands face will haunt me forever. Believe me when I say I cannot see this keyboard now. I have had two breast scares since then and now live with my "lumps". Two in my right and one in my left. I get them checked regularly believe me but when I do I always remember her.

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  11. The profound effect that this event must have on your life at such a young age. Knowing it meant something. . .terrifying, powerful, gut wrenching, beautiful. To be able to learn and grow...through the pain and loss of life. An amazing acknowledgement of his life and contribution to yours.

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  13. I have witnessed death many times. . .Once in particular was unexpected and extremely traumatic. I performed CPR unsuccessfully. It will stay with me always.

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  14. To witness something like That I cant imagine what That is like as I have never experienced something like That
    They say THE eyes are THE Windows of THE soul, looking in someones eyes and seeing everything without saying a word
    That an innocent man has died is Truly very Sad and for you as a child to witness also innocent and That is a life changing moment AT That age
    Very Sad and beautiful story

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  15. I'm thankful to say that I have never witnessed anyone's death. Although, when I was a child I witnessed a young girl fall off of a parade float and had the horror of watching the truck run over her tiny legs. To this day I still can't even watch someone on screen get run over. It makes me nauseous! I'm not sure I could even write down my experience quite as eloquently as the author. This story was riveting and it brought me back to that time in my life.

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  16. Thank you for the very articulate words used to describe your surroundings and feelings. I was able to visualize a scenario in my head as I read your story. No thank god I have never witnessed someone dying in front of my eyes and only sorry that you as a small child had to. The eyes is what freaked me out. They say the eyes are the way into our souls. If I would've witnessed him looking at you the way you described it I'm not so sure I would be normal today. (Well fairly normal) I think they would've haunted me forever.... then to find out he was innocent. Damn! Your descriptive words made it easy to read. Sorry you experienced that. I like the writing!

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