This document contains a transcript of a 2019 recording of the Chattanooga Community Center’s “Dealing With Death” support group. It is confidential, insofar as all support group meetings are confidential. There are no consequences for leaking it… but please don’t.
Alicia (Group Organizer): Hi, all, and welcome to the seventh meeting of “Dealing with Death,” where we’ll be discussing what it means to die, our fears around death, and our experiences with death in our lives. Oh—sir, do you need something?
Jason: No, I’m sorry, I—uh—I just realized I’m in the wrong room. Sorry.
Alicia: No worries. What meeting were you supposed to be in?
Jason: Um. I’m supposed to go to—um—Brealing with Breath. Sorry.
Alicia: Brealing? What’s brealing?
Jason: Hm? What’s that?
Alicia: What’s brealing? The name of the class is Brealing with Breath?
Jason: I really have to go. I have to go now.
Alicia: What’s brealing?
Jason: I’m really afraid of this group. I really don’t want to be here.
Alicia: What’s brealing?
Jason: I’ll sit back down. It was stupid. It was a stupid excuse. Sorry. I’m just scared.
Alicia: What are you so scared of?
Jason: Death, I guess. Um, and dying. And stuff… Decomposing.
Santiago: Me too. I’m also scared of that.
Helen: I hadn’t thought of that, decomposing, but now I’d say that’s my number two fear, after death and dying and stuff. Decomposing.
Alicia: Thank you for sharing, Jason. If you had to rank your fear of death on a scale of one to-
Jason: Ten. Easy ten.
Alicia: You didn’t let me finish. I was going to say that if you had to rank your fear of death on a scale of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, eleven, where would it fall? Keep in mind the numbers are weighted alphabetically.
Jason: [long pause] I guess two.
Alicia: You didn’t let me finish.
Jason: I thought I did.
Alicia: Oh. Yeah, you did. I forgot. Two, huh? Pretty bad. Would anyone else like to share?
Jason: Wait, that’s all? I thought you were supposed to help me.
Santiago: I’ll go next.
Alicia: God, really? Can we get someone else? Gertrude?
Gertrude: I really don’t want to-
Alicia: Gertrude. Gertie. You’re up!
Gertrude: Well, I guess for me, I’m mostly afraid of death because I’m not sure what’ll happen to me when I die. Well, I know what’ll happen to my soul and mind. I guess I just don’t really know what’ll happen to my nose.
Jason: Your nose?
Alicia: Jason, please give time for Gertie to speak.
Helen: What happens to our soul and mind?
Gertrude: You don’t know?
Helen: No; in fact, I’d say that’s my primary concern.
Gertrude: We shrink.
Alicia: Santiago, please don’t be condescending.
Gertrude: When we die, our soul and mind shrink to be a very small guy, like a tiny guy. And then we climb out of our dead body through the ears and run away.
Helen: Whoa. Where do we go?
Gertrude: No one knows.
Santiago: No one knows because it’s not true.
Gertrude: How can you say it’s not true? How do you know?
Santiago: Nothing happens when we die. We’re just bags of meat. We go into the ground and rot.
Helen: That’s, as of recently, my number two fear.
Jacob: We go into the ground? Like we dig ourselves into the ground?
Santiago: No. What? I mean like… buried. We get buried.
Helen: Like in a graveyard. With a tombstone.
Jacob: Is that what happens?
Alicia: In some religions.
Jacob: I’m Catholic.
Alicia: Okay. It happens in your religion.
Jacob: Sure, dude. Whatever you say.
Santiago: Seriously? Do you live under a rock?
Jacob: No, but apparently I’m going to be buried there.
Jacob: Under a rock. It’s comforting, in a way.
Santiago: Did you not hear my thing earlier? Worm food and such. Our brains will cease functioning and we’ll just exist as nothingness. We won’t feel or hear anything.
Jacob: Or see.
Santiago: Yeah. Or see.
Gertrude: I still think my theory’s correct. A little guy comes out of your ear and runs off somewhere.
Santiago: I’m an irony poisoned blackpilled doomer atheist incel, and I can tell you that it’s wrong.
Gertrude: We’ll see. [pause, then a heavy thunk]
Helen and Jacob: [scream, unintelligible shouting]
Alicia: Gertie! Did you just fart?
Helen: Fart? Did you not see what she just did? Gertrude just killed Santiago! She hit him with her oxygen tank and he died!
Alicia: Hm. I must have blinked.
Jacob: Blinked? It must have taken ten seconds! At least!
Alicia: I’m a long blinker. Always have been, always will be. It’s like my dad always said. [long pause] Actually, I can’t remember—uh—exactly what he said. Something about the Chinese.
Helen: I’m Chinese.
Alicia: Really? I could have sworn you were white.
Helen: [pause] Why?
Alicia: You have a white name. Helen.
Helen: I mean… I understand that it’s of European origin. But calling it a “white name” feels sus to me.
Jacob: Yeah. Hella sus.
Gertrude: I killed Santiago.
Alicia: Right. Very bad.
Jacob: Almost sus. Sus-adjacent.
Gertrude: I did it in order to prove my theory. My theory that your mind and soul climbs out of your ears as a little guy and runs off somewhere. [long pause] There!
Helen: Holy shit!
Jacob: It’s a little guy!
Gertrude: Wait! Little guy!
Little Guy: Hey all! Gotta go!
Gertrude: Wait! I have to know: Where are you going?
Little Guy: The Wuhan Wet Market!
Alicia: What happened? I blinked.
Everyone give Ritam a big, beefy Happy Birthday! I wonder why this was on his mind!
Next year in Jerusalem 🍻