"A good death."
It's a nice idea, a comforting idea. We like to think that we at least will have one, that we will go quietly into that long sleep. But there are things in the world that shatter that idea. Things that burn away the soft, warm cotton wool we wrap ourselves in and show us our raw mortality.
Part of the horror of Ebola is that it shatters the idea of a “good death.” You can’t deny mortality when death is on display in this way: bodies disintegrating, the sounds and smells of hot, sick blood and shit and bile erupting and oozing from a not-yet corpse. There will be no one to cradle the deceased, no comments about how they “look so peaceful,” like they’re “just sleeping.” There isn't a burial; there is a disposal.
It’s hard to imagine something worse than a virus that leaves people to die in the decaying wreckage of their own cytokine storm, bodies that leak with blood and death, commandeered and turned into Ebola replication machines.
Your body contains everything Ebola needs to make more of itself: by providing the blueprint for more virons, the virus uses your own cellular machinery to replicate. And when the cell is packed full of copies of Ebola, the virons bud off in a little envelope of your own cell membrane. Which means that, at least on the outside, the Ebola virons in your body look like you.
To Ebola, we are nothing but machinery. And it is our own machinery that conspires to kill us.