Given the recent string of celebrity deaths, especially high profile celebrities like Alan Rickman and David Bowie, death has been a companion in my day-to-day doings. I walk to the mailbox and wonder what it would be like to have a heart attack and face-plant on the road. I wonder what it would be like if someone broke into my house and shot me point blank.
I wonder what it would be like if I got the news I had cancer and knew my days were going to be much more limited. I wonder if I should be worried at all because fate will take me when fate takes me and worrying is such a tiny human preoccupation. (Which is one of those things that give our life its blessing and curse – we are doomed to remember so much, yet blessed to remember at all). I grant you, it’s macabre. I can’t help it, I chalk it up to my imaginative writer brain exploring things from the deep well inside of each thing I explore.
At any rate, I went to bed last night feeling very good. My stomach aches were non-existent, my anxiety was nil, I really felt good in my mind, and my body. So it was interesting when I had a dream of going to a huge fair and getting on a ride that boasted it was three-times bigger than any other. It was an incredible version of a scrambler (combined with other things to make it one of the most unique experiences my brain has concocted yet). It could hold three-hundred people. Massive gears in the walls that spun massive wheels that ran on tracks. Me, my husband, my sister, my children… we all got on and had a fantastic ride. No one else was in line! We decided to go again.
This ride was housed in an enormous building, rides whatever the weather, you know? So we are going around again, lifted high into the sky, when my sister shouts to me, ‘Look over at that wheel, what is it doing?’ Sure enough, as I look over at the wheel gliding along its track, it is headed straight toward another wheel meant to elevate the riders (I know, wheels everywhere, tracks, confusing… bear with me). Obviously they collide.
Now here is where the dream goes from glee, to horror. The whole ride shudders. It groans aloud as the arms attached to the wheels buckle, then snap. It feels like slow motion as we spin in a way unintended and I feel the vibrations through my seat as the ride collapses onto the ground. Screams fill the air, I see the ground rushing up, and like magic… incredible magic, I breathe in slowly and say to myself, ‘Well, this is it.’
I hit the ground knowing my death has arrived. It goes black, then darker black and utter silence as the rest of the ride topples over me – I feel it crush me, though painlessly as I’ve accepted this fate. At this point, I think I actually stopped breathing in my sleep, because I can say… the totality of this darkness, this silence, this stillness that washed over me in the darkness was… much like when you go in to get an operation and they put you under… you’re simply gone.
Then… a miracle. I begin to see the red of my eyelids. I literally think to myself, ‘I must be being born again,’ and I woke. There I was in my room, in my comfortable bed with heaps of blankets, having had what I can only say is something akin to a shamanic experience where my mind let me die to bring me back. Spiritual, because what I took from it is something I heard a woman say on a documentary as she took the drugs to end her life, ‘Oh, that wasn’t so hard… this isn’t hard at all…’
I don’t know what my end will be, when it will be, how it will be, where it will be… but I feel calmer this day. I was given a gift by my incredible brain, a teaching: when you accept something that seems unacceptable, when you stop fighting the flow of this mighty river of life, magic and miracles are sure to follow.
I think I needed that reminder, (and with luck, death will be exactly what I imagined it to be), because I’ve been fighting my nature and hearing that voice of gloom telling me, “You can’t.” Truth be told, I can. I just need to walk through the doors and create with all I’ve got. It’s all any of us can do, and everything we should do.