On Death and Dying...
But before I get to that, I am alive and doing well. My doctor said I am recovering quickly, considering how bad off I was. I am still on oxygen, but able to do more, walking quicker, and Bald Man is happy that I am helping with Little Man again. I am back to being the designated butt wiper, much to Little Man and Bald Man's delight, and my un-delight.
I get out a few times a week, mostly for dr appts, and sometimes to the store. I stick my O2 tank in that little cart and ride around. That pretty much tires me out and I come home and take a nap. I haven't ever really been this sick before, so it is a new experience, and boy do I have to be mindful of my physical self. I want to stretch myself every day, but not go so far that I am debilitated. It is a harder thing to balance than you would imagine. For the most part I feel fine, until I don't. But I am working on it.
So, back to the serious stuff.
In the ER, when they told me that this might actually kill me, I would be lying if I didn't say I was scared. I was SCARED.
Our beliefs about death come from many different places. Our family's beliefs, our religion, and our culture. The three things that have shaped my beliefs about death are being raised a Catholic, being Lakota, and being LDS (Mormon). All three of these belief systems believe in life after death, and for the Lakota, and the LDS, a circular belief of time, of always being and always been.
It is interesting to me, to note what went through my mind, as I contemplated my exit from this life. There were no regrets, nothing I felt that I needed to do, or anything that was undone. I felt at peace with my relationship with my husband, and an assurance that we were NOT done, and our relationship would continue on into forever.
I would have guessed, if you had asked me, I would have some serious misgivings about leaving my Little Man, who is so dependent on me. But you know what? I didn't! I felt in the deepest part of myself, I knew he would be okay, more okay than most. That was a big surprise.
What I felt most of all, is I wasn't done. I wasn't done loving my family. Was not done holding my grandbabies, laughing and loving them. That was all, just a sense that I couldn't leave before my grandson was born in April, before I got to hold him. No regrets, no wishing I had done more. I just wanted more of what I do, love my family. That was really reassuring, to know I really am at peace with my life and my choices. Of all the things I have done, or dreamed of doing, when it came down to the very essence of life, all that mattered was the love.
I knew I would see everyone I loved again, and I was at peace with that.
The first night, (I didn't know this until just two days ago, I was in the cardiac ICU. Ahem, kind of glad I didn't know!)in the hospital, I had a tremendous experience. At the time, I didn't understand completely what was going on, but looking back, I realize it was a near death experience, I was not completely in this world, but not in the next either. Straddling life and death as it were.
While I lay there in the bed, in the dark, I was very far away from my physical experience. I wasn't in any pain, and I really couldn't feel all that much.
What I did feel was incredible. I was at peace. Complete peace. I felt cradled and held. I could actually FEEL the prayers and good thoughts upholding me. It was transcendent. To feel wrapped in love and peace. I don't even know if I can explain it, because there was no mind chatter, no negative thoughts, no fear, just a sense of incredible love and peace. I hope I never forget how it felt, because it is something I want to hold close to my heart for the rest of my life.
I was awake most of the night, and as the night progressed, I become more and more aware of my physical self. By morning, I was very firmly back in my body, I was completely sick and miserable. The day that followed was really awful, I was in pain, and I was very tired, and I was really, really, really sick. Too sick to read or watch TV or do anything except lay there. I was very disappointed at the loss of the peace and love, I guess some part of me was expecting that experience to last. Sadly, it didn't. But because of the misery, it points out how very incredible the night before was. I am grateful. Love, love is everything. Go hug the people you love and tell them.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
On Death and Dying...