A Near Death Experience

Posted on September 20, 2017


What if I were to die today? What if I had just a few moments to live? What would I feel?

It was 5.15PM this evening. I was on a crowded subway, west bound to Kipling from Yonge. Two stops down, the train stalled at St. George. Injury at track level, they said. That’s code for someone has jumped onto the tracks and hurt themselves, I am told. And a few minutes later, we were on our way again. I was struck by how momentary the delay was. I said a prayer that the person may be safe.

The train was excruciatingly slow. I assumed it was owing to the trains in front of us during the delay. I didn’t think much of it. And then just after Bathurst and before Ossington, in the dark and dingy tunnel, the train just stopped. No one batted an eyelid. I was playing Words With Friends on my phone, but against myself instead of an actual person. It must have been 10 minutes; audible grumbles emerged. And then it happened. The lights went off. The AC switched off. Only one small light in the whole compartment was on. It was dark and stuffy. The compartment was jam packed with tired, sweaty bodies. A woman behind me began to cry. Her neighbors shifted uncomfortably. She was telling herself to breathe. The voice of the train driver said through the intercom, “Someone has put off the lights. We are investigating.” Not very reassuring. No. Who put off the fucking lights?

I felt my heartbeat quicken. I felt a panic attack coming. I had visions of being stuck in the tunnel for a few hours. I could see people gasping for air. I feared people would pass out, or worse, die. Then, I thought — what if this is a terrorist attack — what if a bomb blasts through the train! Why else would the train stop in between stations — no cell signal, no escape route. I was very scared. I said the Lord’s Prayer. I remembered my mother’s prayer to her goddess. I said that too.

I typed out a message to Sid, my husband. In case I don’t make it home, please know I love you very much. Thank you for everything you have done for me. 5.39PM. 

As I waited for death, I asked myself how I felt about my life. And the answer moved me to the core — I was content. No regrets. I didn’t have any unfinished business. Sid and I had parted ways with a hug and a kiss. I had shared a laugh with a few friends. I felt pretty good about myself. And I realized that if I died in that moment, I would be content.

20170729_201950This is how I want to live my life. Each day. Every day. I don’t want to dwell on stupid things. I don’t need adulation. I don’t need to win. I am dropping out of the rat race. I don’t want to be a superstar. I just want to be my husband’s wife. A good friend. A funny person. I want to be present in each moment that I live.

The train began moving, but the feeling travelled with me. Whether it’s actual death or the threat of impending Alzheimer’s — I just want my life to be hugs and smiles. Nothing more is needed. Nothing less is acceptable.

For context, read: https://fromoutsidethemall.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/life-after-alzheimers/

Posted in: life