Dying

Well, it is far from early on a Saturday morning, but I have been up since the sun rose thanks much to the wonderful and lovely people living above me *rolls eyes!*

At any rate, this brought me to thinking about yet another major difference between people who are “healthy” and people who have suffered through serious illness for protracted periods of time throughout their lives; namely, knowing very realistically what it is like to be dying and not really knowing at all what that feels like.

One, with a fair amount of flair, can inflate any situation into believing that he or she is dying – something like having a minor car accident, having a minor surgery, &c. &c. But if you haven’t experienced very truly what it is for your body to be literally quitting on you – anyone can say he or she is dying given x situation – then you really do not know what it feels like, and I do believe, personally, this is where the general “fear of death” comes from. There is, no doubt, a fear of death within all people when it comes to the deaths of their friends and family and loved ones – of course, we never want to lose these people forever. But when it comes to ourselves, if you have experienced what it is like to start to die (I will give you an example – lying in a hospital bed with a fever of 105, drifting in and out of consciousness, knowing that your body cannot take much more because your brain will literally broil – this is a situation in which I have found myself many, many, MANY times.). Despite the obvious physical symptoms, there is an overarching feeling of calm – you know the situation, you know the situation is out of your control, and you know you will either live or die. The people around you might be a mess (there is likely someone sitting next to you squeezing your hand until it nearly loses circulation); but you, inside, know it is what it is. Such a feeling of “calm” is really a difficult feeling / emotion to try to replicate in other situations. It is more than “calm;” it is more of something like a meditative “knowing” and sudden full understanding of yourself and everything around you. I hope that makes sense.

At any rate, my apologies for the incoherent nature of this little Saturday morning rant (Wallace Stevens might be proud … or perhaps very angry!) – it was just something I was pondering in my pill-taking need of getting out of corticosteroid withdrawal – yet another thing the “healthy” cannot begin to understand! At any rate, have you ever had the experience of dying because of a health-related problem (or just because of poor health in general?); were you a young child or young adult like I was? How did the experience make you feel? How would you reflect on it if you had / chose to do so now? This is a subject in which I do find great personal interest, so I would love to hear the thoughts of anyone who just happens to be reading this and is comfortable sharing such thoughts! Thanks much and I hope you are having a happy and healthy day wherever you are in the world!

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