Last night I woke up with the strangest sensation--something I haven't felt in over 15 years. I woke up, scared to die.
Woody Allen once said, "I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens." That's how I've felt for quite some time...until last night.
You see, yesterday was my angel baby's birthday. He would have been 15. And while it doesn't hurt like it used to, I still miss him. Yesterday, Mike took me to lunch to cheer me up. I'm remarried and Mike never met Zeke. I don't tell him too much about my angel baby, but for some reason yesterday I did. I told him how the doctors knew Zeke might not make it, so they had me deliver him in a room directly connected to the NICU by a window. When he was born they whisked him through the window and put him on life support. They ended up taking me to a recovery room and told me I couldn't move for a while. Well, those schmucks were wrong--it would take a lot more than THAT to keep me from my baby. I hijacked a wheelchair when no one was lookin' and several minutes later one of the nurses found me struggling down the hall. She took pity on me, and even though she wasn't supposed to, she brought me to see my baby.
After sharing all of that, I searched Mike's eyes. We were sitting in the middle of a diner, eating soup and salad. I suddenly felt my face warm from the tears I tried to keep at bay. My lips trembled, and I raised a fist to cover my face. "Nothing could keep me from my baby: not doctors, not stupid rules... The only thing that kept me from him was death." Then I cried and cried, on his 15th birthday, right in the middle of that damn restaurant in Pocatello, Idaho.
A few people looked at me sympathetically. I didn't want to cry anymore, so I whispered to Mike, "I feel bad for you--they probably think you're breaking up with me over something stupid."
He held my hand, squeezing it like he'd never let me go, then he smiled.
I normally think about death as a reunion, a reward after patiently waiting to reconnect with those we love. I could see my baby, my family who has passed on (especially my grandparents), my best friend who died 2 years ago....
But last night was different. I thought of death as one thinks of stepping in front of a train. It's so final, so gloomy, so quick. You can't have someone hold your hand. You go all alone into the unknown. And good luck listening to advice from everyone else--everybody has a different spin on death.
As I sat up in bed last night, my blanket clutched to my neck, I suddenly thought of how many funerals I've played the violin at. Hell, I've even played for people right before they died in the hospital. And the look of peace on their faces...like they didn't give a damn about the final adventure; they were simply ready.
Maybe I shouldn't be scared. Life could be like pregnancy? I didn't want to go through labor--I wanted to see my babies (all 5 of them), but I NEVER wanted to go through labor. 'Cept at the point your skin is stretched to oblivion, you can't even bend over to tie your shoes (let alone shave your legs) AND you feel like you're starring in a sequel to aliens.... At THAT point, labor sounds easy.
Maybe death will sound easy when I'm ready. But right now, going into the unknown alone...even if I will get to see God (and He doesn't give me the smack-down), traveling alone to the afterlife does NOT sound fun.
Moral of the story, I guess I'll stick around. I can live with that!
Have you ever felt like this?
A very much happy-to-be-alive,
P.S. Silly moment of the day--I googled "I am scared to die," and one of the most popular searches is currently "I am scared to die on a treadmill." Treadmills--now, maybe that's what I should actually be scared of!