by: Dennis R. Humphreys (the Dream Writer)
It wasn't fear, loneliness, sickness or a madman that found me walking up the walk to death's door. It was love.
I've thought about death a great deal over my life, even as a young man, but now as I walk closer to that door it becomes a more potent aspect of my thinking. I don't fear death, I never have as I truly believe it is only a transition in this whole existence. It's the dying part that worries most people... the possible pain and indignity that can accompany those final breaths. The thoughts of those left behind. Life goes on without you, you might like to think differently but it must. I think the greater depression is that they will not be with you to support you as you transition into this next stage of existence. During life, when you face certain unknowns, you feel better about it when someone you love is there, holding your arm and talking you through the steps. This is something everyone has to go through alone. When you're born you have the support of your parents. When you grow, it is your family, and it continues to be your family until the very end... family and friends that you've made along your path of life.
So, what's on the other side? A connection to all things spiritual. Isn't that the reason for the soul? It's the one thing that connects the living and the dead. That's what made the first selected people unique. They were given that connection. Most of us go through life not having the conscious awareness of that connection, while some do and seem to be tuned into information that is out there in the universe, available to all that ascend towards the greater consciousness, whatever you want to call it. It's your prerogative, but the internal meaning is there.
There is only a whisper of sound, sight, taste, touch as you leave your body. You walk in a bright, foggy light where undefinable shadows seem to watch. There is a sense of general conscious awareness... a sense of security, happiness, danger... and your sense of self. It is the after world and you have been stripped of your corporeal body, so you are deficient in certain things you really no longer need. The sense of danger is there because there are things there, along the way, that might try to deviate you from your path. There, as before in life, you have choices to make... choices that can affect your next step.
Your sense of self, is your spirit which now, is all there is. It is an accumulation of what you brought with you coming into the world, and whatever you built upon that foundation while there was breath in your body.
I never did anything spectacular. There were a lot of little things. The greatest accomplishment were my children, and that true sense of self and importance as I saw them mature. No one can take that away from you. Some try, but how do extract feelings? How do remove your sense of self? Even happiness is difficult to destroy. Some might try by putting limits on the person or destroying your belief system. You might to a certain extent deaden the corporeal body towards such things artificially through drugs but that only deadens those things, it doesn't destroy them. The mind can conquer such illusions, but it must become more aware of its relationship with everything else in the universe.
I arrived at death's door consciously as I believe deeply in the sanctity of man. I stood against those who didn't believe that, and I supported the individuality of each living person. Everyone who comes into this world comes with the basics and should be secure in the knowledge that the powers in standing, support the individual as he tries to build on those fundamentals throughout his life, to make a stronger person, a stronger family, state, nation and world. Their role is to safeguard that individual in accomplishing those goal;s as he travels through his existence. Counter to that role are the efforts of those forces that extend their greedy hands from the shadows... to pull you towards them and their desires.
I saw death's door, not in some vision or dream but in reality. It wasn't a physical door, but it was a door, nonetheless. Lawlessness and criminality grew exponentially in the cities. Many took their families and moved away to escape. Many stayed and assumed the responsibilities of the repercussions of such steadfastness. There were conscious decisions to fight it, then there were those who couldn't for a variety of reasons. I decided to fight it but standing near death's door was an older woman trapped by economic constraints. Corporeal hands from the shadows controlled by those of the spiritually unenlightened side, were exerting their power over an old woman, when I saw them trying to rob her. Those hands were those of men much younger.
“Hey, what are you doing?” I yelled.
They turned to look at me as I crossed the street. The arrogance and evil were reflected in their faces as they turned to watch me. The look of despair and hopelessness covered the old woman's face as she watched me accept my condemnation.
“Hey buddy, this isn't your concern. Why don't you turn around and leave? We have business with this bitch,” the one of the three men warned.
“Sure, it's my concern. You're effecting more than you know, doing what you're doing,” I explained.
“Shit one of those existentialist philosopher assholes,” the guy stated as he and his buddies laughed.
That did I... my four months training in exercise class with Ti Kwan Do was unleashed and I sent a hurling kick at the guys back between his shoulder blades. He fell forward against one of the other guys and the old lady took advantage of the altercation by slipping out from under the two guys that were holding her. Now things took a serious turn when the guy I hit, pulled out a gun. As he did, I reacted quickly to keep him from possibly using it, but stupid me, I kicked his hand, and the weapon went discharged. It didn't just go off; it sent a bullet into my chest. The first couple of seconds, I didn't feel it and knew the bullet passed me somewhere and ended up in the soft brick wall of the building behind me. The realization I had been shot came as I began falling involuntarily to the pavement. The three hoodlums got scared and ran. I watched them from my prone position as they raced haphazardly down the street. A city rat walked by me then, just a few inches from my face. I remembered remarking to myself how big and ugly the thing was.
I watched as a few people came towards me. Two were busy with their smart phones videotaping my tragedy. One did dial 911 and stood there asking the old lady, who was still close by, what happened.
“Oh, three thugs tried getting my purse and this asshole thought he was going to save the day with his kung fu stuff. All he did was get himself shot,” she told the guy. Now I knew what she thought of me.
I guess I was an asshole, thinking I could change things. I heard sirens as the 911 call came to fruition. Funny I didn't really hurt like I always imagined when you got shot. There were a couple larger stones of gravel under me. That felt uncomfortable. More people began gathering as they came out of their homes. They stood over me looking down. I watched them from the corner of my eye. The one guy was busy eating a hot dog. He had dripped mustard down the front of his shirt. You better get a washcloth to that I thought, you'll never get that telltale sign of mustard out of your shirt. A dog wandered over and sniffed me. How inelegant! At least he didn't sniff my crotch like dogs do. Especially in front of all these people. I waited for him to lift his leg and pee on me, but I guess he had more manners than that.
Oh good... there's the paramedics and the police. Let's get this show on the road. Get me off these two gravel stones. Yeah, check my vitals. Get me out of here and someplace to get me treated. I'm not ready to die yet. I'm feeling halfway decent actually. What the fuck are you doing?
“Poor guy. He was trying to stop a mugging and got himself shot. It doesn't pay to be a do-gooder,” the guy said.
'Tell me about it,' I tried to say aloud, but nothing came out, 'this was a brand new fucking shirt I bought yesterday.'
“Time of death?” the one guy asked that was standing. The guy stooping by me looked at his watch and replied, "four thirty-five.”
'Time of death? What the fuck, are you kidding me? I'm still here... aren't you going to try and shock my heart to get it going?' I asked him incredulously. Then I looked down at my chest and saw the size of the hole exposing my heart with a big hole. I seemed to turn to look at it to get a better look. It was an unnatural angle. It was as if I was facing myself inspecting that hole. Then I stood up.
'You see guys... where did you get your paramedic training? I'm OK... I'm right here,' I explained but no one seemed to hear.
'No wonder, when I looked back, I was looking at myself on the pavement in a pool of blood. The realization suddenly came to me I was dead. What are they going to do at work tomorrow when I don't show?' There seemed to be a slight breeze that lifted me into the air where I hovered above the paramedic's truck. I watched them unceremoniously load me into the back of it and close the doors. Cool... I always wanted to ride in an ambulance with the siren going full blast. Now was my chance. Actually, I stayed above the ambulance and followed it to the hospital. There wasn't any rush so there wasn't any siren. I missed out on that too.
As they backed into the dock at the hospital, I remained hovering just above the back doors of the truck. It opened, and there I was, in a body bag they must have loaded me into on the way. I looked like an overgrown bag of potatoes. That was that. I felt myself getting sucked upwards in some kind of vortex but that's where the fog and the light came into play, I mentioned earlier. There were shadows along the way standing to the sides not really doing anything... just watching.
I wondered if they'd try to do anything if I attempted to go back or run off to the side of my path. I guess I was more interested in continuing my journey. What was up ahead? Were there gates? Was there a choir of angels waiting for me? The path seemed to be going back downwards now. I suddenly became afraid I was going someplace else besides heaven. The light was getting brighter, and I thought I got a glimpse of blue... then some green.
The fog cleared immediately as I stepped out onto a soft green grass of... Earth? Everywhere I looked, it looked just like the place I left. Well not exactly, this was much nicer. It wasn't the city and definitely rural. I heard a dog bark, catching my attention. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was Muppet, a long-haired terrier I owned as a young boy. I loved that little guy. I stooped down to open my arms for his greeting. He licked my face profusely and whined like he did years ago before he got hit by the school bus coming to greet my return from school. Then I saw a few people running towards me... my Uncle Glen who was always pulling watermelons from under his yew bushes exclaiming about their rapid overnight growth since he had just picked one there the morning before for me. My parents came running to great me as well and there were many others I hadn't seen for years because they had gone and knocked on death's door. It seemed I was back home. Here I knocked on that fabled door out of love for someone I didn't know, to help them, and now I've arrived at my destination to share in the love I thought I had left behind.