De Profundis: A Visual & Poetic Story
“This is not how your story ends…” The thought seemed to float in from across the veil. I was dangerously close to the edge; the place between life and death; one decision away. Sitting cross-legged, hunched over on the disgusting mattress on my living room floor, I was allowing utter defeat to wash over me; praying it would consume me and this would all be over soon.
The room and its contents were solidifying and I felt like I was waking up, which is strange because I thought death would feel like falling asleep. Time seemed to have slowed right down to the point that I could suddenly feel each second passing by, each heart beat on the slow steady crescendo of each inhalation and exhalation. I had only really swallowed about 4 antidepressants and they were long expired. The cuts on my wrist were laughably superficial. Am I hallucinating? I looked at the half empty bottle of vodka; it was having no effect on me anymore. I literally couldn’t get drunk. If I don’t act now I’ll spend the rest of my days in an asylum…
“You are free to leave if you wish, or you can trust me and do what I say…”
Another whisper from beyond the veil. I was hearing it as clear as I hear my own thoughts. I found it oddly familiar and comforting. In my mind's eye, I could see what appeared to be a floating doorway. A black rectangular void. I knew that I was welcome to walk through that doorway and on the other side would be peace and love and nothing. The particles in my body that were of the physical realm would fall, separate, cease to be and the energy inside them would be released and expand instantaneously becoming all that is and ever would be. The constriction and pain and limitation would evaporate and I would be as free as the air that leaves my lips on the final exhalation.
I wondered about the other option and I was presented with an image of light, a sense of hope and even a stirring of excitement. Then a whisper, “Both options require that you die; one ends the story and one turns the page.”
My gaze passed slowly over the unframed canvases hanging scattered over the walls in the otherwise barren east Vancouver apartment. Haunting glimpses into a life gone wrong; whispers from a soul begging to be heard. My life flashed before me in an instant, I felt like I had done everything to excess. At 24 I had already lived several lifetimes and run down many roads. They all led to this place. This bleak end where I sit alone, bones rattling under a worn sheet of skin. Inside me was a pile of steaming soot and ashes where the flame of life once shown. I’d poured so much alcohol down my gullet to manage the fear and hate and pain that I’d extinguished every part of me. As I traveled inward I was shown one single molecule aflame. One tiny ember beneath it all.
“This is the only thing you haven’t tried yet….turn the page and come with me. The exit will always be there, this window is only open now.”
My eyes rolled slowly back over my art again and came to rest on the eyes of my cat sitting next to me. His pupils widened, drawing me in and the vibration of his purrs rippled out; hypnotized me. I sank down to the depths of the inner landfill and laid down beside my dying heart. I let go and sighed, ‘I’m yours.’
The breath that left my lips floated to the tiny micro ember and at the same instant I died, the light flickered and multiplied.
I came to, still sitting at the end of the bed. Still staring at my cat’s eyes. I felt like I was inhabited. I felt like something was living in me now. What just happened? There wasn’t time to wonder. I knew I needed help. I thought about my phone, then realized it was clutched in my palm. I dialled the numbers 9-1-1. What am I doing? What am I going to say? The operator answered and the words were already rolling off my tongue. “Help me, I’m killing myself.” What? Is this for real? How long have I been sitting here? This isn’t real. But I’ve experienced this before. I’ve felt this before. It’s my time. I’m about to be born. What? That makes no sense. But I feel it, the energy is rushing in, I feel guided and pushed and pulled. I’m letting go of this comfortable place, I don’t even care about missing work today or that I’m leaving my home now, walking with the paramedics down to the street in my socks. I didn’t lock my door. I don’t care, nothing matters anymore. I’m being born.
Being rushed to the hospital, Yes I remember this. The excitement, the prickly fear. Everything is so soft. I am open and flowing. I have nothing to carry. I’m light as air. This is so strange because I know I should be worried, I know something really huge has just happened, a shift in time and crack in the universe, but inside it’s there. I don’t know what it is. But it’s there. Right under my heart, a soft burning glow. It’s all that matters now. I’m on my way home.
The hospital is busy and I’m on a gurney in the emergency room entrance because there isn’t a room for me. There are people all around. A nice looking couple who are standing nearby glares at me and one mutters to the other, ‘Fucking junkies.’ I feel sad that they are blocked by my ugly outsides. They are missing the miracle that is taking place in here. They don’t know this new life is coming into this world and they can’t possibly know the sequence of events to unfold and the countless lives I will touch on my healing path from this point on. They’re in the other world. They see whats on the inside of their lens. they see darkness. they don’t see the light. They are sicker than I am, I conclude they should have my bed.