Expedited Extreme Reincarnation Package
Is this reality, or a beyond the grave prank between friends?
This past spring, I had a vivid dream about reincarnation. It happened shortly after I organized a memorial for one of my oldest friends, who died by suicide.
The dream started while I was still living, before I reached the after death part. The dream life was as my real life still is - complicated, frayed, at risk of permanent lost hope. My dream death wasn't completely clear, but the impression was a quick ending.
In the afterlife, a friendly, feminine figure greeted me. Best described as a cosmic travel agent, like Flo from the insurance commercials, I was informed of my path.
This is how it went.
I opened my eyes.
There was a sense of being in a room. Not a room in our realm, because there were no discernible walls, floor, or ceiling. A glass room of infinite size and space, situated somewhere in the middle of the universe. It felt like floating on water, standing up.
There was no light source, but it wasn't dark. It was pleasant lighting, with nothing in view. No stars or galaxies, no background images. A simple, empty room outside the confines of human understanding, in the vastness of the after.
In the afterlife waiting room, I was in my current physical form, but my body was only a representation. The same sensation as looking in a mirror. A pleasant feeling - void of discomfort, anxiety, pain, or any physical sensation at all. It felt similar to ingesting a large quantity of psychedelics, in space.
Directly in front of me was an afterlife reception desk, where the friendly, feminine figure stood. The face was humanish, but not a human being. They were an ethereal creature, with a warmth and vibrance humankind is incapable of. They beamed a sense of comfort and familiarity. I was at absolute peace within an unknown and unknowable experience.
Content, but confused, I asked, "Where am I?"
The figure said, "Where you're suppose to be." And for whatever reason, my mind accepted that as a reasonable and comforting truth.
The obvious next question was, "What happens now?"
"Let's get you to your next life." the figure replied.
"Did you say… next life? As in, I have to be alive again?"
"Yes. You're on track for your next Expedited Extreme Reincarnation Package lifetime."
"Sorry… my what?"
"Expedited Extreme Reincarnation Package. You've lived several lifetimes, and you're halfway through the package. Let's get you moving along to the next life!"
This is where the version of myself that I know, and the people in my life know, tapped in.
"What in the holiest of fucks is an Expedited Extreme Reincarnation Package? That sounds terrible and made-up. Who chose this package for me?"
"The Expedited Extreme Reincarnation Package is a high-volume, quick lifetime succession. Filled with meaningful human journeys and experiences, it is exceptionally exciting and challenging. It's one of our top-tier reincarnation packages. You chose this package some time ago, and you're doing great! Now, for your next life - "
"No. No! Absolutely fucking not. Okay, listen, I've done the human thing. I get it, I get the jist. I'm not doing it again. I have no idea why I would sign up to do it many times or in the way that it went. Am I an idiot? Be honest. Am I some kind of cosmic moron or a spiritual masochist? Why would I willingly choose this?"
The cosmic agent motioned for me to look down at the afterlife reception desk. I placed my hands on the not-really-there edge and peered down. The desk displayed, in rapid fire, my previous lifetimes. As the footage rolled through the many versions of myself, how I lived and died, I watched in horror as it slowed down on a final highlight.
I looked up at the figure and calmly asked, "You made me… Hitler?"
"There was an error."
"An error?! There are errors here?? What error? Hitler? HOW? WHY?!"
"Sometimes, reincarnation timelines get crossed. In this incident, your timeline became entangled with an ancestor. You lived their lifetime in error. But, don't worry! You weren't the Hitler you know of. Such incarnations are more a representation of that life track, not an actual manifestation as as you historically know it."
"Mmmhmm. That looked pretty fucking Nazi Hitler to me. Jesus Christ, how could I do those things?? What ancestor did I get crossed with? Was it my great-grandfather? It was, wasn't it? You know what, I don't wanna know."
"After the timeline error, you upgraded to the Expedited Extreme Reincarnation Package, to cleanse your spiritual path. After vigorous testing and processing, you chose the package and accepted this series of lifetimes."
"Let me get this right. You turned me into a dimensional Hitler, mass murdering fuck, by mistake, and then I chose to suffer in rapid lifetimes after? That sounds like bullshit to cover your reincarnating asses!"
"It's a common decision after an aggressive reincarnation experience, even without an error. Eventually, everyone choices it. Very few complete the process to start the package. It's not for the faint of heart, but you're doing great! Let's get you scheduled for your next lifetime!"
"Look, I'm not asking for a refund. I don't want a refund, or whatever the hell it is here. Let's call this whole thing completed. How do I, uhh, cancel, or back out? How do we make that happen?"
"The Expedited Extreme Reincarnation Package exists as an eternal agreement in perpetuity throughout the universe. The only way to complete the package is to finish the package. Are you ready for your next life?"
"Sweet Jesus, hold on - "
"Good luck, Laura, see you soon!"
"… wait, no!! Please don't send me back!!"
I opened my eyes.
My dog was alseep at my feet, curled up on a shared blanket. I was lying on my friend's black, leather couch, in the living room of his Atlanta apartment.
"Expedited Extreme Reincarnation Package," I said out loud, in an attempt not to forget. "What the fuck was that?" Sitting up and slowly shaking my head, I laughed, completely amused for the first time in a long time.
Five days earlier, I had woken up on that same couch. I showered, put myself together, and walked my dog. Then I left my friend's apartment. I locked the door and walked away, content with a suicide plan, and a backup suicide plan.
I'm the type of person who always has backup plans. Suicide has always been one of them, since I was a child. That morning, it felt good to have options, after several years of feeling trapped in a life I no longer wanted. For the first time in many months, I felt free, without stress or burden. A beautiful spring day in Atlanta, it felt like a good day to die.
I was an unnatural calm, a feeling those of us who battle suicide ideation, and attempts, know intimately. The arrangements were complete. That morning, suicide was a normal task, like brushing my teeth or making coffee. A suicide my friends would not have to personally discover was the to-do item waiting to be checked off the list. I wanted to die, but I wanted to spare my friends the trauma of finding my dead body.
I walked away from the apartment complex. My steps were easy and light, my feet gliding across the sidewalks. My eyes searched for a pleasant spot, without the risk of interruption. I sat down to decide where I would end it all.
From my purse, I pulled out my travel Buddah figurine and a token that I found after my friend's suicide. "It's a way out," I thought, as I rubbed the tokens, for, I don't know, a final answer?
As I sought spirtiual guidance on my decision to die that day, my mind began to wander. I thought about how when you end your life, you also kill a part of everyone who loves you. That thought upset me, because I knew it was true. I had just experienced that loss. My heart was heavy with the precarious balance of my desire to die and my habit of being alive.
Thinking of such things broke my unnatural state of calm. I realized that if I were going to end my life that day, I had an obligation to those that love me to exhaust all options. There was one option left that I had never tried - calling a suicide hotline.
I wasn't going to call anyone I knew. They would talk me out of my task. Hearing their voices would force me out of my plans. Instead, I called a stranger, and they did exactly what my friends would have done.
For one hour and 11 minutes, they gave me the time and grace to consider why I wanted to die. By the end of the call, I decided that it was not a good day to die. Phoning in a stranger does, in fact, help.
It's unlikely that my friend called a hotline before ending their life. Our friendship was such that we made jokes about hotlines. We had discussed suicide very frankly for years. Part of our coping bond was humor, and a pact to always call each other before a final decision. They didn't do that. They broke the pact, and that broke my heart almost as much as them being dead.
And that's exactly what the person on the other side of the suicide hotline pointed out to me. Why had I called when my friend didn't? Why did I hold onto a pact with a dead person, by talking to a stranger?
A small part of me still wanted to live. That was the true part of my plan that hurt the most. I didn't want to leave everyone who loves me, I just didn't want to live the pain my life had become.
Living in survival mode every waking second is exhausting. Fighting incurable illness is difficult and expensive. Working hard and still being broke in this country is hard. Navigating a world that seems to have gone mad is soul crushing. Losing a friend to suicide is heartbreaking.
Despite my pain, I chose to stay alive that day, and every day since.
My life is different now. Many of my struggles remain the same as they were that spring morning, but I found hope. Day by day, life has altered as I work toward new goals, new reasons to live, and new reasons to fight for life.
None of this would have been possible without the love and support of my friends. And a stranger, who helped me remember I made a pact. I still have a pact with my friend. Sure, they're dead, but I'm not.
So, I must honor it from this side, while they screw with my dreams from the after.
Learn more about me and support my writing at lauragentle.com
About the Creator
Copywriter, equality advocate, cancer+endo fighter. Odd Hollywood-Hillbilly Hybrid.
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