Vital Signs

Not Afraid Of Death, But Not Allowed To Die

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was going to send me away, and I never wanted to go back to my family if it meant leaving him and this place. I remember I began to plead with him to let me stay, like any child does in a desperate attempt to convince its parent to give in to its wishes. His final words to me came firmly, but lovingly: “It’s time!”

I was turned and sent from that place on the breath of the last word he spoke. The way was lit; and beneath me were black lines that were separate at first, like those on a road. But as I began to move faster over them they soon blended together. I remember seeing holes in the ground that we fill at death with our loved ones, and I thought of my family. But all the graves were empty. Then I just knew that life goes on. None of us really die. I felt so much comfort, knowing that all my loved ones would not just cease to exist: they too would go to where I had been.

I know that it was at this time that I saw so much more, and it was explained to me. But I can’t bring back the moment it was taught. I can feel it; it’s there in that part of me. But I can’t in this state wrap my mind around it. I just know it to be more real and truthful than anything else in my entire life. And it gives me so much peace now.

When I came back, the first thing I felt was the ease it took to draw this deep breath of air into my chest. I opened my eyes to a bright light above my head, and a cold surface pressing against my back. There were people everywhere around me, but they seemed surprised. They all started to work franticly on tubes and machines, yelling at one another to do this or get that. A man leaned over me asking me to tell him my name, if I knew where I was. He was blocking my view of the light above my head; I was wondering if that were the light I’d seen. After noticing the metal rim around the light, I finally said my first name and told him: “the hospital”. He smiled and told me what a good girl I was, and everything was going to be all right. He looked away and told someone to go tell the family I was awake, and that he would be out to talk to them soon. He just kept telling me it was all right now and I could rest. I wanted so much to go back to sleep and wake up where I had just come from.

When I did wake again, I was in another room. This time I was covered in warm blankets, my mother at my side. She stood and looked at me, and I could see the anger in her face. She asked me what in the hell was I thinking? I told her what I’d seen when I was asleep. She gritted her teeth at me and said that I almost didn’t wake up. At one point they told her they

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