She recalls drifting up and into a very bright light.May 15, 2013
My sister was shot while she was walking her dogs in our small town in Alaska. The bullet ricocheted around piercing her bowel in 9 places. Even though we had one of the best Rhode’s Scholar docs in the north at our ER and the only flight out of town was miraculously minutes away from takeoff and held up to fly her to Anchorage, she bled out and died on the operating room table. She knows because she vividly remembers everything the surgeons said as she lay dead on the table.
What she told me later is remarkable: She recalls drifting up and into a very bright light. She was no longer in pain, and felt compelled to travel into the brilliance. It lead to an amazing river. Seriously, the look on her face when she describes this place helps me realize that radiant, endless joy is not just a possibility but an eventuality. She describes playing in a river that consisted of pure knowledge. Anything she ever wanted to know was at her fingertips.
As she played in this amazing river she could sense figures on the distant shore. They were our people, she explained. Our family. Our animals. All waiting patiently for her to finish playing in the river and wade towards them on the shore. Though she was not ready to leave the marvelous river, she knew without being told that they would wait patiently and joyfully.
But she never made it to the shore. As she was playing an amazing thing happened. Seriously, people, if you could see the look on her face when she describes this next part you would laugh for pure joy. A being approached her. She did not know what it was except to describe it as pure, unconditional, ebullient LOVE. It radiated love. It pulsed love. And ALL THINGS diminished before the radiance of that love. The next part makes me chuckle a bit even though that seems out of place. She said it spoke to her and said that she had to go back, that it wasn’t her time. She said, like a little kid, “But I don’t want to.” When she recounts this experience she emphasizes that to be in proximity of that being is ALL THERE IS. She describes it as a completion. A peace. A welcoming. To leave was incomprehensible.
But to decline was also incomprehensible. She felt infused with a purpose. Very, very, very reluctantly she returned to life. She is amazing. They patched her femoral artery and explained that the graft would eventually give. In all probability she will die within minutes. Living with that sword of Damocles should be terrifying. No. To her it’s a promise that she will get to return. Life is what we are here to do, she explains, but after…..sweet, benevolent, all encompassing love.
With every single breath my sister is heartbeats from death, and I have never met anyone who is more alive. Fearless.