It was not a perceptual experience or a hallucination nor any feeling of detachment from the body; it was the sensation of being aware that ‘this is the end’…‘its all over.’
There were no questions, no anxiety, no eagerness to save myself; only a strange numbness and acceptance and a refrain ‘its all over.’
Another thought – Oh! My new car…probably this thought hit me before the numbness; not sure.
This was not what researchers call ‘Near-death experience’, according to which there is an awareness of being dead, peace and painlessness surrounded by positive emotions.
Let me reconstruct that moment for you. Intoxicated by the exuberance of youth and the arrogance of driving a new car, one morning when I was going to work, the speed of my car was nearly 80 (I was living in Delhi at that point of time) and it happened to touch the central curb…I don’t know how, probably the demon of driving turned the wheel. He had whispered into my ear a number of times to drive within a safe driving speed but who takes the advice of demons or even well wishers?
Obviously my car flew away and landed after three somersaults. I went completely numb, with only one thought in my mind: Oh… it’s all over!
It was early morning and the traffic was very light at the freeway.
I was amazed at the impact! How could I escape unhurt, just with a few bruises and blood at my face? How could I request the onlookers who offered to take me to hospital to drop me near my home? How could I walk home myself with a bleeding lip and hand? That was the day I started believing in miracles.
All fears evaporated as I had met the ultimate fear. The desires of acquiring material possessions waned considerably. All arrogance melted when I saw my new car in shambles and people refused to believe it had absorbed all the impact. My husband refused to believe that it had somersaulted three times! My mom told me it was the iron used in the car, which could be lucky for me!
This miraculous escape taught me:
Life doesn’t happen as we plan, it is more like a bubble. It can burst any time, live it with abandon.
Take out your favorite crystal glasses and use them everyday for whatever drinks you enjoy.
Plan that dream vacation right now as, tomorrow may never come.
Communicate what lies in your heart; unexpressed emotions may go with you into your grave any day.
Face your fears. The power of all fears recede when we learn to encounter them.
Learn to forgive. The moment we forgive, we feel confident and powerful. It develops and validates our goodness and compassion.
This fiercely competitive, engulfing world may be waiting to devour us but we have to approach it with calmness.
Success does not just mean a lot of money and power or the house of your dreams. It is living a meaningful life.
Savor little moments of joy everyday.
Feel the gratitude for this blessing called life, which can be snatched any moment.
Laugh out louder and learn to love people around you.
I was humbled by this experience, I changed, I came back happier, with deeper love for my family and friends. I have lived the bonus years granted to me, with profound gratitude… “For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.” – Khalil Gibran.
Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.
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This week I had shared my thoughts about the emotions attached with birthdays from the spectrum of a girl who yearned for care, affection and recognition in a society mired in biases. I appreciate all those who shared their insights and memories.
One of my friends, Hariod Brawn said: “…anniversaries of all kinds may evoke strong feelings within one. For myself, the strongest are those dates on which a loved one died.”
When I felt it was strange, he responded…
“Why do you find it strange that anniversaries of deaths are more emotional for me? I think that is a universal and quite natural state of affairs. Is it not?”
I don’t think so. It is not universal.
Death anniversaries could be emotional for those whose loved ones leave after fulfilling all their promises that they had made to themselves and their loved ones.
Death is beautiful only when you have lived your life. When it comes suddenly in the prime of youth, when it leaves behind unfulfilled hopes and desires, it is nerve shattering.
Such death anniversaries become traumatic, not emotional.
Because emotions lie scattered and shattered at such a time, the shards are too piercing, discordant and acrimonious.
Because you are too confused to gather the debris
Because the mourning is deafening, it seems futile, a façade and proves ineffectual
Because a lot of people try to confound you with words that seem hollow and simulated
None of those words soothe you
All that is more prominent and understandable is indignation and exasperation – extreme sense of revolt against destiny or God, whatever you believe in.
When your whole world falls apart, when you have to abdicate the little joys of childhood, when you have to fend for yourself, when your so called well-wishers wait for you to falter and condemn you for your immature acts…
It is at such times that death anniversaries become meaningless.
They bring along harrowing memories and festering wounds, which never heal.
When each day is spent in remembering those lost moments of unfulfilled yearnings,
When each day seems an uphill drive, with steering in the hands of an adolescent,
When faith lies prostrate at the alter of destiny
Such Death anniversaries are NOT emotional; they lose their sheen.
They are distressing; they only afflict pain.
All the positivity and spirituality fades in the face of hunger, which stares at you at such times.
Mourning continues till we meet our loved ones…in Heaven.
Their wailing grew louder
Onlookers stared, consoled
More mourners gathered.
Wailing became unbearable
It hit my heart.
Deep, down the chest
Some pressure, some unseen hand
Oppressed my breath.
Unspoken words, parched throat
But no wails.
I could not wail. Must I?
Do I need to pretend?
Please! Will somebody understand?
Can you detach me from tradition?
Please leave me alone.
Let me feel that cold touch.
I am STILL in mourning.