I HAD NO CONTROL over the descent as my head led the way downwards to my right until I had slumped almost out of my seat, my body bowing down to the floor.
My startled husband reached over to prop me back up.
Once again I slumped over, head swinging low, just above the floor.
I saw the white tile and unfinished woods of my kitchen nook in duplicate. I saw double, and then triple, in a rolling shutter view, as I looked up to the beige and pink stripes of the drapes covering the sliders leading to the rose garden.
Jonathan carried me to the living room couch, away from the hard surfaces where I was floundering.
When I began projectile vomiting, he was sufficiently alarmed that he swept me up, still in my robe, and carried me to the car. We sped onto the El Camino Real, north on the two lane road toward the hospital, while I remained spinning in the passenger seat.
At the emergency room, I fought to retain speech and movement. I was losing, and soon could not reliably report or even gesture to my rescuers.
It was important to describe what I was experiencing! How could the E.R. doctor control what was happening unless I supplied information to him? I got a few words out. I even wrote a few phrases into the daily planner still beside my gurney, in case I soon could not communicate at all. Seeing triple. Spinning.
Then this became more than I could manage. I stopped moving and talking, and in the surreal moment when my night clothes were being cut away from me, I thought, “Is this really happening?” The male nurse, not wasting the seconds needed to take off my robe and gown in the normal way, then tossed a hospital gown onto me. He struggled as he started an I.V. in my left arm. With quick dispatch, my gurney was then trundled down a corridor, onto an elevator, and into a room that I realized had to be in intensive care.
My increasing lack of control catapulted me into uncharted territory, in which I could not communicate and could not defend myself. Next, the left side of my head felt as if it had blown a hole allowing my life to rush out. With the electric red splash of an explosion, my very essence was rocketing out of the ragged edges of a bright crimson hole, rimmed with blackness. The accompanying pain shot not only outward but inward, rebounding against all the fleshly boundaries of my body.
I heard raised voices, and saw increasing numbers of personnel in the room, as they jittered before me in double and then triple view. In green scrubs, or V-necked cotton tops with little balloons or ducks dancing in a row, with surgical caps tied at the back at their necks, they swarmed around me, and they were, it seemed, in a controlled panic.
Well, I thought, it was happening as quickly for them as it was for me! I could feel what was happening, but words wouldn’t come. If they knew what was happening, they could only prop my slumping and paralyzed body within the hospital bed, and observe my countenance as they monitored my vitals.
Then, there was a pause in time, and as if in the space between the in-breath and the out-breath, I left my body.
Whoever or whatever I am, whether body or soul, I did not know in that moment. However defined, “I” moved toward a beautiful sunset-colored field of light in the upper left corner of the room and from there, watched what was going on down below.
What was that color? I’d never seen such beauty, and there was no name for it, for it was more subtle than anything I’d known with earthly eyes. It was pink. No, it was like the honey soft blush of a ripening peach. It was like a cloud, and yet it was transparent. It was vibrating and glowing, illuminated from within. And it was so appealing that I wanted a closer look. In fact, I wanted to move right into it.
Beneath me, overwrought medical personnel surrounded my body registering their shock at how quickly my limbs had gone cold.
What was going on? What was this phenomenon I referred to as “I,” after all? What I had thought of as limb, life, mind and soul had become separated. That which I thought of as “I” now existed apart from my body!
I had never separated from this body I had always thought of as “mine,” and thus had concluded, until that moment, that “I” was a discrete feeling unit of flesh, albeit connected to others empathically. What a surprise to see through this experience that this was not true! How I wanted to tell the medical personnel, now working to save me! I was still alive and okay, and it was pointless to fret so much. I’m still alive!
Again I thought who knew that whatever discrete bit of intelligence and feeling I was, it could leave its symbiotic relationship with flesh? Why didn’t this cause destruction, if “I” was separated from my bodily home? If only I could tell the others in the room with me I didn’t feel attached to my body, and I no longer perceived feelings coming from it, and was observing their efforts but didn’t want them to feel the fear and frustration that was emanating from them.
As a person experiences physical death, one realizes the preeminence of the mind and spirit. I knew in that moment that bodies are temporary vehicles or tools. I didn’t just believe this in a theoretical sort of way. I knew it. I accepted what was happening, although I didn’t understand it.
Without doubt, I knew I’d returned to an infinite pool of consciousness, keeping my individuality yet reunited with a larger whole.
I felt as if I was back home. Not my earthly one, but my real home from which I came in order to live an earthly life. I realized that as I thought, I was communicating with this larger whole or Being that was home. It was responding to me. The Oneness I’d sensed before this, in childhood play and later in the light of my bedroom floor, had now proven itself. I was in it.