They were tall, white angelic beings moving towards me amidst a glow of an even brighter light. I did not understand what was happening at the time as I was just waiting there with the figures floating towards me. More of them were to the right than to the left; or maybe I could not see them as if blinded by sunlight. But this was not sunlight.
I sensed them coming closer, around behind my right arm as if to escort me somewhere. I began to drift forward. Then I stopped. Why had I stopped? Was not this the right way to go? And then the words spoken to me were felt more than heard: it is not time yet. And they were gone. No light. No angels. Just the darkened images remained inside my mind that are always there when one’s eyes are closed. When I opened my eyes I saw the inside of the camper all around me. Most importantly, I WAS ALIVE!
Quickly realizing what had just happened, I groaned for strength deep within me that was not available in my listless frame. “I have to open the windows!” I exclaimed inside my head. Horror nearly immobilized me. Could I do it? Could I reach it? Which window? How do I open them? Let’s see, first I have to get up on my elbows to push myself up. Then lean forward to create momentum and reach out my arms to grab the back of the dinette. Slide forward and get my legs onto the floor to bear weight to stand. There, that’s it.
By the grace of God I was able to get the window opened and reach up to open the ceiling vent further before carefully collapsing back into bed. “Just avoid hitting your head on the bunk over you,” I thought to myself. Soon I could feel the rush of cool, fresh air on my face and arms. I took in a deep breath, reviving further. I was going to be o.k. Sigh. What the heck had happened to me?
Some might call it a near-death experience. Others might label such an experience as a hallucination from toxic fumes. I prefer to call it an experience in another dimension that I cannot fully explain. Perhaps a second chance at life. For several hours prior to this vision of sorts in my “mind’s eye” (not really seen as I looked around and not really imagined with my eyes closed) I had struggled with seizure attacks and convulsions. This happens about every week or so that I endure much of a day with continuous noxious episodes. This past weekend landed me with two days like this in a row! Such is life in the mysterious world of mercury and unknown toxicity. The typical episode triggers of hunger, thirst, needing to void, feeling cold, fragrances, waking up, falling asleep, mold, or food sensitivities did not apply that day.
We had arrived in Alabama at about 4:00 a.m. after over 15 hours of travelling by truck, towing our travel trailer cross-country. Temperatures the next day were still around 40 degrees in the deep South when my beloved ventured off to see his son-n-wife at Fort Rucker Army base nearby. It was usual for me to stay behind after long ventures to rest up, hoping to visit with everyone later the next day. After sleeping about 7 hours I had made myself a breakfast of my special diet leftovers and yummy coconut almond milk. My tummy was satisfied yet I still felt groggy so I returned to our comfy bed. Gratitude filled my thoughts for having a safe place in which to retreat with all the provisions that I would need away from home . . .
Clearly some provisions I did not need after all! Our crochety campground water spicket was frozen solid so we were unable to hook-up fresh water to the camper and use the toilet as designed. Gratefully some of our emergency gallons of water were starting to thaw so we had a reserve for flushing the toilet and drinking the next morning. But unfortunately since we had departed from the frigid North the day before, we had to take our entire journey with a camper still winterized with “non-toxic” RV antifreeze. All of the drains and toilets were still filled with the scent of the pink stuff. Not thinking about the mixing of products, we used some windshield washer fluid to flush the toilet a couple of times. Then when I was concerned that the toilet waste solids would congeal, I tossed in a Bio enzyme pack, earth friendly of course, with barely a scent of pine or something. Pink and blue and green make . . . ? Something not nice, I now understand!
Before we crashed into bed, we had already opened the overhead vents to help control condensation inside our unit. What I did not realize is that a window I had also opened in the morning was above the venting for the propane furnace! I’m not sure what chemical compounds might have made their way back into our living space since the carbon monoxide detector had not been activated. Maybe I just don’t do well with propane gas altogether. Who knows? What I do know is that the noxious mixture nearly sent me to heaven!
Sadly after eating that morning it was all I could do to get to the bathroom and collapse onto the bed instead of the floor. I could not, did not move for a very long time. Slow thoughts of my inability to move, recognition of my awkward positioning, wondering how long Steve would be gone, the location of my cell phone all dawdled through my head. And they stayed there. There was nothing I could do about anything and I wasn’t even sure exactly what to do anyways. My thoughts were dulled into a kind of motionlessness that was similar to my poisoned body. In time the white light and angels came. In time I was able to get up as described earlier. In time Steve came home and found a broken shell of a woman recovering quietly in our bed. Many tears followed.
Death is a funny thing. You think you know all about it from watching others pass away then transitioning into a waxy state lying in a wooden box placed in a funeral home parlor decorated like an old rerun of The Beverly Hillbillies. Sermons, Biblical passages, and Christian authors have much to say about this life and the next but until you face it yourself the words simply won’t mean much. The unexpected BENEFIT of having a severe illness that brings daily seizure attacks and convulsions is that every day I get to face death in addition to the newness of life. My breathing stops and it starts back up again. From a spiritual standpoint, THIS IS NOT A BAD THING! As a result, each day I take practically nothing for granted as life and some goodness are imparted to me. This process is extremely humbling. I have also learned that death is not something to be feared . . .
Many years ago a friend, Louise, shared with me an audio tape of Pastor David Jeremiah in which he stated,
“God’s man in the center of God’s will is immortal until God is through with him.”
Oh yes. I have now lived through many brushes with death and seen this to be true! So where do I go from here? I’m not quite sure, really. What I am sure of is that I will probably write about it! You will be the first to know my beloved Gentle Reader when the inspiration comes. Until then how about if we keep the windows open on the opposite side of the furnace, take care of ourselves as best we can and keep our eyes fixed on the Lord. The light of His love will surely shine upon us all the days of our lives until He calls us home. As for me, I will be ready. How about you? JJ