My Love of light, silent at night. My Breath divine, steady & true. Our Death becomes, for me and for you. Stop, it has all ended yet just begun. Silence, the hungry sound of the bone saw vacant. The pushing, the pulling, the urgency gone. Void of sense, refreshed anew, peaceful and clean, the morning dew.
Click, my life switch was off, the biologically human parts of suffering, pain, ego, remorse, expectations & anticipations vanished. Such a joyous moment, truly free from anything you would define as negative. I wasn’t aware that I was dead, not yet, awareness of death is an experience processed in the soul, beautiful, sweet, peaceful and kind. We are all, each of us, with no exception, made of light & love.
The clock on the wall read 12:10 Am, not really sure why it was important to note the time but it was vitally important somehow, and I trusted.
Looking down from above, seeming to hover in a balance between the ceiling and a mirror reflection of myself, lying still, on the table below. A green, surgical cloth shield, of some sort connected to the table or perhaps my neck rising sharply at an angle toward my forehead, covering my face.
A large metal device held my chest open, there was a feverous intent present, a giving of every skill, an ownership of circumstance, as if every moment, every choice every sacrifice, these people below me had invested in their own lives, was now on the line. A make it or break it moment for me, peacefully watching, I hadn’t a clue what was happening.
The attending ER surgeon, Dr. Martin knew; he knew my young life was almost exhausted, caput, only the thinnest sliver of hope remained. I lay there before him, gasping for breath, deep red blood flowing freely off the table. It was an early day in December, not far from Christmas, December 10th, 1987, my mother’s birthday.
It was also an anniversary of sorts for Dr. Martin, a make it or break it moment for him as well, having just finished his surgery training, six months prior, in June. The good doctor was now the lead surgeon, an emotional culmination of skill. The professors, teachers, classes and books providing mentorship, instruction, challenge and support along his journey of medicine. They, all of it, brought him to me on this very special day. Dr. Martin did his best work and saved me so I could be here, sharing with you now.
Those large caliber bullets, each single one a burning, twisting, fire of death hurled at me with blistering speed so fast my mind grappled with understanding what was happening but the instantaneous, immense pain brought my conscious mind up to speed very quickly; I was being shot, I was being killed, by uncle Jimmy. Boom, boom, boom, boom the projectiles hurled at me ripping through my right lung, my stomach, my intestines, my liver, my right arm and my right hip. Defenseless, cornered in my parent’s small bedroom, I had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
During the surgery, I had nearly thirty pints of blood pumped through me in order to sustain my life. One of the four projectiles had inflicted a critical liver injury; on average, the human body only holds about ten pints of blood. When someone is bleeding, as I was, and the body is in profound shock, often anesthetics cannot be used. Anesthetics induce an insensitivity to pain, they relax the body and as with most surgeries, general anesthetics causes temporary unconsciousness.
However, I was special, with injuries such as mine any anesthetics would cause a further decrease in blood pressure, as the body relaxes. Instead of going away to a peaceful dream state while the masters of internal medicine worked away, they pumped me full of drugs causing paralysis so I would not move, I was totally awake, aware and conscious during the whole operation.
Remembering that first touch of the cold of the scalpel blade on my bare chest, slowly tracing its way down toward my stomach and groin. The air powered sternal saw, its hungry blade gnawing away at my chest, the pressure and intent focus as the surgeon tugged it along. The rib spreader, oh the rib spreader keeping my chest open. I could feel the surgeon’s hand on the crank, a connection to him, even as I lie there still, frozen. I could hear the device opening with each crank, feeling the excruciating pain each time he twisted it open further, yet further still.
Scream, scream I commanded myself!
Move, stop them, they are killing you! Trapped inside my body, my very soul was in intense agony with no escape, I was very aware of literally being ripped apart.
At 12:10am all the onslaught of pain stopped. Instead, I watched, floating there, peacefully present, the way you might watch a favorite TV show, comfortable, relaxed and entertained. The doctors, nurses and emergency room staff scurried about. Dr. Martin had his back to me with his hands in my open chest. Surrounding the table on which I lay were other tables with tools and metal contraptions. Behind me and to the sides were machines with monitors blinking but not a sound I heard which struck me as strange.
There was a woman present, an anesthesiologist I assumed, at the head of the table off to my right side next to a machine from which a tube extended down underneath the green cloth covering my face. She was beautiful, of Asian influence, a delicious skin tone shone through where parts where her cheek was visible, not covered by the green surgical mask she wore. I felt attracted to her, I was a teenager after all, as my intention focused on her beauty, she looked up at the surgeon, her eyes pleading, conveying a feeling of helpless and then I was gone.
The stairway to heaven was, well, not so much of a stairway. Instead, I found myself drifting down this dark corridor, as if in a tunnel, a journey from one destination to the next. I was aware of movement but it wasn’t through a feeling of body motion or sensory perception.
If you were to close you eyes right now, I am sure you would be able to locate any part on your body and perhaps get up and walk across a familiar room or even write you name on a paper, it was that kind of awareness.
This complete awareness, a knowing, free of thoughts, free of any type of pain. As I floated down this corridor there was a faint music felt, just lightly vibrating what we would consider our internal cells – the individual parts which make the whole – off to my right and left were picture boxes, rectangular shaped boxes which have a 3D dimension above its mounted surface. Inside the picture boxes, were animated images of me with family or an event which I had really enjoyed. All, all of the moving pictures, each in a different frame along this corridor were positive and happy times as I drifted along.
There was this one picture where I slowed and then stopped, for a brief moment just watching, then I was there. Somehow by some means transferred back to the living, a being with that precise moment of the past.
It was Christmas morning, opening presents, my father on the floor beside me, just to my left wearing brown khakis and a plain white t-shirt. Mother in front of us, holding the camera and taking the picture. I wore an “I’d rather be flying” t-shirt and dark slacks.
I stayed there, in that moment, just long enough to fully experience all the sights, sounds, smells and emotions present as if a final parting glimpse of the love and happiness that was the embodiment of my childhood. Then gone again, sucked out of that moment back into that dark corridor now moving faster as if I was late for something important. An urgency, the picture boxes moving by quickly, so fast that I could not capture the scenes they portrayed.
The music grew louder yet remained peacefully quiet, the vibrations permeating through me, such beautiful sounds of harps and trumpets, intertwined with sounds of a gentle rain, the singing of a million twinkling stars, just to me, just for me.
I was vibrating as if tickled in a gentle, caressing, nurturing way. My being, my consciousness, whatever I was or was not in that moment reverberated, joining in in this chorus, singing back from within. Not from my mouth as you might expect but from inside, from everywhere, from everything that we think or feel, those parts that make us, us and even from parts we are not totally aware of and may never come to know, in this reality.
There was a light up ahead, in the distance, growing closer, its rays starting to reach me and dance with me, doing so as the music did. It was if the music originated from the light, dancing along its edges, combined, neither one existing without the other.
As the light grew closer, it grew brighter, so bright that if you were to encase your head in a thick lead box, what we might consider impervious, it would be akin to gazing directly at the noon sun for hours on a blistering hot summer day, using the thinnest piece of tissue paper as a shield. This magical, divine light was so bright, so clean, and purely white there was no place to hide from its brilliance, it was completely void of darkness.
At first I was blind but now I see, welcoming the light, moving forward still pulled, drawn, without choice toward its strength, its purpose, and its pure total love. In the center of the light was an image, an outline flowing, as if the light was emanating from it, the source. This flowing image beckoned to me, I knew it, it was me, a mirror image part of me. I was returning to myself but this image, this point source, was also everything else, every person I have know and never known. It was life eternal, everything which makes up the universe, heaven, god and all life before, all life present and all life future, all of it, absolute truth cast in front of me.
I grew closer still, peaceful and surrendering then I heard my mother’s voice, Michael was all it said. Instantly in a fraction of a heartbeat, I was hit in the back by a freight train of decision, barreling down the track at full speed, her voice the horn, trying to warn me before it was too late. I could not go, not for myself, I was needed still.
Slowly, I turned, becoming keenly aware of some unknown, impossible fight which lay ahead. A deep determination I had never known as a boy assisting me to move away. The first step was difficult, the very essence of spirit trying to welcome me backwards, toward the light and resting peace. A climbing if you will, of the steepest mountain on the edge of a cliff with no safety lines, poles or ropes to protect you from the fall. I felt an immense fear, certain death, even though I was already dead, those emotions flowed within me and still I trudged forward knowing that I would not go peacefully into the light. I started to run, not gracefully like a marathoner who had trained for weeks, months or years for an important race. No, it was floundering, desperately trying to escape a place of immense beauty and interconnectedness to a place of individuality and pain.
Faster and faster I ran straight out into the darkness, no corridor, no tunnel, no picture boxes guiding my journey back. I could feel the light & love right behind me closer still, even closer than when I had first chosen to turn away. I dare not look back, don’t turn your face, I could feel that warm embrace reaching out to me as if to say, it’s ok, it is as it should be, come.
Everything went into running, everything I was or wasn’t, my complete existence went toward the effort of simply one foot in front of the other in quickest of succession. I remember that distinct feeling of being on an escalator, going the wrong way, every step forward brought me two steps backward, no matter how fast I ran, then it stopped.
Click, my life switch was back on. Regaining full consciousness sometime after in the ICU, alive, alert and happy. I told Dr. Martin and the crowd of doctors and nurses which gathered around my bedside as my mother sat by my bed, holding my hand, thankful that I was still alive. I told mom I heard her as I shared with those present the story of my operation and subsequent death and travels out of this reality.
Doctor Martin collapsed in a chair, his forehead in his hand, he said “you couldn’t have known you shouldn’t have known” trying desperately to reason some semblance of understanding. Some thirty years latter, this story, my story, he still tells
My mother quickly dismissed my experience of the surgery saying it was all a dream, that I was asleep and unaware of what was happening. Perhaps in an effort to offer me peace, it was all a bad dream or perhaps to offer herself peace, knowing the suffering we as a family had endured as well as all the physical and emotional suffering which still lay ahead. Dr. Martin stood up, coming closer to my bed and my mom confessing that I wasn’t asleep, he had given me a paralyzing drug in order to prevent the body from going into deep shock, relaxing and dying. This was extremely hard for my mother to hear as her baby boy was yet tortured again by the very people who were trying to save him. Dr. Martin further stated that I shouldn’t have known about the procedure. I couldn’t have known all the ins and outs about what transpired in that operating room. He went on to detail how the brain, much like a circuit breaker in your house, only handles so much load or as in the case with the brain, pain, before it trips out, not being reset until the experience or load subsides.
So, somehow, for some reason, my consciousness had chosen to and fought to remain present, enduring this event.
Love & Light