I was carrying all my otherworldly secrets with me. Sometimes at night I would just close my eyes and feel myself shooting through the universe again. I would remember the Forest Man by my bed. I would feel the warm arms of the tribe of women and hear their songs.
And so I took a lot of time and wrote it all down, lest I forgot. As if I could.
As soon as I could hold a pen, I wrote it all down in notebooks.
I had been to see him the day before and sat next to him a while as his chest heaved and rattled. I whispered to him. Stroked his beautiful blonde hair and kissed his warm rosebud lips.
I tasted him and smelled him deeply.
I knew it was goodbye. Even though I had expected this moment for three years, saying goodbye was harder than I ever imagined.
Everyone kept telling me to release him.
‘Tell him it’s okay to go, Sarah,’ they urged.
So, I whispered that in his ear.
‘It’s okay to go, my Llew,’ I said. ‘Time to go. Go off on your next adventure. I will be okay. The kids will be okay. We love you. Go up to the angels.’
I so wanted to mean it. I so wanted to be that big person, calm and accepting. But I could not. I almost choked on the words.
The ICU at night is a terrifying nightmare world. Not even Dean Koontz or Steven King could imagine the nights of terror.
It was cold and late at night. I was chained to a bed and I was freezing cold. If felt like an icy underground parking lot. It was industrial with strips of fluorescent lighting. Broken lights were all around and cold metal beds. I was in some of them with a flimsy blanket over me. The cold was bone-deep and biting into me.
I have watched movies about people waking from a coma. They opened their eyes and the fog cleared.
It’s nothing like that.
Waking up from a coma is not a singular event. It is a process of waking up for a few minutes, fighting your way out and into consciousness, and then slipping back under.
In the real world I was still in a deep coma, but the sedation was being slowly lifted.
What I didn’t know was what had been going on in the real world. The world where my body lay, breathing through tubes and machines.
Aeons ago I left the world of men, of form and substance. I am floating away in the universe. I know it is the universe as I can see stars and lights. I move through them. I know the lights are other souls, like me. Formless and free, just bright, blazing, clear lights.
In the empty, vast place I have been in for so long, this beautiful music filled it, like a hum and a song.
Before I had been a star. A being made only of light and energy. Formless and free. It was so peaceful and easy. There were no strings or attachments. It was just endless eternity. It was bliss.
And then, I felt as if something touched me out there, beyond the stars. Something changed.
Interestingly, in the ‘real world’ something was happening that very night.
That night they had scheduled a meditation and prayer for me. There was one in my own home in Cape Town and friends from all over were invited. But all over the world people who knew me joined in. My sister Trish in Johannesburg held one at her house, where everyone gathered. My brother in New Zealand joined in with his entire church. Friends in the USA, Costa Rica and the UK joined. Not just family, but friends, churches, groups and people all around the world joined that night.
At the same time, they all sat for a while and lit candles and prayed. My sisters Liz and Jayne led a meditation at my house sending me love and healing.
I have always believed in prayer. It does not matter to me where it comes from – God, the universe, the earth, a higher power – any prayer is pure love. And I felt it.
Because deep and far away, I heard something in the darkness. I heard voices calling me.
It wasn’t as literal as that. It was an awareness that came to me.
Though the dark space I had a clear, distinct, and real thought. It cut through like a beacon calling me.
I know that this was the turning point for me. I have read many NDE stories after waking up and I know that this was the moment I made a choice.
I had a conscious thought for the first time.
It felt as if there were two threads pulling at me.
One thread was my spirit, and that wanted to float away and be free. The other was my soul and it wanted to be somewhere. It was being called back, down and back to family and love.
It was the soul calling I finally heard.
Come home, it said.
So, one clear thought entered my being. It was the thought that drove me for the next week until I finally woke up back in my body.
And that thought changed everything.
I needed to get back. Away from here.
The limbo. The purgatory. The surrender. The passivity. The waiting. The dying.
I was getting out.
Like a beam of light, I was shooting back to earth. Just that single thought made it happen. It was fast and effortless; I shot through the universe at the speed of light.
All of a sudden, I was on another plane. This plane was more familiar to me. It was on earth and there were forms and figures.
This time I ended up in a southern state in the USA. I could see the land and recognise it. I could hear the accents. I felt relief to see forms I knew – rivers, boats, trees and voices and people, rather than just a vast emptiness.
I have shot out of the hospital. I have long left my body.
It was so fast I didn’t even notice it. One second I was hovering somewhere in the corridors with fluorescent lights, the next I was shooting through the air. It was as if I was being pulled forward by a cord to my chest, so fast and furiously it was like a rush of wind and light and freedom.
What am I doing here? It’s an easy Sunday morning and I am sitting on a cold concrete floor with my legs stretched out in front of me and a six-kilogram black cock on the top my head.
I really should not be here.
I am a frazzled, but reasonably mature, hip and working mother of two small kids at age 34. And Sundays are rest and wine days.
I should be at my parents’ house by the beach in Simonstown looking out over the yachts sailing. Soon I should be sitting down for a Sunday roast with a chilled glass of white wine. Or shouting as I chase my kids across the beach.
This cold hard floor is not the right place for me.
And yet here I am. Sitting quiet and meek with my head bowed and a cloth over my shoulders. I want to shift and move, but I don’t dare.
If you are dealing with an acrimonious split, you are going to have to call on all your inner calm to separate emotion from logistics. The key here is to keep personal issues out of all interaction. Not easy. Less so when money and kids are involved. Try this reflective approach:
Listen to the rage – but don’t allow it in. Allow them to rant, cry, scream and threaten. Let them vent.
Practise noble silence. Just shut up. You are not trying to make them feel better. Nothing you say will make any difference. Hear them out.
Instead of getting married again, I am going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.
– Rod Stewart
The first step out the door is the hardest. Each step after comes easier and faster, until one day you stop and realise you’re free. How incredible to discover your greatest champion is you. – Hallmark divorce card
‘I want out.’ Three little words. So simple. Sure, there will be technicalities. A fight about custody, a row about money, a squabble over the Battlestar Galactica box set. But then it will all be over. A clean getaway.
Every marriage is a journey that goes through stages of love, hope and hot sex. No matter how bad it gets, you both started out believing it was going to work. So you’ve lost your way and you’re sure that this time it’s going to end in divorce. It would be nice to be able to bill this stage as a star attraction, to promise that this next step is a walk in the park. Yup, that would be really great. But that doesn’t really happen, even if you and your partner didn’t decide to merge your DNA.
Divorce is a big thing. It’s bigger than you think. But there comes a time in some relationships when the pain of staying together outweighs the pain of tearing the family apart. And instead of lying around weeping, we’re going to leave this town in style.
Stacy was our third child in six years. On her first birthday, my wife told me that she didn’t want to have sex any more. ‘Not ever again,’ she said. It was as if I had received a blow to the stomach. She said that she had stopped enjoying it after our first child was born, and had kept trying to make it work. But she was very clear that she never wanted it again. It was all so strange to me; I felt like a man in a dream listening to her talk. This was the woman who had pulled me into a club toilet in a fit of passion. This was the woman whom I had made love to for weeks on end while hiking through India after our wedding. She said it was fine with her if I did other stuff, like watching porn and masturbating, but she wouldn’t tolerate an affair. A lifetime of no sex loomed before me. I was forty-two.