I suddenly remembered what it was like to die in bed of natural causes, except I don’t remember what life it was. Couldn’t have been Phil (comatose) or Jack (instantaneous), but I don’t think it was Count William (though he did die in bed) and I suspect it wasn’t James (probably drowned). Maybe it was my 18th century life in the colonies? Or perhaps it was that life somewhere in Central Europe that I dreamed vividly about, the one where I was an old man on my death bed in a house that I loved, round about the 17th century. I guess it could have been a life I haven’t recalled yet.
It was a sense memory. Deep fatigue, fatigue like I’d never felt while living. A burning in my chest as every breath became an effort; that was the most prominent sensation. You know how people who have near-death experiences describe how they were able to just let go and it was a huge relief? That’s how it felt, like it was easier to let go than keep going. But I kept going anyway. I tried to stay, tried to live on, I didn’t want to die. But I was so very, very tired. My mind was already shutting down. I couldn’t keep going though my last thoughts were of how much I wanted to. I guttered away as I lost my grip. It probably seemed peaceful to those watching but I wasn’t ready for it, mentally.
I always figured dying that way would be so much easier, but I suppose if you’re so attached that you can’t let go until fatigue gets you, then maybe it’s just as bad as if you die running for your life.
This is heavy… wish I could remember when this was and what kind of life I’d lived up to that point. Was I clinging to life because I loved someone or something? Or was I clinging to life because I was afraid I’d go to hell for the things I’d done? Or maybe I simply clung to life because I was afraid of the unknown, afraid of leaving certainty. That’s a common attitude in the last 400 years, isn’t it? Certainty is praised, and uncertainty is abhorred, but when it comes to the great leap into death, we aren’t certain of anything except losing the apparatus for interacting with this material plane and forming certain kinds of judgments that are impossible in an ethereal state. Death is significant, as major transitions go.
But some people are more ready than others, and there’s usually a good reason why they’re especially anxious about it. What was mine? That question’s going to haunt me now.