Some morning I’ll wake up, with no need to hurry
No cause for worry, no burdens to bear
Some morning I’ll rise up, amidst joy beyond measure
With wonders and pleasures and treasures to spare…
~Some Morning, Mark Wayne Boyce
I’m sorry for blaming you
For everything I just couldn’t do
And I’ve hurt myself by hurting you
~Hurt, Christina Aguilera / Linda Perry / Mark Daniel Ronson
Sleep is the brother of death
Millions of people who have had near death experiences have reported seeing their lives flash before their eyes. I’ve often wondered if this is a universal occurrence. Can we all expect to see the entirety of our existence play out while taking our last breaths?
I believe I will. In the fragile space between consciousness and sleep, I’ve witnessed hundreds of single scenes from my own life appear from nowhere. If the surprise doesn’t jolt me awake, I’m able to hold it just a little longer before it fades and slumber fully grips me. As death will someday.
During another fragile time between some harsh disillusionments and climactic awakenings, I was becoming profoundly close with a man I’d met a few years earlier on a 300-mile long bike ride. We were distanced and sharing thought-provoking movies with each other. One of mine was “The Discovery.” The premise was that a scientist discovered proof of an afterlife through brain scans. The hook was (as it actually is) that nobody could know what was on the other side of life until theirs ended. I concluded the theory of the movie to be that since all our lives are unique, so would be any afterlife we experience; that our infinite subconscious is comprised of that which we hold most true in our Earthly consciousness, whether it’s regret, joy or something else.
My dad died a year ago.
I will 4ever have regret that I wasn’t at his side with the rest of my family. I was on the way, in a safe rush. He was supposed to still have a few days. Time was warped after his diagnosis. Within six weeks, “maybe up a year, maybe less” turned into days and I suddenly found myself saying my final goodbye to my Dad just north of Wooster, Ohio on Route 71.
I inherited much from my Dad: his love for road trips, camping, gardening, music, reading, and writing. I’ve carried on his curiosity and thirst for knowledge, but I can only wish to attain his breadth of knowledge. The oft-misunderstood attitude he passed on to me is legendary. His virtues balanced and contradicted his flaws and vice versa. Of course, he was not unique in that respect. It’s true for us all. Like many families, he and I got along best when we did not reside under the same roof. He spoke his truth. And it sometimes hurt.
He didn’t sanitize or sugarcoat his truths and I’m certain he wouldn’t have wanted me to either, especially in my writings.
A breakup and financial circumstances necessitated my moving in with my parents back in that fragile time I mentioned. It was difficult for me emotionally and geographically. Eventually, we ended up clashing in an ugly way one sunny October weekend and the effects dragged on until I moved out again. Taking the last of my things to my car, I gave him a parting hug, and tried to assure him that I’d heard something about distant hearts growing fonder… I thought we had more time to heal and maybe relate on a deeper level. Instead, the time we had was while I lived there but it was squandered away largely because I allowed situations and others’ negativity to control me. When I saw him again the week after my 49th birthday, I did my not-so-best at trying to relate before the fogginess of pain meds took over. I can only hope it was enough for him to feel how much I loved him.
My Dad was a Christian. And not the fake type of Christian to sing in honor of Jesus’ goodness on Sunday and then turn around Monday hating on entire groups of people based on identifying attributes or worldly circumstances. He believed fervently in salvation and Heaven and a loving God who would welcome him home with open arms.
The truths that we tell ourselves are what give our lives and our ultimate deaths their meaning. My Dad’s primary truths were God, Family, Justice, and Music.
As I was saying goodbye, hoping to send my Dad into his beloved Heaven with the God he adored not just knowing that I loved him, but really feeling so, I heard my family crying. They sent him off in love with one of his favorite tunes. They told me that he formed a smile as he was fading into his eternal slumber.
Time stopped. He was gone and I still had an hour’s drive left.