Crossing Over Into Existential Crisis
Updated: Nov 20
Where do I even start? What can I say? I'm tired, hungry, and longing for the weekdays when come 11 a.m. it was just me and Bob Barker. A simpler time when these intrusive adult thoughts didn't cloud my mind and my judgment. Luckily, the Pluto channel allows me to slip back in time with good 'ol Bob.
Sorrow and grief are heavy amounts of misplaced love with no where to go and I'm kicking myself for not showing love more when my brother John was here. For not returning letters sent across the country, for not always answering phone calls or texts, for not visiting more, for not getting that stupid, fucking gold necklace he wanted so much weeks before he passed.
The second he crossed over, and the moments leading up to it, I'll never forget. Never. About 3:30 a.m., September 30th, while I lay in the reclining chair next to his bed, holding his hand, the lights above his bed flickered. Not once, not twice, but several times. Not in a row or in any particular pattern...just flicker... flicker... flick... flick...nothing.........flicker. It was then that I knew someone found him and had come to take him home.
Just before he took his last breath, I felt the Other Side come through in his eyes, and I have to think it's nothing to be afraid of. It's a new adventure, and dare I say, probably better than the one we're living here. New lessons, new feelings and experiences. We just have to believe that that moment will not be terrifying, that it will be pure love, it will be the door to a room opening—one that contains everything we've ever felt and more. I just have to believe that if we've done our level best in this life, and our karma is intact, we go peacefully.
I was rubbing John's head, telling him how loved he was, that he was my favorite brother, and it was okay for him to sleep. The last thing he said was "I love you." The lights flickered above his bed again, the nurse said, “He’s about to take his last breath”, then someone took him home at 5:08 a.m. After the nurse called time of death, I went into the hall and released a sound from the bowels of my soul--a noise and body convulsion I'd never heard or experienced before. I don't know what it's called but it shook every fiber of my being.
I believe (maybe a bit before this experience and definitely more so after) that when we die, we simply go home. That place I've felt below my chest and above my belly, that homesick feeling I can't quite articulate, comforting places I've been, de ja vus I can't explain...they're home. The home we return to. My brother…he's not dead. He's simply changed, metamorphosed. I think he's still trying to figure out what he is now. He's evolving. He's comprised of shooting stars, supernovas, and undiscovered planets. Only maybe he doesn't know it yet. He's a baby all over again, in a new "body" with a new universal contract. We're all gonna do it, right? Die? Why not do it with love, peace, and acceptance? Why not be the best person we can possibly be—always learning, growing, evolving? I'm trying and I try everyday. Some days I get shit right, some days I relearn the lessons.
Now, what I'm about to say may be small potatoes to some of you. Maybe you already knew this, but I wasn't raised with a healthy view of death. I was raised to fear death and fear not making it to a forever paradise if I didn't do one jealous God's bidding. Peace and acceptance with death was not instilled. My religious upbringing made me fear anything and everything leading up to death. I was told over and over that when I die, that's it. Kaput. I have no soul, I simply sleep until God wakes me if he decides to do so. It was the if that scared me.
I wasn't the only one raised this way. Before John's moment of peace came and he went home, there was fear in his eyes. How could there not be? One tyrannical religion's belief system pushed so far into a toddler's gray matter, only to affect their entire life, is inescapable. I keep thinking I should be passed this, should be healed by now, should be on the other side of fear living a life full of YES. But that's not how Witnesses do.
In fact, just outside my favorite brother's hospice suite, on the eve of his passing, another one of our brothers said, "I hope the next time we talk, you're back in the truth cuz it's gonna really suck when John is resurrected and you're not."
What I thought of saying was, "Stop it with that crap. I don't have time for your dogmatic nonsense, and you clearing your conscience before a spiteful Yahweh is none of my concern. I don't share those beliefs. I will not subscribe to fear-mongering. I'm sorry. I feel genuinely sorry for you because living life with that kind of theocratic fear, with all that US versus THEM ideology, is unthinkable to me. That you‘d forsake your own family and only show up for their death and a few precious moments before is deplorable. How dare you," but it wasn't an appropriate time to say all that. Instead, what I said was, "I understand. You've already told me this. I don't need or want anything from you."
He did call to apologize later and I did accept, all is fine now and sometimes we do/say things we wish we could take back in the heat of a moment. We're erring humans. No matter how hard I try or how many memoirs I write (two is it, fiction from here on out) this shit keeps coming back to haunt me and it interrupted the last few hours I had with a brother who understood all too well where I'm coming from. The apology was appreciated and I'm choosing to remember that more than how ugly religion is. Not spirituality—that can be beautiful. But religion. Religion is...not for me.