When I was twelve, I started to have some strange medical problems. I would pass out and turn blue. The first time my mother saw it happen, she thought I was faking it and holding my breath. Then it occurred to her that if I were holding my breath I would be red, not blue. I went to the doctor several times, and once had to wear a heart monitor for a few days, but no specialist could find anything wrong with me. Then one afternoon I was at the doctor’s office to get more blood drawn so more tests could be run.
As I stood up, the world fell away beneath my feet. I remember wavering and my mother looked back at me, and then I collapsed.
Even as I remember it, I can’t imagine how it looked to outsiders. From inside my body, it was very bright. I felt no pain or fear, but I couldn’t get up. I heard the doctors buzzing around me; I heard someone say that I had no pulse and no blood pressure; I remember that because that was the first time it really occurred to me that I was dead.
I had died on that floor out there. For no good reason, or at least a reason no doctors could find. I had passed out and almost instantly my lips and fingernails turned blue, and then the rest of me followed a minute later.
I don’t know how long they worked on me, but the brightness of my body began to flicker. It was like a city at night and then watching as the lights twinkled out, first in my fingers and toes, and then my shoulders, and the last to go was my heart.
At some point I was back, like a power surge that puts your house back online after briefly losing power.
Though I had died, I had no great knowledge to share with anyone about death. I saw no angels, no God, nothing like that. I only saw the city, darkening at the edges.
I think the point is that death is as meaningless as life. There is nothing waiting for us over there, just as there is nothing waiting here. The line is thin and black and easy to miss. One day you think you’re alive and you’re really dead. I suppose it could go the other way too.