Thursday, 19 August 2010
As a youngster I suffered from regular, recurring, abstract, nightmares.
It was always, always the same thing.
It started with a thin black line in the centre of a beige page.
It sat there motionless, seemingly innocent and harmless, but suspense would grow the longer it sat there inactive, for I knew what was to follow.
After a few minutes it started to twitch.
Slowly at first, irregularly, following incongruent sequences, like a dialysis machine or heart monitor. Then it would gradually build up into more frequent, sporadic and random jerks and loops, until it moved extremely quickly and violently, resembling spaghetti - alive and distressed, a black mass of erratic scribbling, as if someone was drawing chaotically and pointlessly, perhaps whilst blindfolded.
I’d wake, in a hot sweat, and punch the wall, hoping the pain would keep me awake.
It may sound stupid, it is stupid, but it was absolutely terrifying.
The tension eased somewhat, after a couple of years, when I started a new set of recurring dreams about death and/or dying.
A night’s sleep would not pass without a family member, friend or more often myself perishing in some horrible way.
My own demise seemed set to be by drowning, and therefore a painful struggle for oxygen became a regular feature of my late evenings/early mornings.
I guess you could say that I’ve been prepared for death my whole life - I’ve seen it happen to me so many times before.
But I'm no longer scared of drowning, because something strange happened.
I was alleviated of that particular millstone one night in Canada, when I dreamt I was floating in the middle of the lake in the picture above (Lake Louise, Banff National Park).
It was such a pleasant night, and I was very much enjoying myself, just floating about. I could see each and every star in the sky and there was crystal clear silence to accompany the predictably crystal clear water. The only sound made available to my partly submerged ears was the occasional lapping or splashing of water via the gentle movements of my hands and feet.
Then it happened.
I gave up.
Just let go.
I was so happy as I began to quietly drift underwater. There was no kicking or bezerk jerky thrashing for air. No clawing for the surface, no wide-eyed panic or gargled desperation.
It was wonderful.
I didn't fight it, I just slipped away peacefully.
I have never enjoyed 'dying' so much, before or since.