Fear of Death


6 thoughts on “Fear of Death

  1. Fear of death as a motivator for all other activity. Interesting.
    However, this theory flies in the face of Epicurus and Lucretius teachings which pretty much say, why fear death? The world existed before you arrived, it will exist after, and nothing you do will change this. Why be afraid of something you cannot change? Perhaps its fear itself which we should be trying to eliminate. Fear even, of death.

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  2. I’m rapidly coming up on the 20th anniversary of my ‘Death’. OK, a Near Death Experience.
    And here’s why I’m not afraid of dying.
    I’m not sure how some of you are going to approach this one, but here’s my story.
    In October of 99, we were living in Del Norte Colorado. Our home was new in 1877 and we’d done a lot of work to it. The crowning achievement was when we added a master bedroom and bath to the second floor. Of course we moved into it before the exterior was done, so on the weekends, I’d hang siding and do what I needed to do.
    Well, on this particular Saturday, I drove my wife to work. The plan was I’d go get tires on her car, do the work I needed on the house, and that evening, we’d all pick her up and then go for supper. I’d gotten her tires, and was now working on the new addition.
    Now, tell me if you see this one coming. I had a 14 foot metal ladder. When trying to work up high (where I was doing most of my work), I discovered I needed a few more feet. So what does this guy with a genius IQ do? He gets the picnic table, puts the ladder on it, and works that way. Now the trouble was I worked most of the day this way without mishap. And finally, about 2 in the afternoon, I was working on the west side of the house. This was probably the most dangerous part of the job because directly under me were the powerlines that fed the house.My son, who had been helping me told me he had to go in and get ready for work and maybe I should come down. I told him to go ahead. I had only a few nails left to put in, so he went in.
    I was about eye level with the top of the ladder, and my last memory was to see it slide down against the wall. Blackout.
    I couldn’t open my eyes, but some part of me had already put the scenario togethter. The table had tipped , the ladder had probably hit the powerlines, and it had dropped me right on the ground. Oddly, I felt no pain. I just couldn’t open my eyes. And then I heard a man and a woman talking about doing CPR. “CPR!” I thought. “Dude, you’re in bad shape here.”
    I don’t know who long I drifted in that never land, but slowly I became aware that someone was with me. It felt no fear at this strange presence, only complete peace. It was almost like an old friend had pulled up a chair and sat down next to me. And then I became aware that we were looking at pictures from my life. It was like going through a scrapbook. I’d look at a picture, and whatever that scene was, it would play out, and then we’d go on to the next one. Some of what we looked at was cool, some of it wasn’t. I don’t know how long this took. It could have been 6 seconds. It could have been 6 million years. Either way, time had lost it’s meaning for me, but we reached a point where it was like I had to offer some explanation of what we’d just seen. Ray Boltz sang a song that had a line in it that went, “I plead the blood of Jesus, and his death upon the cross”. I heard myself say those words, and in that instant, it was as if the scrapbook was closed and tossed away.
    And then it was like I was lying in the backyard looking up at clear night sky. I’d never seen so many stars and I’m certain I could see right to the edge of infinity. And all at once those stars all exploded past me. In less time than it takes to say it, I’d crossed out Universe.
    And I found myself walking through a place. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of people there from every country. I heard languages I barely recognized, most I didn’t. And I was understanding every word. I remember thinking that the curse of Babel had been broken and these people were talking out of force of habit.
    And not only the language barrier was gone, but the barriers of individuality had dropped some. I could look at a person, and knew instantly everything there was to know about them. I walked on, overwhelmed by it all. The only thing I can compare it too is a major international airport minus the confusion one finds there. The place was so tranquil.
    But I didn’t know where I was, and I asked one of those question to myself that you never really expect to get an answer to. “Where am I,” I asked. I got an answer. Something told me that I was in a place where people who die a sudden death come. They come here to come to grips with the idea of being dead. I also got the distinct impression that now everyone who dies that kind of death comes here.
    And then, walking through the crowd, I saw Him. He was wearing jeans, a red in color shirt and a brownish-gold blazer and boots. His hair was shoulder length, a trimmed beard and He had a grin on his face. I’ve never seen this man in this world, but in an instant I knew who he was. It was Jesus.
    He walked up to me, stuck out his hand and said, “Rich, what are you doing here?”
    I took his hand and answered, “I took a bad fall. I think I’m dead!”
    And he actually laughed at me like it was some delightful joke. “Well, that’s what happens when you put a metal ladder on a picnic table over powerlines.” And then he turned serious. “Truth is, you’re here early. We’re not ready for you. I’m sending you back. But when you get back, tell everyone I love them’.
    And then there was no doubt in my mind that I wasn’t alive. There was nothing in me that didn’t hurt. And then what happened proved to me that God has a huge sense of humor. Had this been a movie, the hero of our story would have awaken to find a wizened old doctor taking care of him, or a beautiful nurse taking his readings, or his wife sitting in a chair by his bed crying. I opened my eyes and looked into the face of the ugliest cop in Del Norte. Obviously there was nothing wrong with my sense of humor, because I said, “Dear God, I’m dead and I’ve gone to Hell.”
    And then I passed out again only to wake up and find myself on the gurney being pulled across the yard by EMTs and local firemen. I asked how I’d gotten on the gurney, and they said they put me there which of course made perfect sense. Blackout, wake up, blackout, wake up. Dimly I was aware I was at the hospital, in ER, and somehow that was perfectly OK. I couldn’t seem to make my brain work. Some parts of my body also seemed to be non-responsive, but that was OK also. I remember asking a nurse if I was dreaming all this and she told me, no, it was all real. The statement I then made probably made no sense to anyone, but it describes perfectly how I felt. I remember touching my head with my hand and saying, “Now I know what a computer in the middle of bad boot feels like.” I remember some also asked me who did CPR on me. The only people home would have been my son and daughter, and so I reasoned they had.
    Somewhere in here, my wife Julie came in. I seemed to recall there was no way she could have been there, after all, I had her car. I later learned that her ex had gone screaming up into Creede to get her and take her to the hospital. I remember telling her about meeting Jesus.
    More fade ins and fade outs. I remember dreaming I was in X-ray and the tech was asking me to be still, and then in a hospital bed. Slowly I was starting to get a handle on what kind of shape I was really in. My hands were bandaged and the Doctor told me I had severe burns on them. My shins were also bandaged from blowouts where the electricity had come out of my body. Some told me I had soot coming out of my ears. My chest hurt terribly from the CPR and I had a distinct bruise in the shape of a palm right over my heart.
    Slowly I felt like I was coming more and more on line. My Daughter and Son-in-Law came in with my infant Grandson, Austin. They laid Austin next to me, and I remember he was having trouble holding his bottle. I tried to help but I couldn’t make my hands work properly. It was like I knew where the controls were, they just didn’t want to respond properly.
    The Doctor came in and said they were thinking about getting Flight for Life and and sending me up to Denver. I was on-line enough to start adding that cost up, Without insurance the cost would be astronomical. I said I’m not going to Denver and I’m not staying in the hospital. He then told my wife that I had severe brain damage as an end result of the electricity that had gone through me. As I said, there was nothing wrong with my sense of Humor (it seemed to be the only thing working at 100%) and I said you had to have a brain to be brain damaged and the stunt I pulled proved I didn’t have one.
    Dr. Hougue, apparently wanting me to convince myself said, “if you can follow that green line all the way to the end of the corridor and back without falling down and walk it straight, I’ll consider it.”
    I’ve ran ultra-marathons across deserts and plains, but that maybe 25 yard walk down and back took almost every ounce of energy and self-control I could muster. I got back to the starting point, feeling drained, but I forced myself to walk out to the van. I later learned that Dr. Hougue had told my wife that there was a distinct chance I’d be back and very real chance I’d die during the night.
    I don’t remember the ride home, not do I remember how I get to and was sitting at my place at the counter. What I do remember was I was eating of all things, a Mr. Goodbar. Apparently I’d been talking about how much I wanted one.
    My Son-in-law had stopped at the store and purchased a ten pack of them. I thought I was still on my first one. Turned out I was on number 6.
    I don’t know what it was. I don’t know if was the sugar rush or what, but all at once, everything just came on. I looked over at Crystal and Gerald and said, “You guys did a good job.”
    “Good job of what,” they asked, confused.
    “Doing CPR,” I explained, and then I got the rest of the story.
    “We never touched you,” they answered and went on to explain. Gerald had just entered the house when heard the ladder fall and the lights all went out. Crystal had been taking a shower, getting ready to go with me to pick up mom. Gerald ran out and said when he saw me, I was lying on my side, the ladder on top of me, and foam and blood was coming out of my mouth.
    So what does this future Green Beret do? He runs in screaming for Crystal, and was frantically trying to dial 911. But we had this phone system where they were kind of dependent on the house current to work and they were down. He ran across to the neighbors.
    Crystal jumped out of the shower, threw some clothes on and ran out. Her description of where I was, was different from Gerald’s. She said I was no lying on my back, the ladder was at my feet, and even my tool belt was off and lying next to it. She said I was sucking in air like I’d just surfaced from the bottom of the ocean.
    “But I heard a man and a woman talking about doing CPR. If you guys didn’t . . .”
    “Dad, no one was there.”
    Of course when the EMTs and firemen were taking me to the ambulance on the gurney, the who neighborhood seemed to have exploded out to see what happened. Later, many described an older man and woman there that no one seemed to know.
    The story has an interesting after note. A few weeks later, we went to a school function with the kids. Suddenly this guy comes up to me crying his eyes out. He introduced himself as one of the EMTs that day. “Man,” he said. “You’re not supposed to be here.”
    But I am, and I’m thankful. I’ve been blessed with an incredible life.
    And before I post this, Remember, God loves you.

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