By Wayne T. Dowdy
“He died. He fell out on the yard with a heart attack and had turned blue by the time the medical department got to him,” a friend said about Frank B.
Yesterday, after I began writing this blog, I saw Frank B. in the library. He let me read his medical reports, which showed he survived sudden cardiac death on New Year’s Eve of 2016. Frank and I have been friends for over two decades and is someone I know to be honest and straightforward. According to Frank, ten years ago a doctor said he’d be lucky to survive another year because he had one-hundred percent blockage in four arteries, and that it was a miracle his heart worked at all without those four arteries.
BEATING THE DEVIL: The first time I saw him after he had survived the last heart attack, I patted him on the back and said, “You beat the devil one more time, my friend.”
He smiled and then said, “Yeah I did.”
After allowing me to read his medical report, he told about a bright light experience. “I saw two doors, one was a glowing, bright white, and the other one a fiery red.”
That made a good story to support this blog topic. He didn’t make it through either door. He confessed to me the next day that he was joking and hadn’t seen anything. “It was a scary thing, I’ll tell you,” he said.
His medical reports were legitimate. He had died and been revived. Oh, well, the two-door-story would have made a good story if true. I liked the concept of Good & Evil, Hot & Cold, Heaven & Hell. I do believe in life after death. I had my own experience to assure me it is true.
ANGELS AND A CARD: In the experience I wrote about in “A Prisoner and a Poem for a Princess,”* I became convinced that life existed beyond the obvious–life as we know it in this World. One part of the essay is “A Card From an Angel.” The circumstances surrounding that card convinced me that our spirits live on once the body expires and stops its transportation service for the earthly existence. But you need to read the essay to learn about the message the card contained that convinced me we live to fight another day on different battle grounds.
The last part of that sentence I added for literary reasons. I am not aware of any fighting after our spirit exits the body. No more jokes for this blog!
WRITING WITH PURPOSE: In my prose, I write about personal experiences and express my views and feelings to open the doors of my life, in hope that my writings will impact the reader and somehow help them along this journey of life. ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN contains meaningful experiences. One essay is “The Search for Enlightenment.” I chose an excerpt from that essay for the synopsis on the collection: The part I used for the synopsis begins the quote below.
As a child I was suicidal. I went from wanting to die to fighting to live. In 1978 I almost met my Maker several times because of the lifestyle I lived. One incident that I am fortunate to have survived, related to my addiction to mind-altering substances and my attempts to achieve the ultimate high, without crossing the Line of No Return, not really caring if I died during the process. The excerpt comes from an experience where I came close to death. If I had pushed the syringe’s plunger a fraction of an inch more to get a few more milligrams of pharmaceutical cocaine hydrochloride, it would have busted my heart. God preserved my life in that and many other experiences. Today I live without using drugs or alcohol and offer to help others do the same; it gives my life meaning.
FIGHTING TO SURVIVE: The selected excerpt follows an event I wrote about, where I played chemist by mixing three drugs in search of the elusive tranquility-and-euphoria-mix to make everything feel right. After doing too much of the mixture, I injected liquid Demerol to keep from dying.
“My Salvation came in the form of a concept: fighting poison with poison; the same as using Cobra or Rattlesnake venom to save someone bitten by one of the vipers. I was the viper-bitten by itself.”
It’s amazing how near fatal experiences can give one a desire to live when such a desire did not exist before the experience. When living, I used to lose interest in life and then go on sprees capable of causing death. When faced with death I fought to live: a paradox of my existence. I lived hard but have yet to die young. Perhaps, I’m running out of time for that one. Since I am now in my mid-fifties, maybe I’ve already outran that cliche (“Live Hard, Die Young”). If Enlightenment has come along the way, perhaps I missed it, or else it came in secret. I have had those moments of clarity during meditation where I suddenly felt a part of everything; experienced a sense of “Oneness,” in tune with the whole Universe and beyond, suddenly aware of my existence and the realization that it didn’t matter to the world if I lived or died, but Enlightenment, I don’t know.
Coincidently, I felt important by knowing I was “Here” for a reason, even though I did not know what that reason was and still don’t! At that moment, it didn’t matter if I lived or died because I knew I would be okay either way, and yet, I did not want to die. All I wanted was “To Be”; To be in Harmony with all living things, at peace with my environment; to be at peace with the “Man in the Mirror,” and then I was okay being nobody, somebody special, or just another body. Life become joy. I became alive! Alive, content being Here, although still insignificant to the world, my life no more meaningful than a Jaguar roaming the jungle, or a Tarpon chasing its prey through the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or the fish about to be the Tarpon’s meal, I was okay. Nothing else mattered; the material value of life had disappeared. I had entered the spiritual realm of existence. Freed from EGO, physical properties were meaningless. With no material or emotional attachments anchoring my spirit, all was well, no resentment or self-pity to poison me; accepting each element of existence equal: each valuable, yet, equally insignificant. I was OK. Enlightened, though? Don’t think so.
Now I wonder about Karma. …..”
MORE ON THE SEARCH FOR ENLIGHTENMENT: I conclude the essay with this:
“Whatever is bestowed upon me, I am okay with however this thing called life ends or begins with the next journey. Each day is a gift, because I know there is no physiological explanation for my existence. When the viper struck with its massive shots of venom, I know I should have died, many times over. For over twenty-five years I acted insane by doing such things, but I am still here. I am here because I am supposed to be. When I accept everything as the way it’s supposed to be, or as it was supposed to have been, then I am blessed with serenity. Life is good today.
Suicide is not an option or the solution. I am convinced that I can’t go until it’s my time, anyway, so why try to rush the process? I get high on life these days without drugs or alcohol. I’m okay without them. That was then, this is now.”
If you like what you read above, read the rest of the story in “The Search for Enlightenment,” as part of the collection in ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN, Midnight Express Books ($8.95). Available from your favorite bookstore, eStore, or from StraightFromthePen.com. EBook available as Reader Sets Price from Smashwords.com, $4.95 from other eBook retailers. “The Search for Enlightenment” may be purchased as an individual essay for $0.99 in eBook format only.
I chose the above topic in memory of my Mother who passed onto the next phase of existence on January 16, 2016. Her spirit lives forever. She loved to fish before dementia took control of her life. She still remembered fishing until electroconvulsive therapy damaged her memory and the ability to speak without garbled words. I’ve written an essay to share with the world about the process I feel accelerated her deterioration: “Euthanized With Love.” I plan to submit the essay for publication to various International magazines to help prevent the same thing from happening to another person’s loved one. If no magazine accepts the essay for publication, I will self-publish it because the information it contains will benefit those dealing with end of life choices.
Perhaps Mother is swimming with tarpons and porpoises, splashing water to create a rainbow of colors in the Sun as she moves on to where spirits go. Whether it’s called Heaven, or not called anything at all, wherever her spirit roams, I hope she finds comfort and peace over the horizon. Maybe she rides atop of Tornados she feared in her humanly form.
* ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN contains “A Prisoner and a Poem for a Princess”; read the essay for free in eBook format from Smashwords.com and other eBook retailers. “The Lonely Spirit,” included in the collection and available as an individual eBook, is the only short story that I wrote along similar lines about life beyond the ordinary, based upon my experience in “A Prison and a Poem for a Princess.”