A few words of comfort to anyone who has lost someone.
As the Covid-19 death toll tops 100,000, my heart is filled with words that I want to pass onto the people who are grieving their losses.
I hope my words will give some people a little comfort at least.
I survived 5 heart attacks, but not without some experiences that will stay with me forever. I have died twice.
A couple of times in my earlier life when someone close had died, I wondered what it felt like? I’d heard people talk about bright lights and life passing before your eyes, so I had supposed that must be true. But for me, it wasn’t.
At 36 years old, with 3 young children all under the age of 5, I didn’t have time to get a sore throat let alone 3 heart attacks.
But out of the blue, I found myself in a nightmare that was frightening, fast and dramatic. It felt like I was on a run-away train that was going too quickly and no-one was able to stop it. I couldn’t get off and I didn’t know where I would end up.
I knew I was dying, I could feel it. My body was starting to shut down. I was suffering from a catastrophic heart attack and the pain was colossal and unrelenting despite the drugs I had been given. My body, my chest felt like it was being ripped apart, slowly and continuously to conflict every last fibre of hurt possible. The pain was too much to bear. And I felt cold. I hate feeling cold.
Around me doctors and nurses were moving quickly, ‘dealing’ with me and my heart. I remember them gently manhandling me, turning me this way and that to attach probes, monitors and needles. I was aware they all had a job to do and it was like a choreographed dance.
The medics knew what they had to do, and in a way I knew what I had to do too. I knew I had to keep breathing. Somewhere along my nightmare journey, I’d convinced myself that if I just kept breathing I wouldn’t die. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. It was tedious, but I was determined.
I was in and out of consciousness but I was aware all the time of my state which was fighting to stay alive.
I didn’t panic and I wasn’t frightened at all which surprises me now looking back. Also I feel almost ashamed to admit that I didn’t think about anyone else, not even my children. I felt as though I was being removed from this world and moving onto the next. The only words I can use to describe the way I was feeling was within myself. By this stage, nothing that was happening around me had any bearing on my thoughts and feelings. I was just within myself. I was withdrawing from the world, well this world anyway.
Then, when I couldn’t take it any longer, I let myself go and the nightmare train journey I was on turned into a different journey completely.
Before, as well as the intolerable pain, I was cold and uncomfortable, now as I started to let go, I was more than warm. I felt like the blood in my veins was heated, comforting and flowing and filled me with the most heavenly feeling I have ever experienced. My body felt perfect, it simply could not have felt any better. I was the perfect temperature, in the perfect position, my chest felt lighter than light. Every last ounce of tension that I had been feeling just lifted off me. The word pain had no meaning. My mind, my thoughts, my feelings could only be described as free. I remember having an overwhelming feeling of freedom. It’s hard for me to explain these feelings now, using normal words and phrases, because it was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life only in my death. The only way I can try to explain it is literally carefree.
Anyone watching from the outside would be forgiven for only seeing the drama, the chaos, the apparent panic and pain, but I wasn’t aware now of any of this. I was perfect.
So, if you have lost someone you love, please be assured by my words. At the end, they would have been fine. The person you are grieving over would have felt nothing but freedom, warmth, comfort, love and absolutely no pain. The person that you are so painfully grieving, is not going through the same sadness. Their journey is peaceful, tranquil and perfect.
You might wonder what happened with my journey… Well after my moments in death, I was pulled back, the pain returned, the cold returned, the battled commenced and this is when I thought of my children. It is clear to me that at that point I needed to feel the pain to latch onto and bring me back to life. Letting myself go would not have been giving up, but at that time, it wasn’t my fate.
Something forced me back to life and I will be forever grateful.
My journey there and back again, has enriched my life and I wouldn’t change any of the events for the world.
Every single morning that I wake up from sleep becomes a marvel and miracle. When I look out of the window, I can see the whole world. I celebrate how lucky I am on a daily basis. I never wait for the big happy event, I celebrate every single little happy moment as it comes along because I know that’s what makes a happy life. I don’t sweat the small stuff, but I care deeply about the real stuff. I speak up when I believe in something and quietly try to let others have their opinions. I respect my body with great food, thoughts and movements.
Most importantly, having lived through this incredible journey, I still believe in the future. I know there are things that I cannot control, but I can always control how feel and react. I always believe that everything is going to be alright and although you are sad and in deep grief at your loss, you must think about the person that is no longer able to act on their beliefs and believe in the future too, because they are OK. They really are.
Sally Bee is a health & wellness coach who shares her experiences to help organisations and individuals overcome setbacks, develop resilience, maintain a positive mindset and introduce healthier ways of living – find out more on her page
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