Does the mid afternoon sunshine cause you to pause and reflect as you watch the particles of dust before you float around in the sun’s rays? I can remember how it suspended my thoughts to this higher consciousness since I was around five years old. I specifically recall one event. My aunt and grandmother would sometimes take me on day trips, often to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. On the drive home, one particular trip, I distinctly remember thinking as the sun shined through the car window and into my face, this is all going to pass before you so quickly and will be gone faster than you can imagine. Then I remember feeling sick to my stomach, that sinking feeling that sometimes lies in truths.
In retrospect, that’s pretty deep for a five-year-old. I knew then that life was fleeting, and that one day I’d be all grown up and that one day my grandmother would die, and that one day everyone else would too. But in that moment, a time when I was far away from death or illness, it felt like death was something that happened to other people, not my relatives. I believed this half heartedly hoping it was true like how older children still believe in Santa Clause, well, kind of, but know he’s a myth. I experienced this feeling of living in a realm of immortality until of course, the day I was woken up by an early morning phone call telling me that my grandmother had cancer, it was that day I could no longer ignore the imminence of death.
Even after she died, and I was in my early twenties, I felt the same sense of immortality. It wasn’t until I sprained my wrist, my first injury ever, that I began to realize how fragile my life was. And of course, there’s nothing like a brush with Death to make you realize how quickly a life could be taken. When I talk about Death, I am not talking about it in the verb form as inthe act of dying. I am literally talking about Death himself, The Grim Reaper.
The Grim Reaper has long been described in historical texts from all cultures in one form or another. Usually the Angel of Death appears as a darkly cloaked being that sometimes has skeletal features. Often he is depicted as carrying a scythe, which traditionally is a tool used by farmers to reap their grains. The Grim Reaper’s scythe isn’t used to harvest wheat, rather it’s used to sever the bond between the body and soul.
Although I am one to believe in angels and ethereal type of being, it never occurred to me that the Grim Reaper might actually exist. Even though I had a brief encounter with him, I didn’t think twice about it until last week when I was reading Rei Momo’s post in which she describes almost dying during childbirth. As her life began to slip away, she recounts,
“In the corner of the room, my third eye picked up a creature I’d never seen before. It was Death, I knew. The beekeeper-mask-wearing entity stood facing east with an unnatural stillness. Understanding how easily I could slip away, I became terribly frightened. Looking over my shoulder to the baby on the bed, I had to make a decision. So I did. Only I could raise that baby. Only me, I told Death.”
I too indirectly had an encounter similar to Rei’s. A few years ago, I almost died from pneumonia. For days I lay in bed untreated- nobody knew how sick I was. I was in so much pain both physical and emotional. One morning my mother was woken up out of a deep sleep. She thought it was me that had awoken her, so early in the morning, but when she opened her eyes, it wasn’t me but a black cloaked figure standing in her room. When she told me about this encounter I was completely freaked out, because that morning around the time of her vision, feeling so weak and tired, I had been thinking about giving up and dying.
Like in Rei’s experience, a close encounter with Death himself really illustrates the human will, and how it is best not to think like that unless you’re serious about dying. Although, deaths warm slumber began to wash over both Rei and I in our states of exhaustion, we were quickly motivated to get a grip on our priorities when The Grim Reaper himself made an appearance. My mother’s nervous retelling of her morning visitor prompted me to take a ride to the closest emergency room almost immediately.
It all goes back to thoughts becoming things and being careful what you wish for, although premature death is often avoidable, every day there are new cases of people blindsided by a diagnosis and various accidents. I have seen twice the power of putting it out there, a death wish. One teenager in my area who was responsible for several serious car accidents inevitably had one accident that took his life and a few others. Of course people memorialized him both at the scene of the accident and on Facebook. As I looked through his Facebook memorial, one picture of him will forever be burned into my memory, in the picture he smiled at the camera and wore a T-shirt that said, “Live fast, die fun.”
Then there was an acquaintance of mine. This person I had very strong feelings for and although he asked me out several times I declined. He was a gorgeous model and always had a new girl or two on his arm, and I needed something more monogamous. I will never forget the day that I heard about his death in a car accident where speeding may have been a factor. Immediately his latest tag line from his Myspace page flashed into my mind, “Death, I’m ready for you, come and get me!”
Are these two incidents a coincidence? I never thought so. Is the being Rei and I both experienced a coincidence as well? Definitely not. All of these examples prove that there are forces out there who are certainly listening to every word we mutter, fleeting thoughts and desires alike. All these examples prove one thing, that our words and thoughts must be regarded with serious fragility, bubble wrapped, and stored properly.
Recently while doing a reading someone asked me, “Will I live a long life?”
I was surprised by this question, you would think it was common question asked in psychic readings but I never got this one before nor would I think of asking it. I paused to think well will you? When faced with Death would you stay or would you go?
The choice is not always yours, but sometimes it is, like when Rei and I both had the opportunity to check out and we stayed. Living a healthy life and thinking positively should give you little reason to live in fear of the reaper for the time being. And if you haven’t been living a very healthy or positive life, starting now may make a world of difference.