Then, most beautiful of all my experiences was death; incredible love inviting me, enticing me to join with it, and I did. Being absorbed by the light was an indescribably ecstatic experience. It took a long time after that to appreciate the mundane: life.
Somehow the bone cancer changed all that. The exquisite torment of pain searing through my body altered my perception, into being more completely....................... I don’t know how to describe it. There is no walking away from that kind of suffering, unless massive doses of barbiturates are given.
Morphine may be beautiful to others, but not to me. I made the choice to live with pain instead of being uncontrollably psychotic. Sometimes the pain became so severe that it carried me out, high above my body, floating in my own endorphin induced euphoria.
Entering the hospital in the dead cold winter, I spent seven months isolated from the world confined to bed, unable to move without someone else doing it for me. Two beautiful things saved my life, back then; one, my little brother brought me out of the brink with a gift of music. Two, my little sister brought her healing hands to massage me until I was able to stand and walk again.
Returning home that summer, I rediscovered the world in a new way I’d never known before. Every tree, every leaf, every blade of grass, every dewdrop, every glint of sunlight, moonlight, every pebble strewn in the soft powdered dust of every pathway took upon a living presence. Life had become gloriously majestic, holding incredible fascination for me. I felt as though I had previously led my life, like a Helen Keller and could now miraculously experience things from a new perspective. I was brand new. And the world was vibrantly alive. Was it the bone cancer, the drugs, the near-death experience? I didn’t know and I didn’t care. I‘m sure it was distracting for my family and friends whenever I let out a whoop of appreciation for some wondrous sight, or suddenly pulled the car off the thruway to run into a field of wildflowers or wildly sob while making love. But, I have mellowed out since then.
The black clouds of depression have returned to haunt me several times. It has never entirely eclipsed my appreciation of beauty. But, sometimes, it has quite heavily obscured it. I have had several brushes with death. I used to joke it was my companion. I have died twice more. After the second death, I craved to die again and often had to deal with my suicidal tendencies wanting to be embraced in total beauty forever. But, this last death experience 3 years ago taught me that the beauty is right here, right now, within me every moment and around me all the time.