When I was first admitted to hospital, Duncan was taken aside on two occasions to warn him that I was not looking good and to prepare him for me not surviving. I was completely unaware this was happening and completely oblivious that I might die. This experience has probably left me with a fear it might happen again and certainly there have been times subsequently where this fear has been quite acute and I have had a few panic attacks. This fear leads to feeling incredibly sad that I have not achieved everything I want to do or have potential for, should I die.
Whilst I have been used to thinking about death in my professional career, to face the reality for myself is quite shocking. I am only 59, by the way, so it feels very early, but the possibility of having another stroke which might kill me is a reality.
Val a very dear friend and therapist provided some very reassuring support. She suggested that my near-death experiences would be buried within my psyche and this is likely to emerge in the conscious mind with the feeling of dread that another near-death episode might occur. That made sense to me (a logical male response) and I found this to be very reassuring bringing great comfort and a lessening of the dread I felt.
Whilst perhaps not fearing the dying experience (any symptoms or pain should be controlled – if good palliative care is followed) I feel immensely sad that I have not achieved everything I have planned to do with the rest of my life. I also feel very sad about leaving Duncan other members of the family and some very dear friends behind. I was also looking forward to many projects and other work. I feel deep sadness about all of this, however, the corollary is that I will enter a new place in eternity. My faith has always been a tremendously important part of my life and now I am going to see it come to fruition. Many might have doubts and be skeptical about this but I live in hope that this is not the case for me, rather I will begin again with new freedom and life, or so I hope! This morning I got up out of bed had my shower and dressed all with the help of my carers, Simone and Duncan. I was able to choose what I could wear but I was not able to do much towards getting washed and dressed The thought of not being able to do much of this independently (because of my left hand paralysis), and many other activities for the rest of my life is distressing so maybe I am better off in eternity?
As I continue to reflect on these things, there is more to explore …. watch this space!