On my mind…


images-1Some days my brain gets stuck on autopilot. Little deviation from life’s routine. I’m not complaining. This is the reality for many of us. A few days back something pushed me out of my neutral setting. In the midst of a serious discussion about death, specifically what will ultimately take us from this world, the person I was speaking with suddenly stopped. Stopped everything – listening, speaking, moving. Mind you this is an elderly gentleman with  mild health problems. For several moments I was in a state of semi-shock, wondering if I was being punk’d or if a higher being had tapped into our conversation and was providing us with an immediate answer.

After squirming in my chair (leaning forward to see if my friend’e eyelids or mouth showed any signs of movement) I finally approached his bed. A faint sound brought immediate relief – he was breathing. Still feeling spooked because this had never happened before, I grabbed the TV remote control and lowered the volume. Stop reading now if riding on the crazy train makes you feel woozy. 

The setting. The conversation (which I didn’t initiate). The sudden narcoleptic crash of my elderly friend (which had never happened before). It was strange. It was comforting. I believe that there are many things we don’t understand or we dismiss because they don’t fit what we are conditioned to believe is normal. That moment in the room felt like a warm hug. A gentle answer that my friend would have peace when that day arrived.

A short time passed before my friend woke up. His first words to me: “I’ve been thinking about your question – whether I’m anxious about what will eventually cause my death.” His answer after much thought (apparently when he was sleeping) was ‘no’.  We continued our discussion. It was uplifting for both of us. No anxiety. No reluctance.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog there is something special about being in the company of people like my elderly friend. Lessons about dying fascinate me as much as lessons on how to live. I haven’t slipped back into autopilot since that afternoon. I’m grateful for that day. For that conversation.

This probably sounds odd and mildly presumptuous, but I hope everyone has that kind of experience at least once in his/her life. It lifts you. Changes you in small ways.

The crazy train is coming to a stop. Next time I’ll serve appetizers:-)


4 thoughts on “On my mind…

  1. TERRY, back in the day I was known to enjoy an occasional trip upon the rails of the crazy train ….. My preferred libation du jour while commuting down to Old Cape Cod often times would be a bourbon Manhattan. Your oldest sister had a college classmate named “BUM” who happened to tend bar on the choo-choo and did she make a strong drink. With fondest memories, I recall a trip to the Cape during the Summer Olympics, 1980 (?), and getting stinko-shifado on Mamosas ! Ah, those were the days my friend …..

    • Speaking of crazy and riding the rails…how ’bout a little Arlo to kick start your day:

      Dealin’ card games with the old men in the club car.
      Penny a point ain’t no one keepin’ score.
      Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
      Feel the wheels rumblin’ ‘neath the floor.
      And the sons of pullman porters
      And the sons of engineers
      Ride their father’s magic carpets made of steel.
      Mothers with their babes asleep,
      Are rockin’ to the gentle beat
      And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.

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