I have a story to tell. It’s not the usual story that unfolds here. It’s a story of meeting up with the inevitability of mortality.
As I lay on a stretcher in an ambulance barreling down I-81, sirens blaring at 9 o’clock on an ink-black night, I wasn’t thinking of literature. I wasn’t thinking of writing. All I could think of was how this could not be my rendezvous with Death. The EMT certainly thought it was, for she whispered to me, “What do you want me to tell your husband, you know, if … .” And she left unsaid what seemed to be the truth at the time.
Later, after a blur of days, after proddings and pokings in nearly all my orifices, I rode in the Cadillac of wheelchairs out of the hospital’s exit door. I understood, I think, the relief of a prisoner being released from confinement.
And later still, I thought about the close call I’d had with the Grim Reaper. Now that I could reflect, Emily Dickinson’s words flooded my consciousness:
Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And the only thought I wish to leave here tonight with you is this: Do what you love. Take time to enjoy your days. Let irritations and hate and other things go.
Blessings to you all.
© 2017 C. Bertelsen