Yesterday I had a talk with my patient, Carolina. She always hugs me, and she likes to talk. Yesterday, as she often does, she reminded me that she had died twice and come back. She saw the light. She said she is no longer afraid of dying, she is sure that she will see God and that she will be ok. I can vouch for almost dying. I have been with her when these moments occurred – at least one of them.
Maybe she did see God or maybe her neurotransmitters were firing their last rounds. Maybe it is just a new experience after this one. When she told the story to me I didn’t get the heavy guilt-ridden feeling I sometimes get with these conversations. I didn’t feel a burden, a judgement. I got a picture of something new. I got a glimpse of being able to look at death without the shame I have always had – could never be good enough to die without going to hell. What was the use of hell again? Eternal punishment? I really just can’t believe in a hell like that or a heaven in which people, who take a ladder ride, are rejoicing with the knowledge of the eternal punishment happening at the same time to people who went down a chute. Carolina wasn’t speaking with the energy of someone who finally made it to heaven. She was just reporting that something else was going on after this stops going on. Something she liked. I felt good about that.
Bend Light will be showing a photo essay in Bend, starting this Friday at the TBD Lofts on Bond street, as part of the first Friday Art Walk. The photos will be up for a month, I think. I hope to see some of you there.
Bend, OR 2006, Nikon D100