Life Rebooted

Is there life after near-death?During the past 13 months, death has become one of the principal hallmarks of life. I don't mean my own death so much as the deaths of others, in particular those who continue to walk around as they always have, only with considerably reduced levels of enthusiasm.

I met such a man several months ago while travelling. He had recently returned from a business trip to Japan, where his circadian clock had been damaged by the time difference between here and there, there and here, and points in between. But after a period of day-sleeping interspersed with alarming doses of caffeine, he began to feel like himself again, for which I took him at his word, not knowing precisely what he felt like before we met, or after.

As he told me his story, this not-knowing gave way to maybe-knowing, followed by the familiar knowing-but-not-really sensation I've come to associate with having walked a mile in my own shoes, which isn't at all the same as lurching about in someone else's. Perhaps this lurching action was to blame for the uneasy feeling that began to take hold as he told me that, at some point in the past, he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, which had in turn prompted his decision to live life to its fullest before committing suicide. Considering he was the one telling the story, I could only assume that this hadn't worked out entirely as planned.

I was right about that, of course. He tried, twice, but the powers that be had other plans, prompting him to go to South America for non-traditional treatment, which apparently did away with the tumor. All's well that ends well, tragedy narrowly averted, and all that.

Not exactly. I've heard and read other stories along the same linesnear-death experiences, mostlyand the common thread is what happens afterward. It seems that life's trajectory is altered, but the exact direction is by no means clear. Whether this has to do with forgetting what was made obvious on the other side or a more fundamental shift in the individual's core, the result doesn't necessarily have a positive feel for the person involved.

In fact, it seems the end result may have more in common with a wandering, disembodied spirit than the joy one might expect from a second chance at life. Maybe it's just the predictable result of trying to return to old ways that seemed to work before, but will never work again.

Maybe it's just another ghost story.



  1. hey look, the sun's come up, guess i can put away my rusty old chains

    nice to see you out and about

  2. Hi Tom. Thanks for popping in.

    You may still need those chains, though. "Unsettled through the period," and all that.