My husband and I enjoy going out to brunch with my mom and step-dad. After one such occasion, when we returned to Mom’s, the guys went upstairs to play on the computer while Mom and I stayed downstairs. Later I took my leftover steak out of Mom’s refrigerator and took a big bite of it.
As I tried to swallow, I realized that the steak was lodged in my throat. I couldn’t swallow, nor could I breathe. When Mom realized that I was choking, she began pounding on my back and yelling for my step-father to come downstairs — NOW! But the men thought that what they were hearing was loud laughter.
In the midst of the confusion, I thought:
“So this is what it feels like to die…”
Then, just as I was starting to feel faint, I coughed and the meat popped out.
My poor mother was upset and angry at my step-dad for not heeding her call, which was, of course, understandable. But, he would have flown downstairs, had he realized what was happening. After a while, everyone had calmed down, cleaned up the mess, and no one was mad at anybody anymore. I felt emotional for the rest of the night, though, thinking of my husband having to tell our kids, daughter-in-law, grandkids and dear friends that I had gone to meet my Maker.
So today, I visited the Blessed Sacrament at church and thanked God for saving my life. I felt such a peace kneeling before my Lord and Savior. I also realized that dying is peaceful, and I am no longer afraid of passing from this life to the next.
Everything looked brighter today. I was grateful for everything — God, air, my religion, the Eucharist, my beloved husband, our children and grandchildren, my parents and siblings, our friends, our pets, blue sky, chocolate, freedom, green grass, everything.
Life is a gift!
“Nothing invests life with more meaning than the realization that every moment of *sentience is a precious gift.”
-Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
*Sentience is the capacity to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively. Eighteenth-century philosophers used the concept to distinguish the ability to think (reason) from the ability to feel (sentience).