This entry is probably going to startle those that know me well.
Those that know me know that I’m a spiritual person, but a logical one at the same time. I carry a certain amount of cynicism about religion and “faith”. There are many many reasons for this…all of which would be an interesting entry in itself, but I’m not going to go into those now.
I never hold “faith” against anyone, in fact I admire those with it despite all the challenges this world throws at them.
I’m also always EXTREMELY skeptical of people who claim they’ve “been to the other side” or had “near death experiences” etc. It’s just my nature.
That being said, I had an “interesting” experience during my last surgery.
Taking a step back here, about a month ago I purged a tiny kidney stone over the course of a couple of days. It was about 1mm large .
Now, anyone that has had a kidney stone knows that what I just typed is laughable. ANY sized stone feels like a boulder and is pain incarnate. But I was able to pass that one and having had a stone about 15 years ago I QUICKLY flashed back in to “Oh yeah, this pain!” mode and knew what was going on. I went to my doctor and he said let’s see if you can pass it.
I went to my doctor and he said “Let’s see if you can pass it. ”
Mona would have been proud…I went to my doctor.
So I passed it and I thought I was in the clear.
Well, as it turns out, the “little stone” was part of a much larger Mothership stone soon to be dubbed as Kidney Stone Rick (after Rick and Morty fame).
Flash forward about 4 days and I was in the emergency room in even MORE pain that I had experienced before and after a few hours and a CT Scan I find out that I’ve got a 10mm (1cm) stone PLUS two additional 6mm stones hanging out waiting for their exit times as well.
Spent the night in the hospital for fluids and pain meds and saw my doctor / surgeon in the morning. Good news
“We’ve got the best center on the West Coast in Los Gatos for this procedure. The latest machines, the best tech.”
“There are two techs at this center…one retired last week and the other is on vacation for two more. And I really prefer using a tech I am familiar with, especially for a stone of this size.”
So I was looking at 3 weeks before removal.
Plan A was to grin and bear it to the surgery date. I felt ok now..maybe the stone had settled..etc. It was too large to pass so it couldn’t enter the urethra.
12 hours later I was back in the emergency room discussing Plan B.
Plan B involved going under and getting a temporary stent put in to keep the stone from causing me pain.
So a few days later I went in to get the stent in. The emotions of that day are another entry all together…but the detail from this day that is important to THIS one is that I went under, fade to black, felt like 30 seconds, wake up and was done.
Your typical anesthesia story if all goes well, and all did go well.
Fast forward a couple weeks to my next surgery and it was almost like a replay.
Get to the center, get prepped for surgery, answer 10,000 questions again, get rolled back to the actual operating room, the mask goes on, fade to black, and wake up.
Except this time. It was very different.
This time it didn’t go to black…it went to another…well…place…
The only way I can describe this place is it was a “Room of Gold”…and by gold I don’t mean the element…I mean…the “color”.
It wasn’t shiny. It wasn’t gaudy. It was just a space….like gold mist.
And in this place…I could feel Mona.
And then I could “see” her…only it wasn’t really seeing her because she wasn’t present in a typical form…I could “see” her in my minds eye here and the combination of that minds eye and the “presence” of her combined to make me recognize her instantly. In my minds eye she was radiant…like the days when she was happiest right after Miriya was born. No cancer. No worries other than what we were going to do to raise this new life we had brought into the world together.
There were no words in this place. But I could understand her. She was letting me know it was ok. It was all ok. Everything was ok. The reassurance was for lack of a better word ..magical.
There was no smile or look on her face. She was just there. At peace. And bringing it to me.
All my life I’ve had this dialogue in my head…noise in my head…a “processing” sound if you will…noise that fills my head as I move thought to thought. Sometimes that noise turns to anxiety (a lot of times actually). Sometimes worry. Sometimes it allows me to focus and I can harness that noise to fuel my creative side or buckle down for a project at work to get it done….but it’s always there.
And in this place it wasn’t there. The noise was gone. It was silent. Muted.
No worry. No anxiety. Absolute and total peace.
I think of this and it makes me cry.
I’ve never experienced this feeling. I can’t convey in words just how this place just completely relieved me of sadness, worry, anger…any of the toxic stuff that this world has brewed up in me.
I cant put into words how absolutely paradigm changing experiencing this was for me.
And Mona was there.
And my sister Kristen was there.
And my Nana was there.
I felt them. And others. Lots of others. So many others that in retropect I think maybe the golden “fog” that comprised this place was actually these others. Each little spec of “fog” a presence.
I absolutely felt them around and in me, letting me know that everything was OK. It was all OK.
I felt nothing but gratitude and love. All around me, like the “gold” was the embodiment of these feelings. A soft warm blanket all around me that felt like it does when you hug someone you love so much you never want to let go.
That feeling was the entirety of this place.
There was no time in this place. It wasn’t a factor. So I can’t describe how long I was there because it felt like the blink of an eye and eternity at the same time. This has perplexed me since that day to be honest…all the paradoxes this place has challenged me with back here in this existence.
I was sitting yet there was no chair. But I “felt” like I was sitting…but there weren’t “things” in this place. Just being. Just presence and love and peace.
I’ve never experienced anything even remotely close to this.
I began to pull away from the place, and yet there was no sadness, no fear, no longing for a good bye…there was just love…trailing me as I pulled back and away…
There was no good bye, there was just this feeling of reassurance and love coming from Mona and the others I was moving away from. Their radiance never wavered even as I got further and further away. Like the warm sun on my face.
And then I was lying on a hospital gurney…tears in my eyes.
My nurse asked me who I was talking to. I was groggy and my mouth wouldn’t work. She figured this out and gave me a few moments. She asked if I was in pain after a short wait and I managed to say
And she said you kept saying “I’m OK, I’m OK” and I saw you were crying so I thought you might be in pain.
I was absolutely the opposite.
I had been with Mona again. This wasn’t a dream. This wasn’t fading from my memory. This happened. The details…the feeling….the sheer POWER of this in my head.
I was with her. And my sister….and my Nana…and others who came to let me know it was OK. They were OK.
I know just how crazy this sounds…I’ve been debating writing this entry because I think it might make people think I’ve completely gone the plaid.
I’m sure there are a million explanations for this. Scientific ones. Mystical and faith based ones. A combination of the two. If I hadn’t been the one experiencing this I’d probably be offering up one of those explanations.
All I know is I felt so much love and peace in this place that it has given me strength to get through the past few weeks. Maybe longer.
So I’m going to just let it ride and not question or try to analyze…I’m going to try and squelch that dialogue and force it to let me have this one thing without cynicism or self judgement.
I was there. And so was she.
Someday I may be there again.
With all of them.
Maybe that’s too much to wish for.
But it’s something.