What It’s Like To Almost Drop Dead

164833__dogs_l.jpgAbout eleven years ago, I almost died. I was about 5-10 minutes away (EMT’s words) from bleeding to death from a freak Final Destination-type ridiculous “like how could you possibly anticipate this?” accident.

In keeping with my life-coping skill of relating everything to the pop-culture I watch, it was also not unlike the below scene from Reservoir Dogs. In fact, it was not until many years later that I realized the person who helped me to the hospital was quoting actual lines from this movie—specifically singing, you’re going to be okay...

I wish I could say that some amazing life-changing thing happened to me as I was bleeding to death…that I saw a white light, that the voice of some wise deity spoke to me, that I had a sudden born-again type revelation. But none of those things happened.

As the drama went on around me, I was struck with how mundane I felt. I was excruciatingly lucid. The shock and panic wore off quickly, and everything just felt like another chore…waiting, being examined, being interrogated about insurance, etc. I was, in theory, kind of (fantastically, blood and guts everywhere) dying; but everything seemed to be reduced to procedure and paperwork.

The only real odd thing I have to report regarding my experience of the incident is that it was only two years later, at some random time window-shopping for shoes in Midtown, that the reality suddenly struck me: I had almost died. Honestly, that was the first time I actually dealt with that sobering fact. And then I had a sort of a panic attack in the middle of a busy Manhattan sidewalk, reevaluating my life choices, etc.

I do wonder though, sometimes…if it really did impact me more than I realize. Not the literal physical/mental trauma aspect of it—I mean, that’s a whole separate conversation.

What I’m trying to say is that…there seemed to be a very weird, almost “ritual” aspect to this accident. Maybe “ritual” is not the right word. Maybe it’s like…”initiatory.”


Because I can clearly see, from a shamanic point of view, what the inherent “meaning” and significance of this near-death experience was, within the context of my life at that point. This was the initiatory “ritual” of death and rebirth. It happened within days of Easter, too.

I can say I didn’t see the immediate impact of that incident on my life, but certainly my life started taking a weird 180-degree turn within months. Within a year, my life was completely different.

And lastly…I predicted this incident would happen. In the years leading up to this, I had very specific dreams indicating this future situation; containing details I couldn’t have possibly known. I was also obsessively writing, a year before, scenes containing imagery from this accident in a novel I was working on. It’s like…my subconscious already knew!

Now, what does this all add up to? Well if nothing else: it shows how I’ve used not only pop-culture but my spiritual beliefs to provide context and meaning to something that just as well may have no meaning in a rando universe.

The meaning is what we make of it. Except for the part where I predicted this; that’s some high-level spooky shit right there.

Anyway, so that’s my story about almost dying eleven years ago.