Miss Betty nearly drowned when she was twenty-six-years old, in a little pond.
“I’d never learned how to swim,” she said. “God, It was like fighting the strongest gravity. My bodyweight just kinda sucked me under.”
Betty lost consciousness.
“All I can remember,” she said. “Is that I was somewhere else, in my mind and body. I didn’t see anything spectacular. But I did feel like I was leaving one place, going to another. Does that makes sense?”
“I heard someone talking to me. Only, it was saying stuff in MY voice.”
It was saying, “It’s gonna be alright, Betty.”
Next, meet Phillip, he’s seventy-nine years young this July, and he talks with a Carolinian drawl so thick, it smells like possum pie.
“I KNEW I was going to die,” Phillip said. “I mean, I knew it was my time. The doctor told me flat-out, ‘Phillip, you’re gonna die.'”
He went home and vomited himself to sleep.
Phillip refused medical treatment, hoping to live out his final days without hair-loss or bone-crushing nausea. And he started spending his money like a man whose face was on fire. He sold his things and bought an RV.
The nice kind with a walk-in shower and camouflage seat-covers.
Together, Phillip, his wife, two dogs, and one cat, traveled the length of the U.S. visiting every single national park. It took a year. When they finished, they hit Canada—though I’m not sure why.
“We watched the sunset over the Grand Canyon,” said Phillip. “That’s when I just knew, no matter what happened, things’d be alright.”
That was fifteen years ago.
His doctors still can’t explain where his cancer went.
Anyway, right now my friend is in ICU—her body, freshly sewn back together. After a series of complications, she’s going under the knife again to get a pacemaker. God only knows what kinds of atrocities go with heart tune-ups.
I suppose the reason I’m writing this is because when she recovers, she’ll probably read it.
And, because nobody tells you that being alive means being terrified at times. The fear works its way into your body like a head-cold. Next thing you know you’re packed so full of snot you can’t breathe.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: I’m pulling for you, and so is everyone else. And I believe that no matter what happens—even if a doctor cuts through your sternum with a surgical-grade tablesaw,
It’s going to be all right.
Get well, Donna.