I’ve almost died … twice
Both times, I was under the knife for what should have been straightforward surgical procedures: a tonsillectomy and an appendectomy. Both experiences changed me profoundly. How? I’ll share that with you in future posts.
I’m reopening the confessional category of my site, My history as a so-called writer, with a series that might strike you as a little morbid. It’s about death and how it’s shaped my life. Originally, this was to be a two-part guest post on Monique Liddle’s Bends in the Road, but since them it’s metamorphosed into something a little bigger, and I hope, better.
Yes, I’ve had a couple of near-death experiences, and my father and grandparents have all passed, leaving their marks on my heart and soul, but I’m not just talking about actual death here. Mental illness and addiction, which I think of as two kinds of personality assassination, have also had their affects on me and my family.
If the ‘you-who-wants-to-live-in-this-world’ dies, even metaphorically, how can that be any better than actually dying? It’s a question, I believe, that leads many to the depths of depression and suicide, which may seem like the logical conclusion of such ruminations.
I’m starting this series with Bell’s Let’s Talk initiative in mind as well as my impending personal season of sorrow: my father’s birthday, the anniversary of his admission into the hospital for what proved to be his ultimate decline, the anniversary of his death and funeral, followed by Father’s Day.
I also thought this was a timely topic after listening to Michael Enright’s interview with Bob Ramsay last Sunday on CBC’s The Sunday Edition. Bob died on the operating table, but didn’t have the typical near-death experience that most people report. In fact he didn’t remember much of anything at all. You can visit the link above, see some listener response, and listen to the podcast yourself.
Finally, I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. I picked it up on the recommendation of a friend and have been reading through it. It’s a little slow going for me, since I’ve gone through some of what she writes about in my own way previously, and because I just can’t relate to some of the other experiences that she writes about. I hope to share some of my insights on happiness throughout this series as well.
On that note, this past week, I read Justine Musk’s blog post on the pursuit of happiness. I think she has some valid points.
My encounters with death (physical and spiritual) have informed my development as a creative person and shaped the way that I respond to various negative events in my life.
What I’m hoping to accomplish
This isn’t supposed to be purely confessional or self-serving in any way. I am a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) kind of gal, but to be honest, I expose myself as a means of defence. If I share too much information (TMI), people tend to react in one of two ways:
- They never ask me a personal question again and generally leave me alone, or
- They understand I choose to share the deeply personal or embarrassing details of my life in an attempt to deepen my connection with the people who are important to me.
It’s a way of knowing who your friends are and of deepening your relationships with the people who mean most to you.
Doing this on my blog has been a bit of a mixed blessing. I blogged most of my embarrassing, personal stuff early on in Writerly Goodness’s existence, thus ensuring that few people would actually look at it. I wasn’t really risking much, but I also had no idea if this was the kind of subject material that would resonate with my readership.
I’ve mentioned a few times in various posts about how shy I am. It would be very difficult for me to speak about these issues in a face-to-face kind of way without getting freaky and spastic. This has happened, though. It wasn’t pretty.
So now I’m pulling out the big guns again in an attempt to connect more with my friends on the interwebz and in the hope of sharing something of the themes and interests that inform my writing. I’d like to start a conversation about these issues without getting self-indulgent because I think they are important to many creative people out there.
It’s an experiment of sorts and I’d love to hear from you. What do you think about it? Would it be of value to you? Would you be willing to put yourself out there, along with me, on this crazy journey?
Let me know. Please keep in mind that I moderate all comments and I have the dreaded day job. If your comment doesn’t show up right away, it’s because I haven’t had a chance to review and respond yet. Rest assured, I make every attempt to respond in a timely manner. Your comments are important to me 🙂
Writerly Goodness, signing off.
- Sylvia Plath: reflections on her legacy (guardian.co.uk)
- On February 12, Let’s Talk… (onfreedomroad.com)
- BBC TV: The Art of Looking Death in the Face (thefamilyplot.wordpress.com)