It’s like a bolt of lightning, that moment when that shot of Narcan hits your opiate receptors. The last thing I remembered differs from death to death. One time it was a tearful push of the plunger listening to a Moby song, which if I hear it, I get chills. Another time it was just to relax, part of mymorning ritual to get ready to deal with another day. Back then 24 hours felt like 124, I craved my days would end peacefully, quickly, and ironically, with ultimate finality. I had no idea what those words even meant in retrospect.
The element of chance when I died, that too, is something else…unexplainable, bizarre, I’m not going to thesauruas.com. this time. And man I can’t spell that, looks like a lost species of dinosaur not a cornucopia of synonyms. Yes, I spell checked the horn shaped basket filled with various shaped and sized gourds.
I deflect with humor. Every single time, because what I was about to write, type, whatever, is hard to digest, like 3-day old Wendy’s chili. Stop it Mike, fuck! See, I just got off the phone with a stranger who was told about my book. Somewhere in the 40-minute conversation, she mentioned Psalm 91, the psalm of protection. Read it here. It made me cry. For a minute I didn’t even hear her speaking. What I remembered is that feeling of dying. I saw no white light. I was completely in a void, blackness everywhere until that blast of naltrexone. It’s almost like- death was put on hold.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
That’s my namesake above, a statue of the Archangel Michael in Kiev, Ukraine. I just wrote something about being indestructable a few blogs ago, or maybe in a poem, so those types of things are not coincidence. I told her I pray for one thing daily, awareness, to not get wrapped up in my world but see the sights around me. Take in sunbeams splitting clouds, smell the ocean, and give a cigarette,buy him or her some food and give some encouragement to a homeless human being. Sometimes all I give is opening a door and a smile. Back to Michael, who crosses the boundaries of dogma, judaism, christianity and believe it or not, Islam, where he “provides nourishments for bodies and souls. Mikail is often depicted as the archangel of mercy who is responsible for the rewards doled out to good persons in this life.”
I get death isn’t a popular topic, but I had this incredible experience today, where knowledge became understanding- I am alive. Of course I am unless this is just the Matrix, and everyone reading this swallowed the red pill. I should be dead, 4 times over, clinically, and so many more times on bathroom floors and in toilet stalls all over western Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida. I was hit with an understanding , just like the jolt from those life saving shots, and I get it, the depth of my gratitude for being here filled up the abyss I stared into for so long.
It’s all in Shoestring Theories (ORDER HERE) but as an example. I spent the night at my parents house because I had to go to a job site closer to their house than my apartment. An apartment I shared with nobody. I remember the spoon, close to my TV, emptying the bag, standing up and falling backwards onto my bead. I barely pulled the needle out. That’s how fast it happens.
In the years I lived at my parents’ house, my father never opened my bedroom door. Ever. He did that morning. To see his son, lips already blue, fading away. He watched me die. He held me.What must that have felt like?
We hurt others in addiction. Far more than ourselves. The state of constant fear, when is the time going to come when Michael is alone, in his apartment, and there’s no one to save him? When’s the phone call coming that says he is gone for good?
While I am thrilled I have alleviated a major source of pain and fear from their lives, I know none of this is by my hand. I think we all have a journey to make, on the way to our final destination. We’re all headed to the grave, so yes, enjoy the trip, but there is order in the chaos, and sometimes we get help from something up there. Someone up there. Thank you all.
The detours in life are now cherished. Sometimes they are bright flashing signs, sometimes just part of what we consider everyday life. I chose to switch jobs a while back, and I’ve made some great friends there. We are social creatures, our words and especially our actions affect others. One of the greatest compliments I got was a girl telling me:”There is no way you were that guy in the book.”
I most certainly was. And can be again if I don’t continue to chill with God, as I understand him, a needle will be back in my arm. God’s got my back, unless I turn mine on him. As grimy as I was, I am gunning for the same degree of altruism in my life. The degrees of hate and pain directed at myself and the world, I balance with love today, or at least I try.
I am grateful for one more day. One more chance to make a small difference in someone’s life. So thanks again Big Guy.