It’s been nine days since that fateful day in October when I had, what I can only describe as, my Near Death Experience.
The day started out like any normal day. A day packed with the expectation of any other day as I prepared to head to Dublin to do a live TV3 program for Goatsbridge Trout on The 7 O’Clock Show.
The last conversation I remember having in my home town was with my local grocer’s daughters as I collected some dry cleaning. We discussed the funeral of a friend James McHale, an American who facing death, did not want a traditional ceremony but something meaningful to his life, times and beliefs. It was the loveliest funeral at Woodbrook Natural Burial Ground in County Wexford. James received a glorious send-off with no priestly palaver – just a harmonica, a bodhrán and the soughing of the wind in the trees.
He was a writer and wrote the following which I will never forget:
I love my friends neither with my heart nor with my mind.
Just in case…
Heart might stop.
Mind can forget.
I love them with my soul….
As I left the shop I told the girls that if I died I would like to be remembered just as James was remembered; they were to have a big party, quote poetry and laugh.
Little did I think two hours later as I drove up the M7 motorway, my life almost changed forever. I hit a car from behind that had experienced engine failure and had slowed down suddenly. I had cruise control on and for some reason I did not react fast enough. The car went hurdling into the air, tumbled three times before coming to a standstill.
What did I think about? How did I feel?
I remember telling myself to go with the flow, not to fight it. I felt an inner peace, calmness. Once the car stopped I knew I was still alive but I waited for something to crash into my car as I thought I had landed on the opposite side of the motorway.
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and we will call it fate. I was fated to live.
Beyond that time that innate fear of death we all seem to be born with just vanished. I really believe fear doesn’t stop death but it will stop life. Perhaps all of life is a near death experience.
As I was stretchered away I hurriedly passed the bag of trout goodies I was briging to the TV station for tastings to the lovely young nurse who was by my side as the paramedics removed me from the car. I then made her promise to use trout on her wedding menu early next year in Wexford .
I smiled to myself and thought of an expression I once heard … “Only the good die young”
I guess my job is not done.