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Emerging from the land of the dying


It feels like you are only functioning in a sense fog when you know you’re dying. Everything is dulled, and the only thing you have immediate awareness of is your breath and every pain, sensation inside of your dying body. Sometimes you don’t actually realize that you were in fact dying, until you get a taste of living again. When you are able to run errands and meet up with a new friend and have things to talk about other than surviving.

When you re-emerge among the living, breaking through that thick dark fog, and feel some clarity - it’s a very difficult transition.

The anxiety is like a person standing behind you at all times, ready to tap you on the shoulder and pull you back into the fog. At least that’s what it feels like for me. With a glimmer of dizziness or weakness in my legs, I think, oh shit, it’s coming back.

This healing transition isn’t easy. It’s also impossible to explain to people who have only lived among those who haven’t lived in the fog. I hope not to remember the visceral and urgent level of fear that I have survived in for so long.

The fog became the only constant for me. The slow emergence and rebirth have brought with me a significant lack of patience for the people who have never fought through the fog of dying. They’ve never touched and been so intimate with death that they knew she could take them at any moment.

It’s hard to relate to those who have always seen the concept of being alive as something to take for granted. Like a gift they’ve been given that could never be taken away. For me, that “gift” was slowly leeching out of my body like a dripping gas leak from a motor. Tiny drops every few moments, sometimes quicker, sometimes slower, but a constant depletion of life that I doubted would ever get patched up.

Walking through a few days without the fog has truly been eye opening. I thought today, I actually want to live again. I never thought I’d say that because trying to survive in a land of the dying is something I can’t yet quite explain. But it’s a place I never want to be again.

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