This was a writing workshop project. It’s fiction and not meant to upset anyone. It’s not a prediction, fear or self-fullfilling prophecy.
The exercise originated from the book “4AM Breakthrough.”
In a nutshell, the instructions say to write about my own death. Creepy, right? Even creepier, there were about 100 projects to choose one and I picked this particular one because it shrieked at me when I tried to turn the page. Even though I tried hard not to choose it, none of the other exercises seemed as interested in me as this one. Looking back, I think I knew from the moment I spotted it that I needed to write this. I also knew it would be a challenge to look inside of myself and openly share this level of fear and reality. Once I started writing, another challenge replaced the first: the 500 word limit!
The instructions say “prepare to freak out over this exercise if you take it seriously.”
Well, I definitely took it seriously. Even though it is my nature to attempt to handle the most difficult and painful things in life with some level of awkward humor, I will say that there were moments when the depth of this topic really hit me. I’d say I smiled and sobbed equally.
It was a meaningful and very therapeutic exercise. I highly recommend it.
#95 Imagine Your Own Death
A psychic told me I would die during childbirth.
I was sixteen-years-old when I borrowed my parents’ car, packed it full of friends and braved a joy ride around Philly. Of course, we wound up on South Street. It was the trendy spot (it seems every city has its own version); an endless strip of record stores, condom shops and tattoo parlors with panhandling blue-mohawked teens sporting Doc Martens and smoking clove cigarettes. We were so anxious to drive at night sans chaperone and, yet, we parked and spent most of it walking.
People watching and pretending to fit in, we were so cool arguing about whether we should get our tongues pierced before or after stopping at Lorenzo’s for a slice. We agreed the scoop of Rita’s water ice should come after. Then I saw the sign. Well, technically I walked right into it.
It said “Psychic Readings: $5.”
The psychic said she saw us coming. She would have had to be blind not to see five catholic school girls rushing through her front door waving Lincolns.
Each friend received a slightly different version of the same reading. Then it was my turn.
“Oh, Dear,” she said after, looking somberly at me while skipping the details. “I’m sorry.”
I laughed it off and went on with my life but the psychic was always there in the back of my head. She was there when I lost my virginity and soon after when I got my first pap smear. That bitch was there during every late period in my early 20s. She was there when I said “I love you” to a man for the first time, and much later when I said it and meant it. She was there on my wedding night and two years later when my husband and I decided to “take out the goalie” as he oh-so-romantically put it. For five bucks, she gave me nightmares which turned into panic attacks during my pregnancy.
Needless to say, she was there when I gave birth to my daughter.
I was convinced I was going to die that day.
It wasn’t until two months later when a fever that refused to break sent me to the emergency room at South Nassau Hospital—the same hospital where I didn’t die giving birth to my daughter.
It took the doctor five days to diagnose me with Polycystic Kidney Disease.
“You’ll need a new kidney,” he replied.
My husband immediately wanted to give me one of his but I wouldn’t take it.
I couldn’t leave him with one working kidney. And what if something happened during the surgery? I was no longer afraid of dying. I was afraid of losing him or making our infant an orphan.
So, I opted to wait for my donor to die. I prayed that some sort of tragedy would bring this gift to me. I went from fearing my own death to hoping for someone else’s.
I died waiting.