When I died there was no body to bury, no ashes to disperse, and no mourner tears. There wasn’t a celebration of my life or any newspaper notification that I was gone. I was 50 years old, too young to perish so soon. I was the only one at my death, well, my deceased mother and me. She asked me to go with her, but I knew that would be my final journey in this lifetime. I shook my head no and she walked back toward the illuminous light. I died!
A Real Death Experience.
That was my first “near” death experience when I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. I’m reluctant to call it a “near” death experience because I was so awake and conscious of my surroundings. I knew I was in a hospital bed and that I had surgery. I felt no pain, yet, my mother was right in front of me and I could clearly see her face and hear her voice. She gently opened her arms to me.
Was I gone three minutes or three hours? I was confused when I opened my eyes. The room was dark except for the blinking lights on the medical monitors. Then came the pain, a tidal wave of agony so fierce that it took my breath away. I clicked on the nurse’s button and waited for someone to help me.
Jean Died in March of 2007.
I died again in May of 2010, or maybe I should say the woman I was died of Stage IV colon cancer — it came back in my liver. Her name was “Jean” and she was me until the death experiences. When I returned to my hospital bed, I knew Jean had died, and I was happy. Jean grew up in a family of nine children. She was the middle child, often stubborn and angry. Jean was the cause of disturbances in the family, crying and screaming. To shut down her wildness, her father physically and sexually abused her and told her she was belligerent. He controlled Jean with fear and harm. He would glare at her to keep her in-line at the dinner table. And when her father was angry, all her siblings left the house in a hurry to get out of his way. Too defiant, Jean stood her ground, which incensed him more. He wasn’t going to let her win in their daily struggles. He beat her until she grew quiet, but her eyes flashed hatred as she retreated to her bedroom.
So Much Sorrow to Bear.
In the inside, Jean grew up lonely because she had no one to talk to. She only cried in the bathroom so she could wash aways her tears. She had lots of friends who thought she was funny and alive, but the deadness in her soul made her moody. Jean feared family gatherings because she didn’t want to see or talk to her father. She avoided “going home” on many occasions. Jean knew her mother understood what she was doing, but still begged Jean to come home on the holidays. After years of trying, and with a great amount of sorrow, her mother finally gave up on Jean, too.
Now, as Alex, I fully understand the growing years. I apologize to those who I hurt in my struggles to survive, and I’m deeply sorry for the horrible things I did and said. I’m not Jean anymore because I realize the world isn’t so dark (well, it is in many places), and people are kind and gentle. These people are the ones helped me build a better, more hopeful, life!
Please Don’t Call Me Jean!
Yes, a part of me died. There was no one to bury, no ashes to disperse, and no mourner tears. I no longer suffer from terrible nightmares and memories. I don’t hate anymore and I’m open to welcoming my family back into this new life. But please don’t call me Jean. She died and no longer lives inside me.
Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and medical miracle. Child abuse made her seriously ill and put her in harm’s way many times. She survives and shares her experiences and tools with people who are or have been emotionally, physically, sexually, spiritually traumatized.