When the veil of darkness finally lifted, the first image to register in my consciousness astonished me.
I was not raised in a religious household. But I could not deny what I was seeing.
I was literally surrounded by bright light. And there, hovering above me, was a halo.
I was not perturbed by the knowledge of my death. Instead, I was transfixed by my halo, by the way it shimmered and danced above me. An ethereal hum accompanied it – like holy voices in celebration.
I felt no pain. In fact, I felt awed. I felt transcendent. It was bliss. Or I was bliss. Either way, it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.
An eternity passed.
And then my halo slowly started to move away from my body. I watched it for a long time, until eventually it moved up and out of my field of vision.
And then the shimmering light faded, and disappeared. And the humming stopped.
The figure of a woman in white approached. She stood next to me for a while, and then spoke to me in the most gentle tone.
“Okay, sweetheart, we’re all done here.”
She slid my supine body out of the CT scanner and passed me to another technician, who silently rolled me down the hallway and into a small room.
As he drew the curtain around my gurney, I saw my clothes crumpled on a chair in the corner. I knew they were mine because I recognized my favorite socks – baby blue ankle length ones with colorful flowers on them – sitting on top of my bloody, puke-stained shirt and jeans.
I sighed, and closed my eyes, and let the pain come.