Contributor: MJRAFFERTY

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I was rolling along through my life living my dream with my love, and the children of our love beside me. Work seemed like play; all systems clicking in order as they should. Life was good.
Then from outside something intervened, insidious and unknown it came undetected, creating a shadow on my soul.
Defenses were drawn around me and the strategies of professionals were tested, but to no avail. My tears, and the tears of others flowed. Hope was gone and the taste of fear was like acid in my mouth. The medicine of science took me and all that was left was desperation. Life had dimmed but love swelled, flooding in and over from all sides.
The weeks and months passed, but to me there was nothing but light or dark, sleep and not sleep. My speech became a jargon to others; no matter, because the desire to communicate had withered, even though there were times of lucid intervention. Did I respond…say the things so needed to be said?
I’m so sorry I failed! I fought so hard not to leave you!
Thoughts were inward now, food and drink had mostly disappeared. How did I live? This for a man only forty-three? There were times I was weightless, floating off my bed for moments, then down. The voices of familiar people spoke to me. Was I even in the room? What in hell is this. . .?
I remember that day in June, wrenching myself from my place of pain, going outside of the house I so loved to stand alone in the sunlight--and finally, my moment came. I was lifted from the ground and pulled skyward past rooftops, then faster through thin clouds. Airliner to my left, do they see me? The earth fell rapidly away and I was so afraid of dying.
Did anyone see me leave? Did I even say goodbye?
I felt myself grow colder but something amazing was going on around my head and body. It became a shroud of translucent wonder that shielded my ascent through the atmospheres of near space into perfect vacuum. I began a slow rotation bathed in a mode of exquisite feeling; all fear had fallen away.
Encapsulated, I orbited my world in the silence of my thoughts. Surely this could not be death, for those I loved and left behind could only, if they knew, have wished this for me. If not death, then a dream of unimaginable splendor--
--And then I was away, streaking in uncomprehending speed outward, past my childhood moon and sun, safe in my envelope of self. I morphed as I moved toward a faraway whatever. Arms and legs, my humanity dissolved, reshaping itself to some unknown purpose.
Ahead was ill-defined. I moved through time and space, but memory was clear and absolute. Strange to relive so sharply that so far behind. As my destination neared, my life from conception to that moment was put in exact definition and details were acutely drawn. Complex problems that I had faced in my life became simple; hunger for knowledge so far unfulfilled was satisfied; all unquiet made calm. My evolution was nearing completion.
I arrived at a place that neither had, nor required explanation and where time escaped meaning. I had been made whole and had become what I was forever meant to be.
I was returned to my world and those I love the most, so I am here among you again.
All is good.

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