I will lie dying

I will lie dying… unless “I get run over by a bus”, as my mom used to say…i.e, unless my life ends with something accidental/sudden… Likely though, I will lie dying, and I am musing with you about what this has brought up for me.  We’re in this together, for  better or for worse, through thick and thin!  

Not long ago I was in the hospital for a day procedure.  I received a spinal block, which itself was a memorable experience.  I sat hunched over, absolutely dependent, not in charge, as they looked for the proper place to make the injection.  Taking deep breaths, relaxing, letting go…

It helped that I felt like I was in good hands, and had deep appreciation for our medical system, for caring technicians and physicians.  Then, in a matter of about 30 seconds, I felt my lower body disappear.  I poked my self – nothing.  I tried to wiggle my toes – nothing.  No sensation, no control, no capacity – nothing.  Half of what I considered physical myself was gone.  

The procedure was smooth, went quickly, the immediate report good.  They rolled me into the recovery room for the wait… a spinal takes a couple of hours to wear off.  

As I was lying there, I dropped into a place of deep relaxation.  Again I touched my thighs.  Nothing.  Gone.  Like dead.  I tried to move… toes, knees, anything.  Nothing.  Gone. Like dead.  I let myself, with my half body, float into the experience of dying…. What an opportunity!  

Peace and relaxation

There will probably be a time in the probably not too distant future where I will lie dying — actually, really.  As I lay there and the minutes, the quarter hours, the half hours and the hours wore on, I experienced a kind of blissful disembodiment.  I was in a recovery room surrounded by caring attendants, people asleep or greeting their loved ones after their day surgery.  

Mike came, which was sweet.  He did not see me as lying dying, and I was not lying dying. At the same time, having no sensation in the lower half of my body –  none…(I continued to touch it, try to move, and there was no experience of of being touched or of being able to move), it did feel like I might be lying dying.  I had, and took the opportunity to be completely still, not in charge, not able to “do “anything at all… not read, not use a phone, obviously not walk, and I didn’t do much talking.

The attendant came and went checking on my vital signs and I had the opportunity to just be in a way that I have never experienced before… a kind of completeness of letting go, of being present, and of being semi-disembodied.


I really am grateful for this experience and practice for when I will lie dying… Of course it may not come this way at all, but I can now bring to that transition state – from fully living to whatever the next mode looks like – with a kind of ease and curiosity and openness that was unknown prior to my recovery from the spinal… raw experience was truly magical and I am deeply grateful for it…

And so I leave you with the glorious paean to/of gratitude… so full of love and joy it never fails to bring me to tears. Grateful: A Love Song to the World.   

As I Lay Dying is a 1930 Gothic novel by William Faulkner. It was this title that inspired the title for this post.  

Full disclosure:  Since writing this I have had surgery which involved a full anesthesia.  The surgery went splendidly, the aftermath for me of the anesthesia had some hiccups.  Al’s well that ends well but while I recommend a spinal, I’d say stay away from the full meal deal if you can!

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook

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