The Afterlife

I didn’t expect death to feel like what it did. There was no welcoming light at the end of the tunnel that appears as a great spirit gently leads you by the hand to the other side. Angels didn’t take me in with open arms and shining smiles, ensuring that my stay in eternity would be comfortable. There was no place where all of my deceased loved ones stand at the pearly gates, floating on clouds and illuminated by a holy golden light.

The transition between the worlds of the living and the dead is not one’s life flashing before their eyes. I was expecting to see my childhood with my siblings, playing in the large backyard with our black lab and a hose. Our dad would already be working on the barbecue with a warm smile, as the role of both parents was hard to fulfill. Awkward braces, acne, chipping nail polish, badly-cut bangs, crushes on subpar hormonal middle school boys could’ve all very well been my last thought. I could’ve seen partying in short dresses and underage drinking, staying up late and desperately trying to type the last words of a paper due tomorrow, crying in bed, worried half to death about what the future could hold.

I should have seen myself through moving towns and switching schools countless times, each one less painful than the last. All my broken bones, every favorite song, every embarrassing moment, every mean thought, every friend I made and lost.

My soul could’ve been violently ripped from my body as it crossed over, leaving the past behind. Would I have seen my dying body from above, clawing at my solid presence, desperately hanging on to the last bit of my small existence?

Perhaps I could’ve drifted along the earth as a ghost, watching over my family and friends, wanting to reach out to them, but unable to make my presence known. I would likely haunt those who I had disliked in my mortal life, dropping items on their heads as they passed under me. They would probably get fed up with all the flickering lights and doors being slammed by an unknown force, and I would then be exorcised back to the realm of the dead.

I guess that’s where I am now, but it isn’t like I would’ve thought at all. It’s lonelier than I expected. I can’t see my relatives, I don’t know where they are. I want to find them, to call out to them, but I can’t.

The way I died could’ve been worse. Although I suppose I’ll never know how it feels to die in any other way. All I saw was more and more bright light as I felt myself slipping away from life, which was, to say the least, a bit cliche. The “go into the light” stereotype wasn’t totally wrong. But it was too sudden. I was too young, I didn’t say goodbye. That’s how concussions happen. I thought I was fine, and nothing went wrong for the longest time, but then I went to sleep one night and I never woke up.

I still feel asleep. Time passes so slowly, if at all. I can’t move. Or rather, I don’t have a body to manipulate.

I barely know how long it’s been since I’ve died. It’s too dark to see anything, although I’m sure there is nothing here to see. Light doesn’t exist anymore. Nothing does.

There are so many things I would’ve wished the afterlife to be, and this is not any of them. Maybe there is something else for those who lived their lives better, where they can live their lives in eternal happiness, although I doubt it. I wish that, if anything, I would’ve been sent to the Hell that people believe in. With fire and lava and never ending torture. Perhaps I would’ve prefered that, for at least I would be able to feel.

This seems worse. So, so much worse. I am nothing. Everything is nothing. Everything except my thoughts. My thoughts that pound their way through my no-longer-existing mind. I want them to stop, but they won’t. There’s nothing I can do with them except keep thinking. I would kill myself to get rid of them. But I am already dead.

As a child in church, I would wonder if the Heaven those men in the robes preached about was real. I would wonder if we really did live forever amongst the clouds and all our deceased loved ones. I would tug on my mom’s sleeve, questioning what Heaven was. She would usually answer with something along the lines of “Whatever you want it to be.” I wouldn’t question further. But it isn’t like that at all. When I died, I realized I would find out what really lied beyond our mortal lives. I did find out. It was nothing.

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