Monday, November 21, 2005


They are beautiful and delicious... Vietnamese spring rolls. Around here they're called nimh chow, which is a Cambodian made-up name for them, I think.

Last night, I was eating one at the local Cambodian/Vietnamese/Thai place and realized at one point that I was choking. The stringy noodles inside the rice wrapper were stuck in my throat, and my wind pipe just kind of closed. I had a moment of simultaneous panic and curiosity. Is this what it feels like to die, I wondered. Am I going to die, right here in front of my kids, my husband, my dad who was visiting from Canada?

I didn't do the universal choking sign. I pulled on my husband's sleeve, which he basically ignored. I just sat there, trying to decide whether I should start spitting things out onto the table. I think if it had gone on any longer, I would have done that... but for that brief time I was in a strange state of otherworldliness. My vision got narrow. I felt like I was going to pass out.

And then, thankfully, I got the noodles down and could breathe. The whole thing was just a matter of seconds.

Several years ago, I read a book called 'The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying'. It is a whole book dedicated to the idea that death is a 'teachable' moment in our experience. That if we let it, death can be a powerful and wonderful transition. Since reading that book, I have been concious of trying to prepare myself to be fearless at my death. I've tried to feel peaceful when I feel threatened on the highway for example. It is not always successful... there are definately moments when my breathing gets shallow and the adrenaline starts pumping and I break out into a sweat. But on some level, too, I know that things have shifted for me. Death means something different to me, now that I am a Christian. It is less scary. It is a promise of returning to God.

So last night, there WAS the adrenaline and fear. But there was also calm. Not quite peace, but a strange kind of curiosity.

I am glad I didn't die in front of my kids, though. I definately have something to be thankful for this week!


will smama said...

I'm glad you're still around!

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Thanks! Me too! LOL.

Songbird said...

That was scary!
I'm glad you're okay and hope you have a great Thanksgiving!