Have you ever died? Clearly not, since you are sitting behind a computer screen, reading this blog. Yet, as I sit writing it, I am reminded that I died, and came back. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I stood above the world and saw what it would be like if I died. I got to see something that very few people get to while alive here on earth, and I have come away with a greater understanding of the effects we have on other people and just how many people might care, even when you find yourself alone in the world.
A few weeks ago, I was working at Subway, when I was informed that there was a car accident up the road, and that there had been a fatality. It wasn't until the next day that I realized that the man who had died shared the same name as me. (For the sake of this story, I'm going to call the man James, despite that not being either of our names.) It turns out that the man’s name was James Clerk, and he graduated from my high school and my college. The man, whom I was told was a former marine, and always doing acts of kindness, saw a woman and two kids hydroplane on a wet road in front of him. Being the kind man he was, he jumped out of his truck, and attempted to check on the condition of those inside. Another car ended up hitting the same spot as the first car, lost control, and hit James and killed him. James died trying to help someone else, and it was a freak accident, with no one at fault.
I found out the next morning that we shared the same name, and while it struck me as odd, I really didn't give much thought to it. I never thought, that in my small town, that the story would change, turning into "Hey, did you hear? James Clerk was killed in a car accident last night!" And, if parts of the story did survive, it would be the James that went to this high school and this college. So, I went about my day, no more aware than ever. It was a normal day, until I received a call from one of my high school buddies, asking if I was okay. I was clueless, and so I inquired as to why I wouldn't be. I was then informed that rumor was that I was dead! Former teachers cried, former classmates cried, and there was a general sadness in the air.
This went on for a few days. People would approach me, hug me, and tell me how great it was to see me alive. I had a few people burst out in tears when they saw me, truly believing I had passed away. I received calls from people I hadn't talked to in months or even years, wanting to ensure my safety. I even got word that people I wasn't close to, or even people that I hardly knew, cried when they heard I had died. My death reached all over the county, from doctors offices to schools to neighboring towns. Everyone was convinced. And I was shocked.
As I know I've said in a blog past, I am quite fascinated with death. I think about it far more than a normal person should, and I've thought about all aspects of death. One of the things I always wondered was what it would be like if I died... What would the impact be. Now, I've always had massive self-esteem issues. I've always felt as if no one cared, and as if no one loved me... So naturally I thought that very few people would care. I can't describe to you the shock I felt when I discovered that there was such a large group of people that I had touched over the years... So many people that care... So many people that would miss me.... It touched my heart unlike anything else could.
I have a new lease on life. I realize now that people really do care, and that there is more people in my life than just the very small circle of people I let in. I realized that there are always people there, even if you don't see them. I realized that I can never die at the risk of upsetting a mass of people. I got a glimpse of what this world would be like without me in it, and I gained a greater value on life.
Not only that, but it was such a weird experience being told that I "was alive!" over and over again. I just wanted to wave at the world and say "yep, here I am! Alive and well!" I am so thankful that I got to have this chance in life, as so few people get to glance through death's eyes for a split second, and see what life is like without yourself in it. I pray that 'James Clerk' is in a better place now, for the good deed that he did, and I choose to believe that God put him there to protect that mother and two kids from the second car.
Life is funny. You never realize what you have until it's gone... Unless you're given the chance to die and be reborn a new man. I hope that death finds you one day, and that you can cast it away, while still stealing a glance at what life really is.