The worst part about death isn't the actual passing into oblivion, but the endless waiting for it to happen. Here I was, an overweight but highly paid software engineer, on the cool linoleum watching his lifeblood quickly draining out of his body like a water-balloon with a pinhole. I had gone to pickup milk and eggs at the store, and walked into what I guess was a robbery. It was not even really that late at night, but late enough that I didn't want to take the extra ten minutes to shop at the megamart down the road. I had entered the store and with an, "Oh shit!" heard the deafening POP and found myself falling. Hell it happened so fast I never even saw who it was who shot me.
I knew I was dead. It was really just a matter of time, the feeling of doom and dread was there as I thought to my wife and son at home. I flickered a smile, or tried to anyway. Between my life insurance from work and the personal plan, they would at least be ok. Not well off by any means, but enough to pay for college and make ends meet. My wife was good at stretching a dollar, and they both were strong. But the pain of what they would have to go though, especially my 8 year old son, hit like a hammer and the darkness that I had originally been fighting with every ragged breath, forced it's way a bit closer to my brain.
The waiting was almost as bad as waking up at 3 on Christmas morning, and knowing your parents will skin you alive if you wake them before 7am. There really wasn't any pain; my brain had already released massive amounts of adrenalin and endorphins but the side effect of that was seeing the blood pool get larger hour by hour. In reality of course, it must have only been a few moments, but dying does have a strange effect on someone. Go figure.
The rest was really a blur. I had a brief, very brief, image of the cart that the paramedics rolled my body out on; then looking up at the very bright lights of what I assumed was a hospital emergency room ... Men and women rushing around in that sickening white and green that humanity associates now with sickness and death ... I heard fragments of words, but really couldn't make anything out before slipping into unconsciousness again.
This time however, when I awoke, I was expecting to see my wife and son, and maybe in some alternate dream, I did. Standing over my bed with the lights of the monitors flashing my death, my wife sobbed and my son stood in confusion. He didn't understand that his father was indeed dying or maybe dead. Then finally, without warning the machines screamed on last time and death came for me, dragging that vision way from me, it becoming smaller and smaller as I thought I was sucked down a dark tunnel ... backwards and mentally screaming the entire way.
After a while, the sense of dragging stopped and I was left floating in that sickly, inky darkness. For a long time I floated, bodiless, with my grief; although how can you tell time without a point of reference much less a body to have a watch?
Eventually, my grief subsided, and I began to realize the predicament that I was in. I was floating in this void, without light or sound. Although I guessed it would be hard to see or hear anything without a body. The only thing I could think of was that my consciousness had been moved to this other place of existence; this limbo. And it really sucked. It was no heaven by any means, and although I hadn't lead a perfect life, I really didn't think I deserved hell. Limbo was the only thing that seemed to fit. I was raised Roman Catholic, my parents still thought it was a sin to miss church unless you where on your death bed. My wife and I took a more modern approach to religion, we went when we could, tried to lead good lives for us and our son, and let it end there. We had seen too many of the ultra religious types, with their crazed look in their eyes to take it any farther from there. Maybe the Catholics got it right, and I was stuck in limbo till the second coming or whatever got me out.
So I waited. And Waited. Then waited some more. And I got bored.
I guess that's what started it, the boredom. I remember now thinking that I needed some light, and had laughed to myself and said or thought, "At least God said, 'Let there be Light'."
And there was Light.