The first time that I touched a dead man was during a walk with my mother in 2012. We were walking around the neighbourhood when I saw a man lying on the grass. Thinking he was probably drunk, we didn’t take any notice. But when we saw him lying in the same position on the way back, something didn’t feel right. I approached him and turned him over. When I touched him, his coldness and rigidity already hinted that he was dead. I had learnt CPR, and I started administering it to him, just to be sure (as a side-note, I later learnt that once you have established that someone is dead, CPR is no longer necessary). As I did so, a crowd started forming. The ambulance came, they took him away, but the thing that stayed with me was the image of his wife’s unfazed look. She probably thought that he would be all right. My mum later told me about seeing his photo in the rite at a neighbouring HDB block.
The first time that I deeply reflected about death was when Paul (not his real name) passed away in 2014. Paul used to be my boss. He replied to his colleagues on email way past midnight. We all knew that he was a workaholic. When he transferred to my department, he was on the verge of retiring. After retirement, he wanted to spend more time with his family, maybe travel and visit his children who are based overseas. Then, he was diagnosed with cancer. It all happened very quickly. I didn’t see him again till he was lying in a coffin, all shrunken up. He had lost a lot of weight. It’s as if all his post-retirement dreams and wishes were emptied out during this illness.
The first time that I nearly died was in Indonesia Papua in 2016. After visiting the tribal festival for a few days, we were all bored and wanted something more active. My guide told us there is a mountain that we can trek in, so off we went on our adventure. Our guide told us, “The climb up is fine, but the climb down could be quite steep.” What an understatement that would prove to be.
On the way down, the normal road seemed washed out, so our guide took us on a detour. From walking, we started to crawl, and then I realised with a start that besides the branches I was holding on to, there was nothing beneath me to hold my weight. If I didn’t hold on, it’s going to be a steep and fatal drop. Realising that I didn’t have many options, I clambered to a rock face. My guide was guiding people along the rock face, all without any safety devices. I tried to hold on, but started slipping! I dropped probably around 12 feet before my guide below me broke my fall!
On hindsight, I realised that if I had just dropped a bit more, my weight and the fall would have brought him over with me, down to the abyss below. Luckily, he also happened to be positioned just below me, or else he won’t have been able to break my fall. In other words, I nearly died. When I woke up that morning, I didn’t expect to die. And I realised that that’s probably what many people think every morning when they wake up.
I would be all right today. Nothing will happen to me today. I will just continue to do what I usually do. The holiday can wait. Fulfilling my dreams can wait. Being with my loved ones can wait.
It took me a brush with Death itself that I understood that my life is not controlled by me at all. Something could come crushing down, a car could veer off the road, I could slip and fell head-on to a rock. Death can take me in a breath, and there is really nothing I can do about it.
My life is so fragile, and therefore it’s so precious.
You probably won’t feel that statement till you stare Death in the face. But after that experience, I decide to take the holiday I want to go now. I decide that I would live life on my own terms. I decide that it’s far better to work in a job that may not pay so well, as long as I truly love it.
I realise that the worst thing that can happen is not that Death claims me – one day It would, but that it claims me when I wish that it can come later, because there are still so many things I have yet to do.
Darius is a medical intuitive and uses his skill to help people suffering from chronic illnesses. He discovers that just by looking at a person, he can find out their physical conditions, the causes, and uses energy medicine to help them get better.
Learn more about him here.