Do Not Sink Completely Into That Door
In the last six weeks, the deaths of three particular people (either known to me or known or related to a close friend) have in one way or another had an influence over my daily life. Clearly this little flurry of Stygian activity has also had some sort of influence on my under-ego. Yesterday I attended the funeral of a friend's mother. Last night I had the following dream.
The first thing I remember is a sense, a belief, that this whole death thing seemed kind of interesting and maybe this was something a curious guy like me might want to look into.
Somehow I had discovered the proper procedure to apply for and be granted death; it apparently involved signing up for a strange trip on an bizarre airplane. I recall having gone through the application process, having been approved, and so I found myself aboard that plane.
From the inside (I don't recall if I ever saw the plane from the outside), everything was painted battleship gray. The interior was utilitarian. I think I recall guessing that this plane must have been something like a C-47 which is the military transport version of the old DC-3 -- the reliable Gooney Bird of World War II. If you ever saw the SF classic "This Island Earth" (how come nobody notices those guys have such big foreheads?), this plane is a little like the robot airplane that ferries Dr. Meacham to the mysterious and apparently remote Club Med(aluna) Resort.
I seemed to be the only passenger(?), client(?), patron(?) on board, but there were other, um, entities there. I don't think they were quite human. I don't know exactly what they were, but they seemed to be helpers of some sort. They behaved like extremely discreet waiters, standing by, ready to assist when the client required assistance, but otherwise neither suggesting nor not suggesting that the client should proceed.
I recall having niggling doubts about this entire enterprise. I had been informed (or otherwise knew) that if I decided to proceed with this thing, the results were going to be permanent. That is, if I decided to die, then I would be dead for good. I was a bit nervous about this prospect. On the one hand, I was very curious about this whole death thing. On the other, this was going to be a one-way street, no second thoughts allowed, no "do-overs". If I decided to try this death thing, the whole game was going to be perfectly over.
Well, I thought, maybe we could just take this one step at a time. It was somehow understood that I could call the whole thing off at any point in the process, short of the actual moment of death of course, so why not go a little bit further?
There were no seats in the plane. It was empty like a dead-heading cargo transport except for a large slab of metal lying on the floor of the plane. The slab was about the size and shape of a large and thick door -- maybe six or seven feet long, three feet wide, perhaps four inches thick. I knew that the next step would involve me lying down on this metallic door. I knew that if I did that, things would start to happen, things that would ultimately lead to my death.
I studied the door for a while. The helper entities waited patiently, neither suggesting nor not suggesting.
Finally, my curiosity got the better of me. I approached the metallic door. The helper entities took my upper arms, holding them in a gentle grip, and helped me ease myself down onto the door. As I lay there, they lovingly arranged my arms and legs so that I was as comfortable as possible.
I closed my eyes and after a few moments I felt either the door slowly sinking through the floor of the plane, carrying me with it, or my body slowly sinking into the slab of metal. My eyes were closed so I could not tell precisely what was going on. But I do recall understanding then that dying involved departing the interior of the cargo plane, apparently by way of sinking, one way or the other, through the floor.
I could feel my conscious self, as the saying goes, slipping away. I could feel myself disappearing into the metal. I was uneasy about this, uncertain I could stop it if I decided to call the whole thing off, but my uneasiness did not ever graduate into fear or panic.
But then this sinking into the metal slowed, then stopped. I recall lying there wondering what was holding things up. Is this the way it's supposed to go? Am I dead now? But I can't be. I still have an awareness of my self and of what is happening to me. Hmm... I suppose that's possible, even if you're dead....
I vaguely sensed the helper entities hovering over me, observing, offering their assistance. They communicated to me somehow that this dying stuff was not the sort of thing you could actually force, and so it did not seem, in their opinion, that I actually wanted or was ready to die. This information was not presented to me in any scolding way. I was not being chided for wasting everyone's time or for being some sort of Death Tourist. It was a simple fact: it did not seem I was ready to die, and so despite my curiosity about the subject, I apparently would not be allowed to go into that good night, gently or otherwise, at this particular moment.
I considered this. This appraisal seemed about right. I'd learned a little something about what dying is like. It's like sinking into a thick metal door implanted on the floor of a cargo plane, in case you haven't guessed. I decided knowing that much about death was probably good enough for the time being and so I allowed myself to rise back up out of the metal.
"Do not sink completely into that door."
Okay, so I never claimed to be Dylan Thomas, all right? Go dream your own death. Then we'll just see who has the better Poetic Imagination, won't we?
Meanwhile, I'm having a nice cuppa'.