Wednesday, October 06, 2004
This is a letter written to a dear Unitarian-Universalist minister friend,
and is followed by a description of events that ensued in the days that followed Rick's death. His body had been found in his apartment where it had lain for an estimated 3 weeks.
I've gathered the letters and posts made to my Seniornet online community of virtual "best friends" with whom I'd developed a intimate relationship over several years. I placed my notes along with their responses in my "Rick's Memorial Album" to keep me in touch with a period unlike any other in my long life. It speaks to the phenomenon given to us by the information age, and may well be the answer to world peace. This kind of caring knows no international boundaries, and may have become the greatest Super Power on the planet. The millions who marched for peace at the onset of the Iraqi invasion was not an accidental happening. In some bizarre way, it may be another piece of this new human awakening:
Subject: Letter to Yielbonzie
Date: Tue, Oct. 17, 2000
It came to me during sleep last night.
On Wednesday, August 16th - or during the night of August 17th I suffered an attack that woke me from a sound sleep with the next several hours spent sitting before the toilet vomitting in a kind of semi-conscious state. At some point I got up and made my way to the telephone to call 911 for help. An ambulance came a few minutes later and took me to Kaiser emergency in Richmond. That must have been around 3:00 a.m. I spent the next several hours with extreme stomach pain and a continuing state of not-quite-consciousness.
I remember being wheeled into x-ray where several exposures were taken of my mid-section. The pain continued unabated. It was awful! At around 5:30 I was released to climb into a taxi that had been called by a nurse, after being injected with a strong painkiller of some sort. Taxi brought me home where I climbed into bed and didn't awaken until Friday morning, the 18th, a full 24 hours later.
I'd slept through without stirring for a full day and night, having missed the Gore closing speech before the Democratic Convention. It was this that marked the date for me so clearly.
I rose from bed on Friday feeling perfectly normal. Climbed into my car and drove to my office and then the 90 miles to Sacramento to take a mandatory training session that was on my schedule. Got back home mid-afternoon and gave no further thought to what had occurred. I spoke of it to Gail (my niece) but made no mention of it to my co-workers.
Last night in my sleep I suddenly knew. That image of myself on my bathroom floor, wracked with pain and heaving until dry - the semi-consciousness of those many hours -- that was the mirror image of Rick on his bathroom floor dying of chirrhosis! He died on Wednesday, August 17th. I am as sure of this as I am that I did not. I woke 24 hours later. He did not. He had not been seen for three weeks on September 3rd.
That would have been 3 weeks to the day of my strange malady. It's clear to me that he drew me into his death ... .
I've lived with these inexplicable periods when I seem to be using information that I do not yet have. There is a kind of strange hypersensitivy -- a knowingness. Never has it been more evident than in this instance.
I wondered if he knew that I was there? I didn't know it until it all unfolded in the night -- last night. It's almost as if it couldn't surface until I was capable of receiving it.
I've never tried to document these incidents before. They get lost because they're so hard to live with or to be validated by others. In this case, I did share the events with my niece, Gail. I called her on that Saturday -- when my work week was over and the quiet of the weekend had arrived. I said to her, "...will you be around the house today?" She asked if there was something wrong and if I needed her to come to my place. I said, "no, there is just this strangeness ...". "I just need to know where you are today." I told her then of my trip to the hospital and the rest. I then put it away until it exploded me out of a deep sleep last night.
Today I'll go to Kaiser and get the medical records of that night. I need to know that it was real and that somehow I knew and was with him.
(Hospital report follows, but not until my fingers settle down and typing is less erratic.)
Photo: Dale Richard Reid (nee Galvin).