You just died. You go toward the light, but when you reach it, you emerge into a delivery room as a brand new, screaming baby. You have no more control over this new body than any other baby, and no one looking at you has any idea that you possess the consciousness and memories of your old life
At 53, my life hadn’t been long enough. After all the stumbles and faux pas of youth, I had finally begun to figure things out, and I had finally begun to look forward to each morning. My children had grown and moved out, leaving me with enough time to think, and perhaps more importantly to sleep, and I had realized with startling clarity what was Important, and what wasn’t. My deepest regret was that most of my life had been spent missing out on the good things in favor of the superficial.
My death was abrupt, and perhaps a little glorious. While I was driving home from work, a sudden yet powerful gust of wind knocked a semi-truck off of an overpass and into the path of my car down below. My last image was of apples scattered around the freeway.
I was surprised that there really was a tunnel with a light at the end of it – having never experienced death before, I didn’t know what to expect. As I sped along, I thought about everything I had done, everything I had loved or regretted, and I felt sad that it was over when so many things were about to begin. I closed my eyes in preparation of entering the blinding light in front of me.
Suddenly air filled my lungs, and I let out a scream in shock. My body was heavy, my legs and arms were completely limp and unresponsive; I couldn’t even lift my head. Some giant held me, snuggling me against itself, so I slowly opened my eyes and stared in dumbfounded amazement up at my daughter’s face. She was huge.
Or rather, I was tiny.
She was laughing and crying, with sweat on her brow and bags under her eyes. It dawned on me that she had just given birth … to me.
“I don’t know why, but she reminds me so much of my mom,” my daughter said, beaming down at me. “I wish she could have been here … I miss her so much!” Her happiness quickly changed to sobbing, and inwardly I nodded understandingly at the mood swings that happen so fast during those first few moments after giving birth. I wished that I could have reached out to comfort her, but all I could manage was to stare, and that felt ineffectual as well. Everything beyond her face was so blurry, I couldn’t tell who she was talking to. Her husband, I hoped, because otherwise I’d have to have a word with him.
She began to stroke my face and hair, and it was so soothing that I felt myself drift off to sleep despite my best efforts to stay awake. The last words I heard before a slipped into a deep slumber were, “Let’s name her Rebecca, after my mother.”
I had been given a second chance, with the people that I had held most dear in my previous life, and this time I wasn’t going to waste it.