Unable to breathe, I slip down the rabbit hole
| A high pitched squeal similar to a drill winding down filled the room. Unfortunately, this noise couldn't be stopped by just letting go of a trigger because this incessant sound was emanating from deep within my lungs. Taking a breath in wasn't any easier. The sharp asthmatic inhales mimicked those made by someone repeatedly punched in the stomach.
Inside my five-year-old's mind, I picture little bubbles of oxygen striving to swim through an ugly, thick sludge. Only to be stopped by a steel-trapped door, thereby shutting off my lungs to even the tiniest spark of breath.
Why does breathing have to be so hard?
My head starts to wobble like an anchor shifting from side-to-side, sinking beneath a deep, black surface. My eyelids heavy under their weight, droop to cover my big, hazel eyes, like a sheet draping the dead.
That's when I start falling. Down, down deeper and faster.
I'm Alice falling down the rabbit hole.
As the darkness surrounds me and I drift into the netherworld, I have the sensation of huge metal claws closing down around my body. They're lifting me out of the unknown. Droplets of the other world drip from my physical essence. Or is it my physical essence dripping from this world to enter the next? I'm not sure. Things around me are hazy. I hear talking and movement, but it sounds so far away. I hear an angelic voice,
"Hold on, Baby! We're almost there."
No Daddy, I'm tired. I don't want to be here anymore. I'm going down the rabbit hole. I can breathe there.
Doctors and Nurses are in organized chaos, trying to save my heaving body. Above them all, I hear a calm voice. This one is also familiar but in an elevated sense. I know this voice. It's the voice of comfort, the voice of peace, the voice of breathing. There's no other place I want to be then with that quiet, gentle voice. I slip away.
I'm floating in the clean, crisp air. Air I can breathe. No fighting is here or noise to assault the senses. All is safe here.
My angel is here with me wearing a flowing, lavender gown, roped with a white and lavender sash. She stands as tall as the trees, but she's as gentle as the breeze. Pools of bright turquoise eyes beam with laughter and kindness. We meet each other in the air, and she takes my hand. I know all is as it should be, I am where I belong. Waves of golden wheat glide behind her as she guides me into the light. A glimmering light of love, hope, and all that is good, flows in and surrounds us. The flowers dance in their beds. Their colors more vibrant than any on earth even the grass is alive! I'm greeted by my grandfather, he's smiling, I'm smiling. I'm breathing.
My grandfather takes my hands and tells me, "Honey, this is not your time. Your family needs you to go back."
"No, Pappy it hurts there. I can't breathe there. I'm by myself. Please let me stay here with you. With Jesus."
Pictures flood my mind like movie screens encircling me. I see my life and understand far beyond my earthly five years of why I need to be back on earth. I understand why my family needs me and how I'm going to help them. And I know that if I don't return, it would be selfish on my part, but still, it is my choice. It's not an order.
As quickly as I agreed to go back and hug my grandfather, I am back on earth. My angel is here with me. We're floating in the stark white corner of the hospital emergency room. My father is beside my body, with tears flowing down my big, strong daddy's face. My body is as limp as a wet rag, my face the color of a stormy sky. I glance at my angel, and with a reassuring nod, I slip back.
"Daddy? Daddy, don't cry. I'm back."
Relief floods my father's face. I am back, but I'm not the same. You can never be the same once you've been in the presence of Jesus.
My mind is filled with images of the other world, the real world. I don't remember everything, but I remember enough. I don't think the same as a five-year-old anymore. I see the connections between people, and I know mommies and daddies are just people. Everyone needs everyone else. People's eyes are closed— They don't see where they came from, they don't see where they'll be going back. But they're always there watching over us and protecting us many times over, more than we'll ever realize. But we have to make mistakes, so we can learn from them and grow in spirit. But most of all, we're here to help one another. Be each other's rock on which to lean. We're simply here to love, and each time we do what we're supposed to do, our light gets a little bit brighter and our connection to the other world a little thinner.
We are loved. I know because I've been down the rabbit hole.