Fade to Black


After having run around Margaret Keating School’s track as fast as I could, I stopped at the fountain outside my sixth grade classroom and guzzled as much water as possible. I felt hot and sweaty as I started drinking, but suddenly became cold and clammy afterward.

My head felt like it was about to explode from the pain I was experiencing and my stomach seemed to grow so tight that I could no longer stand up. Then much like one might see in a movie, my entire world faded to black.

By the time I regained consciousness, I was no longer outside by the water fountain and was somewhat confused by my surroundings.  I was lying on the bed in the nurse’s office, having been carried there by Mr. Hammond, and where Mrs. Zwierlein was attending to me.

A few minutes later, Uncle Ron arrived and took me home. Mom immediately made me go to bed, uncertain what had caused me to pass out.

It was later determined that my body didn’t tolerate the sudden extreme of overheating to very cold. In essence, I had a simultaneous brain-freeze and stomach cramp, forcing blood to shunt in different directions – causing me to pass out.

I never let it happen again, no matter hot or how thirsty I was.

But what I find most interesting about this incident is how it shaped the way I look at dying.  I’ve come to believe that when our body dies, it’s like a sudden ‘fade to black,’ followed by the reawakening of our soul in a different place.

And yes, I think that for a few seconds, we’ll feel confused and disoriented, but eventually we’ll realize where we are and what has happened. Besides, having a 12-year-olds view of this process makes it less scary for me.

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