Reception Room

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I had been sitting in this room for a long long time, before what I assumed to be an angel entered. The clock on the wall with no hands, kind of said it all. I was beyond where time made a difference. As I sat naked in what appeared to be a reception room, I realized that I had died. It wasn't outright suicide. I knew that the doses I was taking of morphine, might be reaching dangerous levels. I have been living in constant pain for many years. The last two years I had been prescribed Vicodin four times a day, morphine twice a day, and some other nerve specific medicine that had just been discovered.

The pain that night had been intolerable. I'm used to pain, and a lot of it, but this went beyond anything I had ever known. I'd taken my normal dose of medications at the regular time, but it didn't even make a dent in my suffering. So I took an extra Vicodin tablet, which was my normal reaction to an extra bad day. Even then, I was curled up on the floor in a fetal position going back and forth between moaning and crying. I took another morphine tablet. That started to help, so I took another. Somewhere in the process, I crossed over the line of what my body could handle.  I do remember sort of drifting off to sleep and thinking, "finally I'm not in so much pain." I must have died soon after that.

Opium has been around for over a thousand years, and morphine is a derivative of opium. It has been one of the most commonly used drugs by doctors and families for pain and to help suffering ones to pass over in a humane way. They just drift off to sleep painlessly, and don't wake up.  It has been abused for its high for as long as it has been used medicinally.  I had never taken it before it was prescribed for me, and I never abused it or sold it.  I was guilty of not being careful enough with my dosage.  So it was not a deliberate suicide.

It didn't surprise me to be aware of my surroundings and thinking again after death. I had believed in life after death for most of my life. Still the guy behind the information desk with glowing red eyes and rams horns on his head didn't fill me with warm and fuzzy feelings. He was too classically close to depictions of devils or demons. My only interaction with him, was a question of whether it was okay to read a book from the case behind him. His reply of "What is it worth to you?", was all it took to shut me up. I was hoping for some sort of book on what to expect in the afterlife, but the horned one's willingness to barter brought to mind tales of people trading their souls for various things on Earth. I returned to my quiet analyzation of the things around me.

One thing that struck me right away was I was still as fat as I was in life. During the last year before this happened, I had only been able to stand for a couple of minutes at a time, and to walk a few feet a day.  Finally when my Lymphatic system stopped working I ballooned up to almost 350 pounds. It wasn't that I was an athletic slim person before dying, but the extra weight at the end was a major burden. In most of the religious text I had read, you were supplied a perfect form free of defects. I guess that I just assumed it wouldn't be a fat form. I had never been comfortable with my body shape and especially when I was naked. So there I sat with my knees closed and my hands strategically placed. The irony of the empty coat rack was not lost on me. Neither the horned fellow or I had much use for it, nor did it have anything visible of use to me.

After what seemed an eternity, no pun intended, a beautiful blonde woman floated into the room. Her palms were open and facing towards me, which for some reason gave me a sense of peace and acceptance. She didn't have a halo, but the shimmering white gown and snow white wings certainly made me think of the images of angels I had seen in life. As I continued to think about it, the only named angels I remember from the Bible are Michael and Gabriel. Well, Satan was an angel, but he fell from grace.

I tried to make sense of my surroundings. If I was Catholic and what I had done was considered to be deliberate, I would be in Limbo, or on my way there. Many who have had near death experiences talk of being met by loved ones on the other side. Neither the guy with glowing red eyes, nor the beauty with wings struck me as relatives who had passed over before me. Then I noticed that the beautiful blonde, who I assumed was an angel, was wearing some sort of corset, that drew attention to her ample breast. I tried not to think of it, hoping it wasn't some test that would banish me to hell for impure thoughts. But it seemed the more I tried not to think of it, the more I did. I was grateful for my strategically placed hands being where they were.

I heard the sound of a thousand fine crystal bells and realized it was the laughter of the blonde. Her form of laughter set my mind at ease that I wouldn't face a horde of angry demons in a fiery hell for eternity because I thought she had nice breast. A more human-like chuckle was followed by, "My face is up here." Which was at least the temporary home of a big grin. She said follow me, and I will tell you of your tasks.

First, let me say that I didn't feel like all the mysteries of the universe had laid themselves open for me. I could feel the presence of God around me, but I wasn't meeting anyone by the name of St. Peter and being escorted through pearly gates either. I found that I had things to do here. I had a job of sorts. Everyone was able to look back to any point in their lives and see exactly what happened without prejudice of any kind. They could also follow the path of anyone they interacted with in life, to see how their lives affected others. My job as such was to help people use the tools available to see these things. In some ways it reminded me of the way computers work, and as much as I loved working with computers in life, I found myself loving my work with this tool as well. I was also able to see tiny little slices of other people's lives outside of my own sphere of influence for what short periods of time it took to instruct them. It was a somewhat voyeuristic thrill, but I also tried to make use of what lessons they learned during their lives as well.

This was neither heaven nor hell, or anything I had heard a name for. It was another level of existence after death. It was somewhat closer to the creator, but I knew that there must be other levels of existence that were even closer yet. I sought to learn life's lessons, lest I be destined to be returned to live them again, and strove to move on to higher levels of existence. I now understood why so many that I met in life called me an old soul.

What I saw, may not be what everyone sees after death. It may be that each person sees what they need spiritually.


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