|The Way Station|
The white clapboard house sets on flat ground. There are no trees, shrubs, or even flowers anywhere in sight. It is always daytime, but you can't see a discernable sun in the sky. A porch winds all the way around the house, so there are plenty of places to sit and walk. There are other people walking around, but no one seems interested in anyone but the person they are paired up with. The style of clothes being worn, looks like a giant hand plucked people out of different times. Some people are inside of the house, and others walk around on the flat perfect lawn. There is no sound other than the low hum of voices. There is no music and no sound of traffic or planes.
If you've been there, you know exactly what I'm talking about. I personally have never met someone who has been there more than once in the early part of their life, but I'm certainly not saying that it is impossible. Sometimes in the end, people go there and stay.
This is the way station between the living and the dead. It isn't the one that everybody goes in their mind right after the death of a close friend or family member. This is the one that comes unexpectedly. Years after they died, and when you thought you had moved on. Of those I know who have been there, it was usually at a time of stress. When there was something big in their life, and they needed the specific advice, input or feedback that only this dead person could give.
Some might say this place is just your mind that you make up when you are solving a problem. Your mind plays both parts in the play. Your mind is asking the questions and answering the way you think this deceased person might answer. But stop and ask yourself, why is the feeling so overwhelming. You hear and see the others there, but connection between you and the lost soul is like a bubble the filters out everything else. It filters out the details of the way station as well, but it traps the feelings of connection. Where your conscious mind was forgetting the exact image of their face, or the lilt in their voice, this time it is in perfect focus. As much as you are wanting to share the stressful situation, you instead just drink in all the details that you have forgotten over the years.
I took care of my Grandmother when she was dying of Alzheimer's, and towards the end she was there more than in this realm. You might say it is just a trick of her failing mind, and maybe it is. It might be that the insanity brought on by a death that someone can't handle, turns this place into the Hotel California, where you can check out, but you can never leave. This is where they can't come clear back to this world of living, and you can't go entirely to their world without dying. It is somewhere in-between.
I'm dying of a neurological disease with no cure, or maybe I'm just losing the will to stay alive in so much constant pain. At the age of fifty-one, I've outlived all my lifelong friends. When you go through life, you are lucky if you make a handful of friends that you keep your whole life. We have many acquaintances, but few true friends. In my case, their deaths were by various means and for various reasons and I do miss them all. I'm not at the point where I see them often, or for that matter, at all. The only time I've been there, was to see my Grandmother. I'm glad that she cloud of Alzheimer's confusion had vanished, and she was clear in her thoughts and actions.
If any of these little "Tales from the Technowomb" have touched you in some way, and you'd like to come talk to me. I'll check into the way station often, and you can come tell me your story. I'll be there soon, and I'm looking forward to meeting you.