Death Be Not…

I have come to the conclusion that I am either a green-eyed cat; a creature from some Galaxy far, far away… OR I’ve had an Angel living on my shoulder since the day I was born! Nothing else explains why I have survived no fewer than seven scenarios that should have rendered me well and truly dead.  Truly!

December, 1995: It was the week before Christmas and all through the….no, that’s not right.   It was the week before Christmas, 1995, and I was finishing my Holiday shopping in the Pasadena Mall.  Having recently suffered a lower back injury, I was unable to walk without a cane.  So, with a cane in one hand, and a large purse stuffed with small gifts in the other, I hobbled on to an empty elevator, for a trip to the parking garage.

Just as the elevator doors were about to close, two young men, one tall, one short, both with the words “If you can read this, you’re #×*$×!” written in Neon on their foreheads, slipped into the elevator.  Wearing baggy pants; over-sized sweatshirts and grins that Great White Sharks would envy, they stared at me and my cane, and suddenly every cell in my body was screaming “Get out!”  “Oh shit!” I said out loud as I raised my cane, shoved it between the nearly closed elevator doors and hobbled…no, more like gimped (“gimped” is a word, right?), okay, so I gimped for my life.  Behind me I could hear my two would-be assailants laughing and one saying “Oh shit is right lady!”

I was shaking from head to toe as I walked “gimpally” down one flight of stairs and entered the large shopping mall garage.  “Are you okay?” asked a Security Guard who, I’m fairly certain, was at least 14 years old, and appeared to be dressed in his Daddy’s Uniform. “No…nope, not okay. No, definitely not okay”…I babbled, then described my elevator companions. “Yup, sounds like the same guys” Security Guard Baggy Pants said to me, as he sent an urgent Security Guard message on his Dick Tracy Decoder Ring (well no, actually, it was his Walkie Talkie), then he added: “Lady, it’s a really good thing you got out of that elevator cause a woman about your age was killed there last week.  We found her body in a dumpster.  Her throat had been slashed, and the two thugs who did it match the description of the two guys in the elevator with you!” [cue Twilight Zone Theme Music]

January 17, 1994:  It was 4:30 in the morning and, sitting at my desk in my home office, I was putting the finishing touches on a spec script I had written for the TV series “Frasier”.

My make-shift office consisted of one desk, one high-back desk chair, and six 2×4’s, each six feet long, upon which sat a computer tower (you remember computer towers, don’tcha?); a printer; a Boom Box (please tell me you remember Boom Boxes); dozens of books, and half a dozen potted plants in some major league terra cotta pots.  So, there I sat, typing the words “Fade Out. The End” and poof — out went the lights. Something felt wrong — very wrong and very dark — and a voice in my head SCREAMED “Get UP!!!, so I got up. I dove out of my high-back desk chair and, as I did, I heard a thunderous CRASH…then everything started to shake as a 7.1 Earthquake rocked the world of everybody in Los Angeles.

From her bedroom down the hall, my then-twelve-year-old daughter was screaming “Mommy, help!”  “I’m coming, honey” I shouted, though I doubted she could hear me over what sounded like a freight train barreling through our home.  The walls shook and anything not nailed down was flying through the air.  I tried to get to my child, but something was blocking my way, and in the darkness, I couldn’t see what it was. 

Knowing, as all southern Californians do, that, when in a building during an earthquake, standing in a doorway is the safest place to be — second only to standing in a doorway of a building a few thousand miles away — I shouted to my terrified child “Stand in your doorway” as books, dishes, and framed artwork flew through the air. I could hear my daughter shrieking, but I couldn’t reach her.  Dinner plates had become flying projectiles and they were slamming into my back from the open cupboards behind me. All around me everything breakable was shattering.  I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face, and I couldn’t move. I was trapped by objects that, in the total darkness, I couldn’t even see.  The noise was deafening, and the shaking of the walls wouldn’t stop. 

Suddenly I heard a neighbor calling my name and then he appeared, flashlight in hand.  Somehow, he made his way to my daughter’s bedroom, picked her up and carried her down the stairs and outside, to safety, with me following close behind. Dozens of neighbors were gathering on my front lawn and in the street.  The rotten egg smell of ruptured gas lines filled the air.  A young man pulled his Zippo lighter from his pocket and, as he flipped it open to light the cigarette that was dangling from his lips, he was tackled from two directions, and his lighter fell to the ground, unlit. “That’s gas, you idiot!” a chorus of neighbors shouted. 

As the first rays of dawn peeked over rooftops, I borrowed my neighbor’s flashlight and carefully made my way up the stairs and into my home. My living room floor was more than ankle deep in plants, potting soil, bits and pieces of broken pottery, shattered mirrors and a bazillion multi-colored, jagged shards of what had been my treasured Fiesta Ware service for six.   My living room had been rearranged – nothing was where it belonged.  My cozy, over-stuffed couch was on the wrong side of the room, with my over-sized TV nesting, upside down, on the middle cushion.

I picked my way through the rubble, into my little office, and what I saw caused a wave of nausea too overwhelming to control. The shelves that had stood around my desk had collapsed, and there, in my high-back desk chair, at a 45-degree angle, was a six-foot long 2×4 that, had I remained seated in that chair one second longer, would have decapitated me. [cue Twilight Zone Theme Music…again]

November, 1975:  What began as a party ended abruptly with my death.  Drugs can do that!  This time, the inner voice that could, and often did protect me from harm, was silent and so…I died.  But my death was short-lived.  Eight minutes long, to be exact and, how, on that occasion, I was able to return to the Land Of The Living was the strangest experience of all.  So strange, in fact, that I wasn’t sure it had actually happened. I needed proof that my Divine Experience’ really had taken place, and that’s exactly what I got… and it was proof that no one could deny! 

One minute I was alive. The next minute I was dead! That should have been the end of my story but it was only the beginning! I met God! I talked to God and God talked to me! You may not believe my experience was real, but that’s okay because Reality is real, whether you believe it or not!

So, am I a cat who is now living the seventh of her nine allotted lives?…am I a creature from some distant Galaxy?… OR…has an Angel been living on my shoulder for lo these many years? I don’t know the answer.  That wasn’t one of the questions I thought to ask God during our Question-and-Answer Session. Oh, sorry…I neglected to mention that during those eight minutes when I was well and truly dead, I stood at the front door of Heaven and had a Question and Answer Session with God. I did, really, and I can prove it!

Brooke Jones

Amazon Best Selling author Brooke Jones is the author of “WHY ARE THERE MONKEYS? (and other questions for God)” — the absolutely true, deeply inspirational, laugh-out-loud funny story of her Near-Death Question and Answer Session with God. (If you think a conversation with God could not possibly be FUNNY, you’re in for a very BIG surprise!)

The Memoir that the US Review of Books called “Profound…Hysterically witty…Not to be missed!”, “WHY ARE THERE MONKEYS? (and other questions for God)” is available in eBook, Paperback and Hardcover from online retailers and Bookstores everywhere.

(A portion of every sale is donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation)

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