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February 24, 2023

Death does not exist

7:40 a.m. at the coffee shop
I sit at my usual table and beg Lady Inspiration to send me a juicy story. I sit, waiting in vain for ideas to transform into words that I will shape into full sentences, and stare at the coffee shop’s black ceiling, from which huge black lamps are suspended above the pastry counters.

I sit and wait. I wait for countless phrases to drop from a cloud and land on my white page. I’m not worried. I am confident they will come to me. There is certain magnetism and the words never stray away from my ink for long. I imagine the words stuck deep in the snow or spinning on black ice.

I go get myself a second coffee. The girls at the counter smile at me. The youngest one dares to ask what I am writing about today. “About nothing,” is what I reply; about an invertebrate ghost capable of going through a door. I sit and wait while inspiration takes its sweet time to come to me.

And here comes Claude, my friend, the bush pilot. He walks into the café and heads straight for my table. He quickly sits down to tell me about a miracle he just experienced, during one of his flights last week, just before the snowstorm.

He was taking aerial pictures of the Îles-Laval shores for the town when, all of a sudden, he saw his mother sitting next to him in the plane’s small cockpit. She had passed a few weeks earlier and wanted to reassure her son about her death, to tell him just how magnificent the after world is and that what we call death is “merely a passage into another form, another life, on another frequency.”
— “WOW! Your mother appeared before you?”
— “Yes, exactly like I see you now.”
— “Are you sure these are the exact words she told you?”
— “One hundred percent certain. My mother was a school teacher who fiddled with words all her life. She used to write on occasion and she read a lot. She knew everything about death and was looking forward to it.”

— “I have read about death quite a bit myself, dear Claude. Mostly about the passage from life to death. Those words your mother told you, they are almost the exact same words doctor Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926-2004) published in her famous book On Death and Dying.”
— “My mother was familiar with the writings of Dr. Kübler-Ross. She knew that she had been challenged by the establishment in her day. The theory at the time believed that “there could be no life after death, since according to materialism, a person and their body, composed of atoms and energy, are one and the same, so that with the death of the body their soul and therefore their entire existence comes to an end.”
— “Precisely,” says Claude.

According to the doctor, who spent more than 20 years at the bedside of the dying, “death is unique. It is the most beautiful experience you will have; liberating, without fear or distress.”

— “And it’s with those words, dear friend, that my mother shared her passage to the other shore. And I am not surprised one bit because she was ready. She knew death is not the end, but a new beginning. She appeared before me to encourage me not to be afraid. She even told me that I would have a better plane in my next life; that I would stop aging and that I would be happy and content every day.”

— “WOW! Claude. What a great gift you are giving me today! Before you arrived, I was waiting for inspiration to come to me, and here you are, with a story about an afterlife that is eternally wonderful. Did you know, my friend, that death figures prominently in my Sunday letters? I talk about death so often to my readers, perhaps a little too often for their liking. But death is an inevitable reality; as real as the date on a birth certificate. I’m about to make the next shore myself. “There, there’s only order, beauty: abundant, calm, voluptuous,” as Charles Baudelaire wrote in his Invitation to the Voyage, in 1857.

10:26 a.m.
In my last hour, I am certain that a huge bird, a wandering albatross, will carry my sleeping remains on its huge, kind wings.

We will move forward on great winds, crossing the vast seas and brushing the snowy peaks of the highest mountains.

We will fly through a few clouds, caress century-old trees and drink water from the meadows of praying sunflowers.

We will land in a bay at sunset where the water is crystal clear. My eyes will open upon touching the water. My heart will start beating again and a new life will welcome me with open arms.