I was fed up of having a bloated feeling in my stomach, so I had some tests done at the hospital. Thought nothing of them and carried on with life in general. When the results came back, the news was very bad. There was a complication and it turned out I was going to die from whatever the problem was (they did say what, but I didn't really hear in my dream).
As it turned out (in the world of dreams) the hospital were going to perform euthanasia. This was all going to have to happen on a very short time-scale. I think the day was possibly a Tuesday and my funeral was arranged for 2:30pm on the Saturday. So I was to go into the hospital Saturday morning to receive this euthanasia.
The next thing I knew it was Friday evening, I was at my parents' house with Hannah and we were sat around in the front room chatting and drinking tea etc. I had been absolutely fine with the fact that I was about to die. I think I just accepted that it was going to happen and there was nothing I could do about it. My mom had taken it quite badly, and so had Hannah, I think. Dad was keeping his emotions hidden, though I think I understood that he was upset.
I was even joking about the eventuality. I can't remember exactly what happened, but I remember my response was,
"Ah well, it doesn't matter. I'll be dead by then anyway." Everyone looked at me in disgust, to which I had to reply, "Well, it's true".
This seemed to be enough. I think I received a raised eyebrow from Hannah, but that was the extent of the criticism of my words - after all, they WERE true.
Suddenly it hit me. Like a train. I was going to die tomorrow and there was nothing I could do about it. This was crazy! I felt fine, there was no way I could possibly be dying tomorrow. I began to panic and started asking why I had to die. Couldn't we just wait and see if this problem I had would kill me or not? Or surely we could at least wait a little longer before going through with this course of action. Wait until I'm in pain at least?!
I think we phoned the hospital to find out, and they're answer was no, it had to be done tomorrow. The problem I had was inevitably going to kill me, and very soon. When it happened it would be accompanied by severe pain and would completely incapacitate me. They asked whether or not I wanted the last hours of my life to be spent like that, or like I am now (for some reason, I agreed that euthanasia was the best course of action).
It was an extremely strange feeling. I have never been faced with death before (and still haven't really; it was only a dream - but I have never had such a "real" dream). Being a Christian I believed that this was not the end, however I was still a little unsure of how I felt. Whatever happened afterwards, this would be the end of this life. Full stop. Over. Never to come back to it. Leave every single aspect of it behind.
For some reason, I asked Dad to take me out for a drive. We would go to the train station and book the tickets for tomorrow (we were taking the train to the hospital...). By this point it was night. On the way there, I started to come to terms with the gravity of what was happening. My dad asked, "So are you not so sure about it now then?" (speaking of my belief in God and an afterlife). I informed him that I wasn't really concerned with what was going to happen after I died, but what wasn't going to happen.
I burst into tears as I said, "I'll never get to hold my son in my arms. Or take him over Barrel Rock." (Barrel Rock is a place in Bude, Cornwall where we go on holiday. I am quite looking forward to taking my kids there!) I think the Barrel Rock comment was specifying a more general concept of sharing experiences with a son.
At this my dad also cried. Doing those things had meant a lot to him, and he understood how horrible it would be to never get the chance to do them. We pulled up outside Rowley Regis train station. Dad said to me, "you'll still go there" (meaning Barrel Rock). I'm not really sure what that meant! I think it was my dad not quite understanding the theology of the afterlife, and assuming I believed I would be some sort of ghost or spirit able to still go places on the earth. I got the impression that he didn't actually believe what he was saying, he was just trying to make me feel better.
Then I woke up. Feeling extremely... uncomfortable. I wasn't quite awake enough to realise I had been dreaming, so I still felt that stomach turning dread of imminent death. It was truly horrible.
Throughout my dream I had been both looking forward to seeing what happens and being absolutely petrified at the thought of leaving everything I had behind, especially Hannah and the chance of having any kind of family with her. I had resolved in my dream to let her know that I wanted her to move on and that she should never feel bad about finding someone else - it's what I would want (etc. etc...) though I don't think I ever got chance to - which is possibly a subconscious attempt at admitting I would struggle with that!
Anyway, I don't think I've had a dream that has affected me this much for years and years. Ironically, the only dream that ever did was a recurring dream I had as a child where Mom had a terminal illness. What a morbid mind I appear to have!
The dream, however, has genuinely forced me to rethink my priorities. Life is not guaranteed. Life insurance only pays out money - not more life. I shall resolve to give this life the respect and attention it deserves. Not just for myself, but for all people. Thinking of the horrific events in Gaza recently, it is such a horrible thought that life has ended for so many of those people. How cheaply life is viewed. Not just by those killing others, but by we who hear the stories and think, "oh, that's a shame." It is far more than a shame. Life is such an amazing thing, and our crime is that we don't really realise.