It was a warm summer day around 3:00 PM. My cousin Troy and I were goofing off as kids usually do. We took our grandmother’s four-wheeler out for a ride on her farm. For a couple hours we were having fun, but it took a turn for the worse when we became reckless. At the time, Troy was driving the vehicle and I was on the back. We were performing high speed maneuvers on the sides of hills for a bit of fun. We were accelerating on the side of a hill. Here in Kentucky you’d be hard pressed to find a flat stretch of land. I remember telling Troy to go faster so I could soothe the burns on my legs with the wind. I burned them on the engine due to wearing shorts. As we topped our speed around 40mph we reached a point where we encountered a barbed wire fence. We weren’t paying much attention at the time. By the time we realized it, it was too late to slow down. The only option was to make a hard turn. Troy did just that, and the next second felt like the longest second of my entire life.
When we did a hard turn, the vehicle flipped and we were thrown off. I felt a split second of fear until I was suspended in midair. While in midair I felt a sudden serenity, and emptiness. It felt so empty, that I felt like I could float in the air like a balloon. That’s when a sudden burst of pure thought flowed through my mind. The thought contained an immense amount of information. It contained pretty much every single thing I’d done in my short amount of life and flashed into my head; the good times, the bad times, and everything in between. There were even memories that were seemingly insignificant. One such thought was the very first time I made eggs and bacon for my parents at the age of 5. The entire time, I felt both happiness and some guilt over the people I wronged. Fortunately as a 12 year old I didn’t encounter too many people I had wronged yet, so the guilt was on the light side.
Then the most significant part happened. I saw my death. I was within my body and landed hard on the ground. I saw my cousin land a few feet next to me. I felt a sharp pain in my arm, it felt like it was broken. I barely had time to register before the four wheeler landed right on me. I was crushed under its weight and speed of impact. It was all so suddenthat I couldn’t really register what happened. Right before the impact, I thought in the back of my head, ‘Is this it? Am I supposed to die now?’
Then I was engulfed in darkness for what felt like a few minutes. It wasn’t a terrifying darkness, it was comforting. It was like the feeling I get when I’m in a waiting room at a clinic and reading a magazine. I felt like I was waiting for something in relative comfort before I was called in by a nurse to see the doctor. Then all of a sudden, a flash of light happened and I snapped back into reality.
When I came to, I was still in midair and everything was going on in slow motion. I could look around and see what was going on in vivid-detail like someone slowed time down to 20%. After a couple seconds of that, it’s like someone pressed the resume button. Everything went full speed ahead. I landed hard on the ground just like I did when I witnessed my death. On the very same side, I busted my left arm on the landing. I didn’t have time to register the four-wheeler landing 2 inches away from my right side and continuing to flip down the hill after me. My cousin again landed a few feet away from where I was. He seemed to take less damage due to the way he tumbled on impact. After a few seconds we both got up in confusion.
Troy slowly got up and limped after the four-wheeler that was now about 50 feet away from us. I got up, clutching my arm, and wondering what happened. I asked my cousin if he felt or saw anything strange but he said nothing happened. I stood there for a couple of minutes clutching my left arm, wondering if I actually died, or didn’t die and this was all a dream. Then after collecting my thoughts and calming down, Troy drove up next to me. He fetched the four-wheeler and it was still operational. We drove back to our grandmother’s house and explained what happened. She took us inside and inspected my arm, luckily it was only a sprain. She made a makeshift sling, put my arm in it, and didn’t worry about taking us to the doctor. We were bruised, cut and shaky, but we didn’t seem to have anything wrong with us. Neither of us landed on our heads – thankfully.
To this day, I wonder if I was destined to die that day or if by some divine intervention, I was saved from death. When I got older and learned about the pseudoscience of parallel universes, I had a distinct thought that maybe the ‘me’ that died was another me in another Universe. I thought that somehow, in that moment, we were linked together through thought. I’m still not sure what to make of it, it was a close call that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.