By Kenneth Stepp
Is the title morbid, strange, depressing, or maybe all three? This all began in June of 2021. I had just married the girl of my dreams and life seemed perfect. Little did I know what would come next.
I remember sitting on the sofa we had bought together, relaxing, enjoying each other’s company and it hit me. My kids really didn’t know my heart. They knew dad but there was so much more I wanted them to know about me. I had poured my heart out in words for years but none of them read my column or books. I needed to remedy this.
I racked my brain and it hit me. Where could I preserve the body of my work and it would last? Amazon. So I became obsessed. I worked almost every day on self publishing a massive body of my work. My thoughts, prayers, hurts, etc. I didn’t know why but I felt I had to do it.
I put a collection of 500 of my pieces together in a digital book and submitted it for publication to Amazon. Two days later it was approved and published. I was unburdened knowing if something happened to me that a part of me would be left behind in perpetuity for my children.
In July Rhonda and I both caught covid. It wasn’t so bad. I did not think it was the reason my gut told me to publish such a large amount of my life but was still glad I did. Rhonda told me that she needed to go to the ER. I took her and dropped her off. Only the sick went in back then. Life was about to change forever.
After a few days Rhonda was placed on a vent. We talked for about an hour before they did this. Complications arose, treatments were banned so all they had were a few options to help her. She never came home. She would later die. It was unbearable.
I was a guy that liked a nightcap at times but not a drinker. I drown myself in booze. I just didn’t want to feel anything anymore. It took a month to kill me but kill me it did. I died 3 times and was resuscitated. Then I slipped into a coma. The doctor told my family to unplug me.
I spent 10 weeks in the hospital. My old roommate came and picked me up. I was a skeleton of the old me, I could no longer walk and at first my roommate had to help me bathe. At home I was foggy. I had not eaten in months, I was weak and used a walker. My doctor told me I had a 50% chance. I descended from Vikings. I always pictured my demise would be louder.
Flash forward 11 months after leaving the hospital and I am 30 pounds heavier, training again, and healthy as a horse. My doctor, who I saw yesterday, is still puzzled about why it looks like nothing ever happened to me.
Since gathering my thoughts and reflecting on last year it hit me. I knew I was dying soon. Something deep inside me knew it was my time. I struggle with it daily. Was it my time and others got in the way? I did die thrice. My friends tell me that if it was my time I’d be gone. That’s well meaning but sounds like an answer we pull off of a shelf to use.
I believe my heart knew it was my time. Free will, family, and maybe great genes got in the way. I don’t have any answers. I only have more questions. If I’m still here then what is my purpose? For now I am using all the experiences I have lived, heard, and known about being single to help others. Call it a default purpose I guess.
I am reminded daily that we are spirits on a physical adventure and after we are done we will be home again. I am writing this today because I needed to write it. Usually I write in hopes of helping someone else. Today I just want to understand myself better. I do know that living was not a reward. Rhonda was the best person I have ever known and she moved on.
My conclusion is our physical adventure is just that, an adventure. When we’re done we go home again. I believe we will know everything on the other side. The longer this journey is the more questions I have.