The Fourth Bell

Afterdeath: The Fourth Bell

The Beginning

I love him and then I didn’t. I loved it and now I hate it. I loved it, then I lost it. The switch happens at times without notice. Normally, we move from one mode of thinking to another. Some call it growth, others call it fickle. No matter which side of the path you walk there are always borders trying to keep you steady. Sigmund Freud and his theories busily boxed in your emotions, tendencies, social parameters, and answered the whats and whos of normalcy. If he were alive today would any of us be normal? So why not create your own normal. Throw out the mirror stage with the paradigms. Release yourself for one day. Dive into his perception of madness, just for a second. Dare to see someone else in that mirror and see what happens. Now do not go out and commit some heinous crime for giggles. This is an internal deconstruction. Keep it neat. Go back and rewrite the messages you were fed from birth. In other words, re-become self. I chose to exaggerate this methodology because it must be a complete, no holds barred washing. Embrace the Afterdeath experience.

Going through a trial shakes loose everything we know and love about ourselves. Standing on line at a food pantry for the first time puts one in a place outside of the self we knew already. Picture a construction worker, Mike, who has made a good living for 15 years. In his mind, this life will go on forever – he is still young at 33. There are 3 cars in his driveway; one family car, a brand new pick up, and his toy. He may also have a boat. Not yacht size, but still a sign of prosperity as neighbors pass his neatly kept home. He has three children; 10, 7, and 3. His wife, Ellen, has never worked since their marriage. Before that, she was a waitress in a corner restaurant.

Ellen watches the home shopping channels between clipping coupons and catching sales at the malls. Their home is a collage of Southern Living, Better Homes & Garden, House & Home, and Chicago Home & Garden magazines. Lunch with the girls is always at her home. It always concludes with a replication of the latest infomercial, along with product demonstration and price. The girls fawn, and one by one excuse themselves for another appointment.

 Mike falls from a 15 ft. ladder at work and is rushed to the hospital. His leg is fractured in three places. No matter, he has also severed his spinal cord on a metal shard poking out of the ground. Mike has minimal health insurance, which includes a $500 co-pay. There is no savings nor retirement plan deep enough to cover his rehabilitation or mortgage costs.  After two years, the couple is financially, mentally, and socially dead.

The couple has sells their home to pay for hospital and aftercare costs. Their lives in the small apartment on the other side of town, affords them little after rent and utilities. Ellen is forced to seek out the food pantries in her area. This is the beginning of her life in the Afterdeath.