My friend was older and medically vulnerable to the COVID-19. But she had a curiosity about death, not a fear. She told me a story about when she was only 17 years old. She had come from a lovely weekend skiing with friends on Mt Buller, and there were three of them in the back seat of this beautiful old car with heavy dark brown leather in the back. There were a few people who at that time were well-known personalities. All were really comfortable to be inside that car, driving towards home, getting out of the snow and the gale blowing outside. But suddenly she heard a sound of screeching tyres. Those old cars even had mudguards all around the car. She was sitting on the right side of the car which would be in the middle of the road. All of sudden the car crashed and skidded through a barrier, and rolled down the mountain, rolling front-over-back instead of side-over-side. She rolled with the car over the edge of Mt Buller and as it rolled through the bush, each time she landed on her head she saw stars. Later she was told by the doctor that her head band she wore to keep her hair tidy on the ski slopes was her saviour as it stopped being injured any more than just bruised. She remembered seeing her whole life pass before her eyes as the car went down a steep mountain side. She literally saw her life play out before her eyes. She saw herself as a little girl, she saw herself growing and her mother dancing with her, her relatives, her dog, and her friends. Just as she was going to say goodbye to her father the car stopped rolling. Her focus changed to outside the car into the blackness of the night and whiteness of the snow. She remembered that stark contrast of the white snow and the black sky. She climbed through the window and tried to forge her way up the mountain, feeling blood running down her leg. She called out the names of her friends and nobody answered at all. An eternity later she was up at the top of the mountain, under a railing, with no one in sight at all. Then a flashlight came towards her, urgent questions about who was in the car, where was it, and what happened to her. It was indescribable because she must have blacked out completely. She remembers thinking she had to say goodbye to her friends and then she realised that no, she did not want to leave this world. Then she must have passed out because the questioning had stopped and she was in a warm fresh linen bed in the district hospital at the bottom of Mount Buller.
In telling the story, she realised that she had actually gone towards the white bright translucent light and it was very peaceful. She felt she would never be afraid of death and hadn’t been ever since that time. So she had come to think that while the COVID-19 was certainly a danger, she wanted people to think that death needn’t be as bad an experience as sometimes seen in the news, that the COVID-19 pandemic might not be quite as frightening for people if they knew that they could walk into the white light and feel the peace that she had felt, or to sometimes choose to move away from the light and back towards life.