The ultimate shift...

“Life without a friend is like death without a witness." Spanish proverb

Last week, I told you all about my gig with the Sheriff's Department. Well,something happened after I left their offices for the last time that I will never forget.

I was hauling ass from Hendersonville to my acting studio to film a commercial audition that was due within the hour. Going about 60 mph across the Bowen Bridge (pictured below), I was rehearsing lines in my head when I saw a man standing on the side of the bridge.

His image is forever seared into my mind - about 60 years old, wearing a red T-shirt and a red baseball hat. I did a double take and noticed that he was on the outside of the railing.

And then he wasn't.

It wasn't a dramatic nosedive, it was a simple step off the ledge.

And I couldn't believe it.

I found myself rationalizing that he must have been bungee jumping, or that there was a ledge below the one I could see...that there was some explanation for what he did.

I immediately called 911 to report it. I later called the police department to see if I could get an update, but they couldn't give me any information.

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Later that day, I found out the man had not survived.  And even though I feel very strongly that (a) we are eternal beings, (b) there is no such thing as death, and (c) he is in a much happier place, I lost it.
It was very much an out-of-body experience as waves of grief, guilt and disbelief passed through me, coming out as heaving sobs.

For even though I knew that it happened in a matter of seconds and that there was nothing I could have done, I blamed myself. I told myself I could've slammed on my brakes on that busy bridge and talked him over to the other side.

You see, my time at the Sheriff's Department had me asking myself if I could ever be a first responder - like a police office, EMT or firefighter.
Boy, did I get my answer.

When I woke up the next morning, however, I realized I got a lot more than that:

First , I felt a mountain of gratitude for all the wonderful people in my life who knew about the incident and checked in on me. At first, I thought they were overreacting, like what I had witnessed wasn't as big a deal as everyone was making it out to be.

But that was the shock talking. I did need that support. I had never witnessed a death before and as much as my mind was telling me I was fine, my body obviously was taking it much harder. So I allowed myself that time to grieve and process, and I'm so glad I did.

Second, I felt so much appreciation for all the first responders out there, who risk their lives to be there for people in their time of need. I know now I could never do what they do day in and day out. What courageous souls.

Third, I found a new-found zest for life. Maybe you can relate, but there have been times in my life when things seemed so hard that I asked myself if I really wanted to go on. After seeing that man jump, my answer became crystal clear - I have a lot more living to do!

Finally, I got back to my knowing that all is well and that he is at peace. I actually felt him come to me when I was back in my happy place. Being able to witness his transition so he wasn't completely alone, and make sure his body was found so his family can have some closure, made my pain worthwhile.

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I know this isn't a typical blog post, but thank you so much for reading it. As I said in the title, transitioning from the physical to non-physical plane is the ultimate shift. I wish we humans didn't make death into such a traumatic experience, considering we all go through it eventually. CLICK TO TWEET

So don't wait - tell someone you love them, start that project that's been lingering in your mind, begin a healthy habit that will make you feel better in your body. Live your life fully. In doing so, you will honor the man I saw who was in too much pain to do so himself.

Please share your thoughts and feelings about this week's post on our Facebook page. I'm truly curious to know...

All my love,
Emily