I fell down – finally – ten months after I nearly died

I dreaded that point in the evening when the sun would kiss goodnight, and darkness set in – just after five pm. Bedtime was like Groundhog Day.

It seemed a garden spring was permanently installed right behind my eyes because as soon as I turned out the lights, the water would drip in every direction down my face. I couldn’t understand this, there was a sadness that wanted to be released yet I had no idea where all the water was coming from. My face was equally watered in the same way first thing in the morning. My routine became habitual. I would sit on the loo, see my reflection on the wall across, my long eyelashes congealed – stuck together in clumps with yellow goo, I would then untangle, pick and brush them, and then clean my teeth and shower myself before I got going on my list of things from my diary. But only after a week of this I started to find it hard to even get out of bed. I began to feel alone and isolated, and even though I had wonderful and supportive friends, that loneliness was a direct result of bottling my unresolved feelings inside. A release was bound to have been forced out of me sooner or later. It did. It tumbled, crashed and crumbled on that Friday on the third week in February 2011.

That was after ten months in a peace, when I had moved to an isolated area in the west of Ireland for a new project.

That was when I fell down. I started to write a massive event from last year, associating with the eeriness of what had occurred. It was like raising a corpse. I realised I had not dealt with the emotion. I tormented myself, I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to take life from me – I couldn’t comprehend why anyone wanted my last breath – why would anyone want to kill me? Two days passed in February 2011 where I barely slept and did not eat. On the Friday morning of day three, at nine am I fell down. I physically collapsed with exhaustion. I woke several hours later by the kitchen table where I had fallen and crushed my side. I cried – it didn’t stop. I was dealing with the biggest carousel of emotion in my life.

You see, nearly a year ago I experienced something I never even thought would happen again. I experienced the unimaginable sensation of not being able to breathe. Looking back I thought I had taken my last breath ever. It didn’t dawn on me until a month ago that I could be dead. But I am not. I have another chance, another shot to continue at life. Life is the most important asset to me, you see – it always had been, I could have always talked perpetually about the massive beauty of a wildlife of animals immersed in the wilds in any part of the globe; but the thing was the experience of near-death gave a whole new meaning to live; an elevation to living; and an understanding of love on a whole new level.

When I was in my teens, I got quinsy, a condition where my tonsils swelled so much that they joined together and I could not breathe then either. I remember my mother throwing me in the back seat of the car, my sister holding me, and she sped to the Bon Secours hospital in Cork city, taking no prisoners. I was her child, and this was her emergency. Fully conscious, the doctor had to cut my tonsils immediately to allow air through. The relief was second to none – the intense pain of the conscious procedure never registered with me because it allowed a breath to finally enter my body. I’ll never forget though when I was finally able to take that belly breath. Air was the most important thing in the world to me at that moment. That was twenty years ago. Over the years, I learned to forget how it felt when I was blue in the face with no air in my system. Last year I relearned that.

My breath was taken again last year, in May 2010. I never expected it. I never thought that the man I snuggled up with at night, the man that curled beside me, a man that shared my love of the outdoors, a man that was seemingly open-hearted and loving and playful, this man that I made unconditional love to, a man tormented yet so well hidden, a man that would want to choke me to a final breath. No words can describe the feeling of being pinned knowing no new breath was coming. I seriously thought it was my last moment ever. That moment between moments as I begged through my eyes to my attacker was one where I no longer saw my partner, the loving man I thought I knew, instead I saw a man that resembled him, a vicious stranger wearing a mask that took his place. I was choked to unconsciousness. The ghosts of the attack left blood stains through all of the three downstairs rooms of our house. I saw this when I took a lonely walk back there days later to gather the remnants of my belongings. I left him after I recovered from another stint in hospital.

I never prosecuted despite being strongly advised to do so. There are many reasons for that which is a fifteen page journal entry alone. The point being that for the ten months that followed this attack I experienced a beautiful peace, a freedom of spirit. I prayed for new friends that were spiritually connected and they came in abundance – I was suddenly the luckiest woman in the world. It was a processing period, no delusions, and beyond a shadow of a doubt I never felt self-pity or a victim in any manner – it moved me to a totally new level in my life. That was the key – life. And life is nothing without real love. It opened my heart hugely to love more openly and more deeply. It taught me there is no remorse, embarrassment, or guilt in openly displaying a heart of hearts.

I am not pious in any manner, I am not some sort of ‘holy Joe’, what happened for the first time in my life was that I didn’t torment myself about a seriously unfortunate event. I was so free; inside and outside. Some of the best friends I ever had entered my life in the months that followed that possible death – two in particular held my spirit high – one male and one female – not through the analysis of the event itself but through motivation, encouragement and enthusiasm in a strong reminder of who I am. No pink furry cotton wool was put around me, it was the firmness of the support of all that I really am. Someone who is resilient, someone who is a go-getter in life, someone who still strongly believes that she can rescue even dead animals – these two friends brought a strong reminder of that which I was as a child –  the world where I lived in then where nothing was impossible.

Yet, it was the most emotional and harrowing day of my life when I fell down with exhaustive emotion last February. On day three of intensive exhaustion. Ten months after the event. I reached for my friends again.

I knew I wanted emotional support. Most of all I wanted to be listened to, I wanted to be understood. I held no resentment to my ex-partner, what I wanted was someone to help me separate the wood from the trees, I wanted someone to hold my spirit, fragile and brittle. I wanted most of all to unashamedly cry without being judged, I wanted to pour everything out without prejudice, I wanted to let it all flow whether it made sense of not. Most of all, I wanted to unconditionally experience that love that I give out rebound back to me in force. I actually needed to know that I too, was also loved. The reassurance, yet most of all I wanted the reminder. It was vitally important to my spirit – this reminder of love. It was critical to return to my usual zest for life.

Sometimes love can be misconstrued. You see I have an embedded belief which is a romantic projection of love all over the world, and not necessarily a romantic conjecture to one. This is not easy for many to ‘get’ about me; I am sometimes conceived as naive for such faith. It also sometimes gets me in trouble in accordance with the rules, regulations, beliefs and attitudes of others – because my vision of the world does not fit into another’s model of how it should be. This has even caused interference in my life.

BUT I AM the most resilient person I know. As one of my friends says, the only thing that would ever stop me is a head on collision with a train. He calls me the Hummingbird. And understanding this, I can cry endlessly over this harrowing experience in such friends presence, they don’t bat an eyelid. They know they only have to hold me up temporarily with an open invitation to come back. This means the world to me.

Because if there isn’t love – there is nothing.



About Mairéad Whyte

Published author, Mairéad Whyte guides you toward creativity. She is the author of the novels: ‘All for Grace’, and ‘The Butterfly’ – both quirky novels on love and life. Mairéad is also currently writing her third novel, 'Shining Light : Casting Shadows.' Her writing is endorsed by Miriam O'Callaghan, RTE; several newspapers and; Colm Keane, Award-Winning Journalist and No 1 Best-Selling Author. Mairéad Whyte is a keen mountaineer; and in addition to being a volunteer for the new cancer charity, OvaCare; she is a co-organiser of the Galway Social Club, a member of Network Galway and an associate of Galway’s Junior Chamber. As a personal performance coach, her life-path has integrated her scientific background and her vivacity for life with her vision of spirituality – one that inspires us to be true to our hearts. Mairéad has lived and worked throughout the world. She has presented at many global conferences, has published several newspaper articles and made radio appearances. Born in Cork, she lives in Galway. More information, reviews, acclaims and details of Mairéad’s creative writing classes may be found at www.maireadwhyte.com.
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13 Responses to I fell down – finally – ten months after I nearly died

  1. Jonathan says:

    You said it – I’ve seen it! A lovely sharing – J

  2. Adam Shaw says:

    Well done Mairead.
    This is a deeply moving and honest account of something that many would not be so swift to reach a positive outcome. Thank you for sharing your journey.
    Much love to you,
    Adam x

  3. This was deeply touching Mairead and will inspire many of the strength we have within despite pain and suffering and uplift others who have gone through the trauma of domestic violence and weren’t sure how they would come out the other end.

    Much love … always
    Sherron xx

  4. Joan says:

    That is a beautiful sharing – so honest and brave. It will help a lot of people in understanding that it is ok to fall down sometimes and that we can get back up again. It definetely helps me.
    Love always,

  5. Lorraine says:

    Well done Mairead, I know it must have taken a lot of courage to share like this, I’m proud of you xx

  6. Shelley VanStrien says:

    I too am very proud of you Mairead. Your courage and honesty to share this deeply personal part of your life is deeply moving. Your embedded belief of a romantic projection of love, has reached this part of the world. I get it. Always know that this part of the world sends love right back to you in full force.
    I am so proud to have you as a friend!

  7. I am honoured that so many of you took time to write and message me with your personal stories and bravery in the past few days. I am privileged that in the sharing of my own true story in my last article that you are encouraged to share such personal information also. I commend everyone who has written. Ladies in Canada, US, Ireland and the UK – you know who you are. The journey you have had is not only an inspiration to others, it is reflective of your search and finding grace within your own lives.
    With much love to you all, Mairéad.

    • Shelley VanStrien says:

      Much love to you Mairead for taking the time to listen. Your love to others is unconditional and true. You are a beautiful Lady with an open heart full of kindness. A brave heart after everything you have been through. I pray for continued healing and much, much happiness for you always!
      Your Friend

  8. Kate Revins says:

    Well mairead, I am so so so proud of you, to have relayed this part of your life to all. It shall help numerous number of people to either get help or come forward and tell their story, no matter how large or small the incident. You shall help those to relive again. get up and go again. This is our world and we have to live it to the best of our ability and beliefs…
    I am also proud to have you as my sister, and to say yes i was over with you after this terrible incident, and looking at you today can she a beautiful lady who has moved forward and still able to open heartly love and give kindness to all. I love you my sister and friend K xxx

  9. Katrina says:

    I just thought I’d check out your website to see how an old friend was doing, and am truely & deeply saddened to read this story Mairead. I’m at a loss for words, but am so glad you’ve had the inner strength and family & friends close to you to help you through this. With much love, Katrina xxx

    • Thanks Kat 🙂 So beautiful to hear from you.
      The truth is that after it immediately happened, I had a beautiful few months of internal peace and focused hard on my writing 🙂
      Of course, I was being allowed that and then in a new space, the emotions popped up and over 10 weeks to deal with the whole process, incredible though as it freed me so much …

      Hope all is well dear friend. Always lovely to hear from you.

      Love, Mairéad. xx

  10. Dear Mairead,
    A Chinese proverb came to my mind when I read your text:
    “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.”
    Your windmills give us all energy and light… Thank you.

    • Thank you – that is a beautiful analogy. I appreciate this. Your thinking is also very indicative of how you also get the walrus in your life to work for you – I love your blog!

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