Doug George writes about his death
Doug George of Dildo has had an experience, about which few of us mere mortals live to tell. On Dec. 22, 1995, he died. However, his death isn’t what I’m writing about; if we live long enough, we will all die. It’s what came after Doug’s death that inspires my column. The fact is, he returned from the dead. In other words, he had a near-death experience.
For those unfamiliar with this concept, a near-death experience is associated with impending death, comprising many possible sensations and usually reported after a person has been pronounced clinically dead or very close to death.
Doug’s out-of-body experience forms the basis for his most recent self-published book, “Hark!” This is how it all went down.
At a pre- Christmas Eve gettogether, he devoured some dry cereal that was, unknown to him, laced with peanuts, “the sole member of nature’s legume family to which I am violently allergic,” he says.
May George drove her “wheezing, gasping and turning blue” husband to the Whitbourne Health Centre, by which time he was “well on my way into anaphylactic shock.” Shortly later, Doug died.
“Although I had spent a seemingly endless barrage of Sundays and other holy days in church,” Doug says, “it never crossed my mind that any of the stuff they talked about ... might actually be true or real … I think that I viewed religion as a combination of fairy tales wrapped up in a Santa Claus myth with an Easter bunny and a few other things thrown in to make it all palatable, if not entirely believable.”
Admittedly, over a 30-year military career, Doug had “occasion to call out to God, and to Jesus, as well, from time to time. This invariably happened when I was looking for favour, protection or salvation from something nasty, unsavoury or dangerous.”
Without a religion to call his own, he spent no time thinking about God’s existence which, he explains, he “found easier to camouflage than to advertise.” Technically, he was Church of England. “If anyone had asked, I would likely have told them where I stood on the matter, but no one did and I chose to discuss other things.”
Which perhaps is why, while prostrate on a gurney realizing death was imminent, he “was quite cross with myself for having to leave life without being quite finished with it.” With that, he was gone.
For Doug, the word “gone” in this context meant “hovering near the ceiling of the ER ... looking down upon my body.” He exclaims, “Except for the fact that I was dead, I had never felt so alive!”
He thought to himself, “if an unbelieving, semi-rejecter of God like me can be invited to the light, then surely God is there for everyone.”
Doug declares that, during his out- of- body experience, he saw something divine. “I felt it. It was with me. Whatever ‘it’ turns out to be, it is wondrous and is my God.”
The basic foundation of Doug’s enlightenment, he declares, is “God has no religion. God is wholly spiritual. Man has built religion around God to give Him more meaning or colour ; to raise His profile and saleability. Religion is there to raise awareness of God and, in some cases, just to make a cash business of life and death. Religion is a window dressing created to provide a focal point for the various ways of finding God. In the end, however, these methods are not required of us.”
If this is the case, then should religion be avoided or unnecessary? “On the contrary,” Doug continues, “the fellowship that religion brings can mean getting your whole team, your entire ecumenical family, to meet God. Teamwork is an important aspect of religion and a vital adjunct to spirituality.”
In the years since his near-death experience, Doug has devoted much thought to God and spirituality, formulating “answers to satisfy my need to learn as much as I can in the time I have remaining.”
His book, which is subtitled, “If it Hurts Naught or None, do as ye Will,” distills his evolving thinking in 13 sessions, ranging from two to 32 pages each, between the human and the divine. A word to be wise: expect the unexpected, the unorthodox. Even Doug admits, “Perhaps my personal ‘findings,’ observations and assumptions will not sit well with you. That is the chance I took when I decided to colour outside the lines and to tell you about it.”
It’s undeniable that Doug George experienced something. Whatever it was effectively changed his life. “From that time on,” he says, “I have tried, in my own small and limited ways, to be a better person overall.”