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IN MY TIME OF DYING by Sebastian Junger


How I Came Face to Face with the Idea of an Afterlife

by Sebastian Junger

Pub Date: May 21st, 2024
ISBN: 9781668050835
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A distinguished author and filmmaker reflects on how a near-fatal emergency caused him to rethink the relationship between life and death.

Throughout his life, Junger, author of The Perfect Storm and other acclaimed books, courted injury—and his own untimely demise—through high-risk activities like surfing and work as a climber for tree service companies and, later, a war correspondent. Intellectually, he always understood that “death is the ultimate consequence [and] reality” that gives human existence meaning. However, it was not until he almost lost his life to a pancreatic aneurysm, caused by an undiagnosed case of median arcuate ligament syndrome, that his understanding became more viscerally meaningful. By that time, Junger, then in his late 50s, had settled into a more quiet life with his second wife and two small daughters. One morning, sudden abdominal pain “different from any pain I’d ever known” ripped through his body and then continued on and off until the day “the floor reeled away from me as if I were standing on the deck of a ship” and he could not walk unassisted. At the hospital, doctors first thought that he had ruptured his aorta. They later pinpointed the problem as pancreatic, all while Junger lost blood and cycled in and out of consciousness. Just as he felt himself being “pulled…sternly into the darkness,” he saw his dead physicist father. Haunted by the visitation, Junger researched near-death experiences in the period after his recovery, and this luminous book is the result. The “answers” he found at the intersection of religion, philosophy, and science—that human consciousness may be woven “in the very nature” of matter that can never be fully known—intrigued him, but they also made him even more grateful for the love that bound him to the living and the dead.

Intelligent and poignantly probing.