Three days before flying home from Paris last year, I had a near death experience. I knew with the dazzling clarity of a burning bush my plane would be shot from the sky and I’d perish in a fiery ball of, well, fire.
This wasn’t a prediction, or a premonition, or anything else a professional clairvoyant is supposed to get.
This wasn’t when guides appear with dire warnings. This was a fact. I knew it in my bones.
Bruce would be an orphan. I was a terrible Dog Mum and an even worse clairvoyant. Why hadn’t I seen it coming and prepared? I see things for others every day, but for myself? Nothing. Even though all decent psychics never predict death, I still felt cheated.
I had three days to get my doggy affairs in order and divert my life savings into care for Bruce. There are dogs with trust funds and he would be one of them.
Abandoning the daily grounding meditation that kept my head on straight, I launched into making a doggy inheritance fund. No time to sit around, there were documents to witness.
Except I was in Paris, knew nobody, my french extended to, “Je prend un cafe au lait,”
Some of the 72 hours remaining of my life were spent in French pharmacies getting eyed suspiciously over signing foreign documents in foreign languages. Being rejected in French made it classier.
I certainly wasn’t intending to die, not in Paris, and not over the Ukraine.
I loved my dog and I loved the tiny Paris apartment, with kooky plumbing and all the baguettes I could eat. Morning baguettes and afternoon baguettes. Baguettes with butter.
Actually, if I was going to die, I’d choose death by butter. Bordier butter tastes like sunshine on fresh grass. It’s one of the ten must eat things in Paris and a glamorous way to go.
As I smeared the keyboard with it, making big arrangements to keep Bruce in all the organic lamb shanks he could eat, time was running out. There were three days left and none wanted to sign anything. Clearly, the official route was not working.
Sweeping baguette crumbs from the laptop, I did the only thing I knew – I wrote to the four best friends I had in the world. There are many tests of true friendship and how one handles an email saying I’m going to die in a fiery ball over Ukraine, is one of them. I wrote to the ex-husband first.
Six hours later, Ex-husband called, asking in a humouring tone if I was OK, and why was I sending him large lumps of cash?
‘My life savings has to be available to keep Bruce in the style he’s accustomed to,’ I said, ‘because I’m dying in a fiery ball over Ukraine.’
And being an ex-hubby, he totally understood.
The second person was Bruce’s Aunty Lou; dog whisperer. She promised to tuck him in every night with a kiss. Lou got a cash treat for that. The other two I emailed? Zip. Nothing. Not a word.
By boarding time, I knew who my friends were.
Trusted people who’d step up for the one furry love of my life, and loved me in all my weirdness.
Facing death makes life feel suddenly delicious, and grateful for friends who understand. By this time Bruce had $20,000 in an unofficial trust fund, and someone to tuck him into his heated dog bed at night.
The stopover in Dubai was four hours. In the Emirates lounge, there was time for a shower and a long overdue meditation; a red-faced chat with the wiser self who knew the difference between flights of fire and flights of imagination.
After the third glass of Moet, I called the ex-husband. ‘I made it over Ukraine, ‘I said, ‘now send back my money.’