Funny thing is tho, as I finalized my packing for Pennsic, I had a strong sense that I would not be returning home from Pennsic. I didn't know what would go wrong and I wasn't sure why but I felt as if death was waiting for me along the way. Even more strange was that I didn't feel bothered by it. So sense of dread, no fear, not even an anticipation of it. I was happy to be going to Pennsic and if I met Death along the way I would hand him a beer toast to his health (or lack there of).
I was very relaxed the whole trip. Every now and then I would wonder what it would be that did me in, but then go back to anticipating what I would be doing at Pennsic. Eventually I settled on the most likely cause would be me falling asleep at the wheel, considering caffeine was not helping with the lack of sleep and I was getting droopy eyed. Funny thing is tho, I have a strong survival instinct and when I am most relaxed about things I still manage to avoid simply letting myself get killed. I figured out that if I chew something like chips, I won't fall asleep and that got me to Pennsic safe and sound.
Once there I quickly went about unloading the van and setting things up with the help of Kara and Paul. I think I hand more help but I was starting to get a little fuzzy at this point and a little dizzy (very bad sign for me, but I was too tired to realize that). With the roof up on my tent and the van unloaded I parked the van and walked the mile or so back in the sun. I was doing good physically until about three fourths of the way back when I suddenly go warm. Being tired and sleep deprived, I blew it off. Got back to camp and sat on the ground and talked to Kara and Paul for a bit. I was warm but not unbearably so, and was not sweating too much (less than I used to in the summer).
I then got up to go finnish my tent and arrange things. This is when I started to notice my muscles were starting to cramp, all over my body. Tired and sleep deprived me just thought I had over worked myself and that was normal (because I had been working hard over the past couple of days) and cracked open a gallon of water and started drinking because that is what you do at Pennsic when you are hot.
At this point things get really fuzzy and jumbled because I was really low on electrolytes. At some point I laid down and I realized how bad things were. I remember thinking "Well I guess I know how I am going to die now. Kind of makes sense now that I think about it." It was just a sort of calm acceptance of the situation. I am not sure why, probably my survival instinct kicking in, but got up and started to wander towards a more public location. Maybe it was because I had always gone to the 'Napatorium' (Rivenstar's shaded space for sleeping and cooling off) when I was hot at Pennsic. I don't know.
I do remember that just before I passed out, I was torn between 'just letting it happen' and 'calling out for help.' It is odd how you can hover in a moment, when the world moves slowly about you but it seems like an eternity. Somewhere in that time between moments, a thought dawned on me. Its hard to describe, but suffice to say that I thought of how sad it would make my friends if I were to die right then and there and at Pennsic no less.
Now I am not saying that I would have expired right then and there if I hadn't asked for help. Logically someone would have found me shortly after I fell and I would have been helped anyway. I don't think I was in any real danger because I camp with some pretty amazing people.
What is of interest is that I choose not to just lay down and die. I choose to fight. Actually the fact that there was a choice to make at all is a significant event for me. I guess it just confirms that there has been a growing lack of will to continue and that while I may not have been seeking to end my life, I was really doing nothing to hold on to it.
I guess in a way I did die at Pennsic, or at least part of me did. I really can not define exactly what part of me never left, but I am not the same person I was before I left home. In choosing to live, I let something else die. Something that was dragging me down and holding me back. I don't expect my life to change over night, because what died at Pennsic needs to be filled with something else. That may take time to grow.
I see things a little differently now, and I think new opportunities have present themselves soon. Maybe this is the catalyst for the change I have been seeking. Maybe it is just removing something that is halting the progress towards the change I have already begun. Who knows, but Death came for me, and it didn't leave empty handed.