I died in an emergency room in Toronto in late 2002. I decided not to tell my friends about it. It seemed just...weird. Besides, I was fine.
A few months pass, and two of my friends on separate occasions tell me that I seem different. I was always a very data-driven kind of person, but I was very passionate about my hobbies and other people. But things that used to matter to me a lot, like gaming, faded. I noticed that art and music didn't hit my feelings like they had. I used to tear up every time I saw the last Calvin and Hobbes strip. "Let's go exploring" used to just destroy me. Apparently I was very distant since my trip. One friend called me an automaton.
I started to wonder about it myself. I would catch myself spending minutes or ever hours just sitting, unfocused, not thinking, just existing. Waiting for something.
I went off to college and spent the whole time not understanding the people around me at all. They were all discovering their first passions or addictions or causes, and I was just there. Existing.
I finished school and job-drifted for a while. I can work hard and stay focused basically forever.
I joined the military and soldiered for a while. I am a great medic. I don't get frightened or sad when I have to work. I just take care of my guys.
I even got married. I have three wonderful little children. I feel something there. I take care of them, and teach them to reason, be considerate of others, to respect other living things, and value themselves. But I do this because it matters. I call it love, but I love other people all the same way. The giant, meat-monster soldier who is wounded makes me feel the same urgency and compassion as my two year old son when he wants to know why the flowers died at the end of summer. The soldier, my son, and the flower are all life to me.
I died. The mechanism started up again, but the life is gone. Now I just follow my programming, and try to help the things that are still alive.