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The meaning of this classic Blue Öyster Cult song (incidentally also the theme song to the TV adaption of Stephen King's The Stand) has been much debated. Is it really about two people committing suicide together? The band says no: it's just a song about not fearing death, and Buck Dharma is supposed to have written the lyrics in a phase of his life where he thought he was dying, and it was just his way to cope with the situation.

My personal take is that this song is a charmingly pop-cultural variation on the old theme of Death and the Maiden, which is about Death telling the Maiden not to fear him... "you shall sleep peacefully in my arms". This way it makes a lot of sense to me.

HIM probably had a similar idea when they interpreted their version of this song, which is a male/female duet. Alas, it's pretty much that version's only virtue, as it drags on with what seems like half the tempo of the original and the "la la la" choruses sound incredibly stupid that way.

The number 40,000 mentioned in the song is not the number of people committing suicide or dying every day, as has been claimed. All around the globe, some 140,000 people die each day. The number 40,000 thus can't be the number of daily deaths or daily suicides, since this would mean that nearly every third man or woman commits suicide, which is clearly not the case.

By the way, there's a cover version of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Apollo 440 that sounds pretty cool. It's one of the few pieces of electronica I like. Don't ask me about the exact denomination of the subgenre, though.

I know so much more about what my path was all about now than I ever did before.

Every step forward on the path provides a little more knowledge, a little more understanding.

My mission was best realized in the way it was transmitted to me in dreams by my unconscious. "The Jack serves the Queens, the Queens serve the realm."

It the function of the therapist to inspire clients to empower themselves. They provide tools and the know-how. It only works if you apply it.

What was it that Tina was always so afraid to ever tell me, even though it was always right on the tip of her tongue?

The first part of the mission was specific. It was meant to prove a point, that unlike I believed at the time of my suicide, my life had purpose and I could have a positive effect on other people. I've always had a natural affinity with women, and this was someting I frequently misinterpreted in my early life. I revered and marvelled at girls and women when I was young, seeing them as mysterious creatures that I desperately wanted to understand, but my efforts at friendship with them were often misunderstood, and then in puberty I lost sight of it completely, always reading it as undying romantic love worthy of epic poetry.

There was something about how often Tina would ask me about the date of my suicide as she struggled with what to say to me and what not to. Here I was, weird long-haired dude with a confident and sometimes cocky demeanor, telling her I died and came back from the dead to find her and somehow help her. No one knows how to respond to that. How do you process that? I gave her three years. In the end she said our meeting was a miracle and she had gained faith and hope, and lost her fear of death. Someone once asked me if her obsession with asking me many times, on different nights, what the date of my suicide meant she doubted she'd heard it right? Could that mean she had decided to attempt suicide that same night believing no one cared about her or what happened to her?

In the end, it does not really matter. There are many interpretations, and Tina herself has vanished without a trace. It had been a revelation given to me by the order of things, that which defies explanation, to show me in a profound way that I could make a difference in the lives of others, and in turn the world. That I had a natural affinity with women in addition to this gives perspective to "The Jack serves the Queens, the Queens serve the realm." Put together with "Give everything you can to everyone you know" it is easy to piece together. We are here in service to each other and for each of us that means a path is open to us, a path that requires we commit to a life of service to others. It is up to you whether or not to choose this path. There are many others to choose from.

What matters is that I didn't understand during the time I knew her what the question was for the answer she kept giving me, every time I saw her during those three years. If I had known the question, I wouldn't have been there for three years looking for it. And then it would have been all about me and my answer and not about her. The answer wasn't going to be handed to me on a piece of paper, written out in detail. The answer didn't appear because I kept asking the wrong questions. I was asking why she was there, how she could exist, this woman from my dreams. The question wasn't why she was there, the question was why I was there, and in turn, why I am here in this frame of existence we occupy.

The question I was asked in death was not was whether I accepted the desert, what I had stated in writing was all I was, a pathetic excuse for a human being who didn't matter and wasn't worthy of love, was the final exam grade on this life I was willing to accept or did I want to take the test again and see if I came up with a different result.

Walking through this life with no fear of death is very empowering, but I also owe a debt to the reaper. I vowed to get a different result this time.

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