In 2022, Peter Jakubowicz suffered a massive heart attack while playing hockey and died on the ice. For Slate, he recounts watching his death in a recording of the game and waking up in the ICU in the aftermath, the afterlife’s murky depths in his peripheral vision.
My death occurred while playing beer-league hockey at the Winterhawks Skating Center in Beaverton, Oregon. My signs of life—breath, heartbeat, movement, the ability to perceive and form memories—left me. When I came back, I became fixated on the period I’d lost, what had happened to me and where I’d gone. It turned out there was more out there than I bargained for.
This is the forgotten story of my forgotten death.
My memories were wiped by luck, ketamine, fentanyl, midazolam, and propofol. I had passed through the pain and terror that haunted other survivors and emerged brain and wicked wrister intact. But what I’ve realized is that watching myself die was liberating, like watching the death of my stand-in, who was later reassembled as a new version of myself.