Suddenly there was a different significance in everything. Sometimes I disappeared from myself. Everything stilled. I’d be watching a bird pecking around on the gravel and yet there was no one inside me to watch. I would look around the room I was in, but no one inside me was looking. I lost all concept of time passing. Fear didn’t exist. Then gradually the world would begin to re-form into a more familiar state.

After one of these experiences I would be confused and tired and dissatisfied. I’d go for long walks and reorganise the flower garden, moving the plants from where they’d always lived to somewhere else. At first I thought I might be dying myself, I thought that perhaps I had a brain tumour. Once or twice I almost said it to Sean but the words didn’t come. Once out, there’d be doctors and tests, and the possibility of treatment. Sometimes I saw Sean look at me then look quickly away. So he, too, had decided to say nothing.

Then I began to realise that something different was going on, that the stillness came from a different level. When there was no one there, I hadn’t left myself, it was only that my ‘I’ had been dissolved into something wider.

And I understood afresh that everyone is always inside the act of dying at the same time as being inside the act of living. The door is always open, and there’d been no choice for you anymore than there’d be choice for me if I had a fatal and inoperable brain tumour. You’d simply walked through the door that you’d stood beside since the day of your birth.