Someone Else’s Near Death Experience Changed Me

One of My Favorite Stories to Mark the 1st Anniversary of BMT

Bonnie Barton
4 min readOct 15, 2018


Credit: Gabriel Brandt via

I made my first post on Medium under the Bonnie’s Mixed Tape publication exactly a year ago, October 15, 2017.

In honor of the first anniversary of my writing publicly, I’m sharing one of my very favorite personal stories (with accompanying song, natch).

It’s one of the most defining moments of my life and altered me in such a profound way that I still feel its effects to this day.

Obviously being a parent, getting married (and divorced), and a number of other life events have been life-changing.

In fact, I suppose I should say one of those other experiences is my most transformative, but in some ways what I am about to share is the most impactful moment of my life.

Just a regular day. During my grad school days. I must have been 22 or 23.

I was far away from my friends and family. E-mail was still a few years away, so a letter or phone call was the only means of communication to connect me with that part of my life.

An old high school pal (I’ll call him “T”) called me on the phone. He was still in Florida and would call from time-to-time to catch me up on his and our mutual friends’ lives.

We chatted for a few moments when the conversation took an unexpected and dramatic turn.

T: You heard that Franni’s dying, right?

(Franni was a mutual high school friend of ours. In fact, he was a very dear friend of mine. Franni was in the Philippines working on his MD when he fell deathly ill.)

That moment felt like something out of a movie: I’m sure that T kept talking, but I didn’t hear another word he said for several seconds.

My mind reeled and everything stopped.

I panicked!

And this is why: I distinctly remember thinking to myself that I had never told Franni how important his friendship was to me, how wonderful I thought he was.

My reserved, shy, and introverted ways had prevented me from saying those things out loud. I had thought them, but I…



Bonnie Barton

Queen of mixtapes. Lover of music, travel, and fashion. Authentic sharer of life lessons and dating foibles.