Praying privately in churches, I began to discover that heaven was my true home and that it was here and now, woven into this life.
- Lionel Blue, rabbi, journalist and broadcaster
When our lives are ebbing away and we are beginning to decline and getting closer to death, we sense it very clearly. We see and hear things differently.
Many patients over the years have explained to me in minute detail the things they feel are changing inside their bodies. One man told me he could feel his liver shrinking; when I asked how, he simply smiled and said he felt it physically getting smaller and no longer working. Another patient, with a brain tumor, said she knew it was getting larger because she noticed that things that had always come easily to her no longer did. She felt the tumor was crowding out the parts of her brain that usually handled those things.
Patients will sometimes tell you the day they will die or say, “I will stay until my birthday and then I will go.” They do not want to spoil the day of the birthday and leave that memory with their families.
One man asked that I have his family put up their Christmas tree in October because he knew he would not be with them in December. They did and he was right. A woman told me on my visit with her that she would die that week. I called her doctor’s office to let them know what she said. The physician called back and wanted to speak to “that crazy nurse who thinks my patient is dying.” Two days later she ate a big breakfast, told her grandson that she loved him dearly and asked him to take his shower first, before her. He found her curled up on the sofa and looking very peaceful when he was finished. She had died while he showered and he called me to say, “Granny was right, Trudy; she is in heaven.” Needless to say her doctor was in shock.
It would do well for all of us to learn to listen, really listen, to those around us who are on their way to heaven. They seem to have spiritual eyes and ears and understand things on a level we do not. They are often hours or days away from their heavenly home, and God is allowing them to know more than we do. We need to listen to them.