They were part of their loved ones’ journeys from this life to the next…
Posted in , Jul 23, 2021
It seems incredible, but what if we had the chance to share in our loved ones’ journeys from this life to the next? In a mystical phenomenon known as a shared-death experience, people report that they have been given the chance to see into life after life as a dying family member or friend passes. Whether it’s a glimpse of heaven or an inexplicable visit from the person who is on the way there, these amazing encounters bring comfort, closure and evidence of the wonder that exists beyond.
The Dream Kim Carroll from Panama City, Florida
For two weeks, my 82-year-old mother had been hospitalized with Covid-19. It was agonizing not being able to be with her and comfort her through her illness. It was touch-and-go for a while, and I worried that she might pass away without me by her side. Finally, her doctor called one afternoon and let us know that Mom was well enough to be transferred from the ICU to a rehab facility. I would be able to see her the next day.
That night, knowing that Mom was on the mend, I drifted off to sleep easily for the first time since she got sick—and was transported somewhere else. A room took shape around me. I recognized this place. It was the den of my childhood home. I was sitting next to my mother, who was in a hospital bed. My brother, Chuck, sat across from me. We were playing cards, something we’d all loved doing together when Chuck and I were kids. Mom, who was normally a very serious person, looked relaxed and joyful.
Mom looked up from the game and caught my gaze. “This is the happiest day of my life,” she said. Chuck and I laughed. How could this be the happiest day of her life?
Then something behind me caught Mom’s attention. She looked off over my shoulder, her expression radiating wonder. “Tell your friends it’s all true,” she said. What was she looking at? I didn’t turn around. I just looked at Mom’s face, and then I woke up.
My alarm had gone off . I sat up in bed, the experience still lingering. Just a dream, I thought. It was odd, though. I truly felt like I had just been sitting with Mom. Like we’d had a visit. And that whatever she’d seen over my shoulder had been too profound, too amazing for me to understand just yet.
I walked downstairs to the kitchen. My husband handed me a cup of coffee. “You have the strangest look on your face,” he said. I tried to explain but was interrupted by the phone ringing. It was the hospital.
“Your mother took a turn for the worse last night. She is about to pass,” said the nurse on the phone. “A nurse from your church is with her. She isn’t alone…”
But deep down, I knew that. Even though I wasn’t there with her physically, I’d been given a chance to be with her in spirit and to see her joy as she entered heaven.
The Vision Sheila O’Connor Dixon from Daytona Beach Shores, Florida
My boyfriend, Bobby, and I had been together only nine months when we learned the shocking news that he had terminal colon cancer. Bobby was 38 years old and seemed so healthy. He was an adventurous, outgoing guy who loved the outdoors. We spent all of our free time together going to the beach, swimming at the pool and even taking a trip to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. It had been a whirlwind romance. And yet, while it was a short relationship, it was strong.
We decided Bobby should go up to Boston to be closer to his family and a better cancer clinic. I would stay at my home in Orlando and travel up on the weekends. Over the next few months, I did everything I could for Bobby and his family. I planned for his passing, took him to his favorite places and helped organize a peaceful vacation for everyone at Bobby’s family’s Cape Cod house.
Bobby had always been a tall, strong guy, but each time I came to visit, I noticed he was increasingly weak and frail. Toward the end, he was in near constant pain and struggling to keep down crackers and juice. He’d lost so much weight. My heart broke seeing him like that.
One day, when I was back at home in Orlando, I got a call from Bobby’s brother. “He doesn’t have much time,” he said. “Can you come up today?” I dropped everything and jumped on the next plane to Boston. When I arrived, Bobby’s whole family was there. His dad, siblings and nieces. Bobby was in his hospital bed, an oxygen mask on his face. He looked so small. I waved at him, went to his bedside and squeezed his hand. He squeezed back in recognition.
Each family member said their goodbyes to him and left the room until just his brother and I remained. Bobby had decided he wanted the two of us there when he passed. We both held his hands. The heart monitor’s beeping slowed, and then his breathing stopped. He was gone.
I looked toward the wall and saw something odd. First, it started to shimmer. Then a small tunnel appeared, stretching out before me, leading somewhere. Was I imagining things? I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again. The tunnel was still there. I glanced over at Bobby’s brother. He didn’t seem to notice it.
Then I saw a person walking through the tunnel away from me. As he turned to look at me, I saw that it was Bobby. I almost didn’t recognize him. He looked completely restored to health. The way he was when I’d first met him. So full of life. With the biggest smile on his face, he waved goodbye to me and then continued through the tunnel. I looked ahead to the end of the tunnel and saw a field with trees bathed in the most beautiful light. Bobby stepped through, and the scene disappeared. But that image of him—healed, happy and in heaven—will stay with me the rest of my life.
The Visitor James Dee Watson from Comanche, Oklahoma
Saturday, I woke up with a severe stomachache. I was supposed to go visit my mother that weekend, but my wife insisted I go to the ER instead. I called Mom to let her know what was going on, and that I’d come see her once this was all figured out. “Let me know how it goes,” she said.
At the hospital, we learned that it wasn’t just a stomachache. I had two blood clots. Doctors immediately started emergency treatments to dissolve them. I was scared and in a lot of pain. On Sunday afternoon, I was wheeled downstairs for a sonogram. The technician momentarily excused herself from the room, pulling a curtain closed around the table I lay on.
A moment later, someone pulled back the curtain. It was my mom! I didn’t know she was coming to see me. She smiled and held her finger up to her lips before I could say anything. “I’ve spoken with the doctor,” she said, “and you’re going to be okay!”
She let the curtain fall in front of her and was gone. I laid my head back on the table and let out a sigh of relief. Mom was here and I was going to be okay. For the first time that weekend, I felt hopeful.
After the sonogram, I was wheeled back to the room where my wife and niece were waiting. I didn’t see my mom anywhere.
“Mom is here!” I told them. “She came down to the sonogram room and told me the doctor said everything was going to be okay.” My wife and niece looked at each other, then at me. My wife sat on the edge of the bed and took my hand.
“Honey, your mom isn’t here,” she said. “While you were in the sonogram room, we got a call from your sister. Your mom had a stroke earlier this morning. I’m so sorry…” She went on to explain that Mom was at the hospital near her house. Doctors said she had no brain activity. They were waiting for my sisters to get there to say goodbye. I took in the news, shocked and confused. How could that be? I had just seen her!
I was in critical care for two weeks, so I wasn’t able to go to my mom’s funeral. I think that’s why I got that final visit. It gave me closure. And her words kept me strong until I made a full recovery.
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