Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On NDE's and the Other Side

When I was taking hospice training a few years back, a nurse who was also taking the training told us the best story I have ever heard about a near-death experience. Cathy, being a nurse, explained that when she was first practicing, she was fresh out of school, clinically trained, taught a scientific approach to making sick people well. She is now a highly spiritual person, but in those early days as a nurse, she said she had no real spiritual beliefs and was skeptical of anything that wasnt scientifically based.

Until this happened.

There was a sweet elderly lady on the floor who had been there long-term and whom all the nurses loved because of her lovely disposition. The day came when this lady passed away. The doctor pronounced her dead and left the room. The nurses began preparing for her to be moved down to the morgue. Cathy said they were crying a bit, and also talking and laughing a little about something, not disrespectfully, but in an effort to ease the tension, since they were upset at this lady's passing.

Cathy was tying a tag on her toe when she looked up and realized the woman's face was regaining some color. She ran into the hall and called for the Doctor: "Mrs. P. is pinking up!"

"No way!" the doctor said, rushing back.

But it was true. Mrs. P. was still alive, or had been dead and come back to life. She was breathing. They whisked her away to ICU and Cathy didnt think much about her, busy with other patients. Then one day, about two weeks later, Cathy looked up from her duties to see Mrs. P. walking towards her with a big smile on her face. "I want to tell you something," the old woman said.

Cathy said she must have had a look on her face that totally resisted what had happened. Mrs. P. said, "No, please listen. When I died, I could see and hear all of you. I saw what the doctor was doing, and I heard you and the other nurse saying....." and she relayed to her their exact conversation. Cathy was stunned. But there was more.

"While I was away," the woman continued, "I saw my husband's hand come down from heaven and reach out to me. I placed my fingers on his palm, but just then he withdrew his hand, and told me it wasnt time for me to come yet, there was still work for me to do on earth. I wanted to go with him, I didnt want to come back, but I had no choice.

"While I was not present in my body, I was up above the earth, looking down. Other beings were around me. I think they were angels. I could see how beautiful earth is, and I kept seeing lights arcing up from the earth, up into the sky. Some were small and flickering, some were really strong and powerful.

"I asked what the lights were and the angels told me they were prayers people were sending up, and the strongest ones were the prayers of mothers for their children.

"Then I found myself back in my body." The woman smiled at Cathy and walked away......and at that moment Cathy began her spiritual journey and became a believer.


  1. Oh, that's lovely..something like that might even ressucitate my shattered faith! I do find the nursing staff in hospices to be remarkable people. With my dad, and with Mike's, it was the nurses who guided us through the bewildering process of watching someone die, and they were the first to grab us up in a hug when it was all over. Your warmth and compassion make you a natural choice to be part of this process, heartbreaking as it is. I imagine the patients you companioned were much comforted.

    Thanks for sharing this's a lovely, reflective way to start the day...


  2. I love hospice work so much. Maybe this fall I can return to it. Having companioned my grandma and then my mother through their dying, I seem to have little discomfort around death, and see it as a transition. Our souls journey on. I read Many Lives, Many Masters, which was WONDERFUL, about our souls' journey.

    It is a gift to be with someone as they make that final journey. A gift to the person, but also a gift to oneself. Now it will be a real test if I have to sit through a less natural death of someone close to me. It is one thing at the end of one's life. I truly hope I dont have to sit beside a dying child of mine, that would likely throw my lofty acceptance right out the window, and be my worst nightmare.

    And I am dreading Pup's death so much, I know the grief is going to rock me.

    Yes, nurses are wonderful. Heroic.

    Am thinking next I will write about the sense of wonder.......

  3. Sherry, thank you for sharing this meaningful peace.


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