Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Recommended Posts

I just received Final Gifts from Amazon.com and read about half of it today. It was recommended by one of my wife Janet's Hospice nurses shortly before she died. If you are not familiar with this book, it is about "Nearing Death Awareness" and includes many short case studies of patients' experiences as death approaches. One chapter deals with dying persons who see people/beings/things not visible to others in the room. This topic fascinates me because as I was with Janet around the clock during her final weeks, I had several opportunities to observe this very phenomenon. Here are some of the things I remember.

The first unusual event occurred one morning about 7 weeks before her death. She was asleep and I went in to our bedroom to check on her. My footsteps awakened her and I asked, "How are you this morning, sweetie?" She looked at me, smiled, and said, "You humans are funny." I asked her what she meant by that, but she just smiled and had nothing else to say about it. I wondered to myself at the time if she might have been "crossing over."

The other things happened in the last week or so of her life. One afternoon I was sitting on the bed talking with her when suddenly her eyes grew wide and she stared past me. "What is it?" I asked. She replied, "Hannibal Lechter." I asked "What about Hannibal Lechter?" and she said "He's eating fava beans." I have no idea what was going on there.

There were many times when she stared wide-eyed at someone/something and I would ask what she was seeing, but she would never say. She never looked frightened, but rather full of wonder.

A couple of days before she died Janet suddenly looked surprised and asked "When did they get here?" She and I were the only people in the room. She wouldn't who "they" were, but I suspect she may have been seeing angels. Janet believed that angels are in the world around us and protect us. She believed that she and a friend were saved from death by angels during a very bad car wreck years ago. She saw/felt the presence of two figures in the back seat of the car that shielded her and her passenger from harm.

So, did any of you have similar experiences when your spouses neared death? I'd love to hear your stories and insights.



Edited by MikeC
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately my wife's death was sudden with no warning due to a heart attack so I did not experirance this with her. I have heaard of it before tho. What was wierd about her death was this...

We had gone on vacation to Florida where she died as we were arriving at the hotel. My sister after finding out what happened and the time that it occured told me that she had worked an all nighter and had only been asleep for a couple of hours. She woke up wide awake at that exact time. She knew something was wrong but just didn't know what. For a few days after she clearly heard Karen's voice call her name, like there was something she needed her to do. She didn't know exactly what it was but she had an idea, once she carried it out she no longer heard her voice.

One other experience I had was my golden retriever would not get up in my bed at night even tho she had pleanty of times before. After about 2 weeks on night I finally told myself that this was not a dream and Karen would not be coming back, I finally accepted it. The very next night my dog jumped right into bed. I know this isn't exactly what you had in mind but I thought I would share it anyway.

Love always


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike C,

You certainly brought back memories with this post. And - Yes - I do have a few near death "illusions - delusions - out of body experiences" to share with you during the time that Jack was ill and in the process of dying. What I have to tell you may be even more revealing because Jack was totally blind during the last 9 months of his 10 month illness - so as you read what I am about to share with you remember this is all coming from some one who can physically see nothing.

Rather than try to re-state my experience about this I am going to share with you the specific portion of Chapter Four of my book - "Finding My Banana Bread Man" which is a portion of the book which best describes these visions.

Here is the excerpt from the book:

Yet, in spite of all we were going through, our life moved forward. We still laughed and … we fought. We had always been pretty much like Fred and Ethel from “I Love Lucy”—quick with the remarks, but always smothered with love—and our terms of endearment continued to be as they were before Jack got sick: “Jackie O” for Jack and “John Boy” for me. During this struggle for life, we often sent these terms echoing from room to room.

And we found humor, even in delusions. I recall one afternoon when I’d realized I’d run low on Jack’s medication, Ativan (prescribed during his second stay in the hospital), and was irritated that I had to go to the pharmacy for it. Ativan is used to control anxiety and agitation, common side effects from brain tumors. Jack must have sensed I was frustrated because he suddenly said, “You don’t have to worry about getting low on that pill. We have all kinds of it.”

“No, we’re almost out,” I said.

“If that’s the case, don’t worry. We have all kinds of it in the yard. It’s in the rock out front. Just go chip some off and bring it in.”

We had a good laugh over that. From that time forward, when I was low on Ativan, I would say I could always get more outside, and Jack would smile and say, “That’s right.”

Sometimes Jack saw men sitting on fences talking to each other … in our living room, or old men standing at opposite ends of our bedroom, or maybe a bathroom with silver pipes, which happened to be in our living room. Three weeks before he died, he was totally bedridden, but he told his visitors he had just gone down the street to pick up the mail and that he’d gone for a walk earlier in the morning.

Sometimes his delusions were too much for me to emotionally take; other times, I used them as an opportunity to discuss what he was seeing, and, in a way, incorporate what he saw into the journey. When this happened, some of the pain caused by the delusions fell away and were replaced by a smile and a loving touch. Jack hadn’t lost his hearing or sense of touch, so we concentrated on what he had, as opposed to what he didn’t.

Another delightful delusional exchange occurred just weeks before Jack’s death. I was standing at his side when he suddenly gazed up at me and asked, “Who is that lady behind you, in the blue dress?”

I gently said, “There’s no one behind me.”

“Of course there is. At first I thought it was you dressed up in drag.”

I chuckled. “Nope, that wasn’t me.”

“Well, she has blonde hair and it is fixed just beautifully. I must have done it for her.”

Jack knew he was experiencing a delusion, but he joked, trying to make me smile. He was just a few days from leaving me forever. The pendulum kept swinging.

So - Yes Mike - I had a volume of these type of experiences during the time that Jack was dying. To this day I remain grateful for all the years I was able to spend with Jack - both the many years when he was alive and well as well as the last 10 months when he was so sick and dying. I have said it before and I say it in my book .....

Yes, he looked different, but he was unaware of what he looked like to others; the only change he was conscious of was that he was blind. His delusions were real to him; therefore, they did not represent anything unusual. He still greeted each visitor with a smile and a hug. Moreover, in his mind, he could still walk; all anyone had to do was talk with him and they’d see Jack as he always was: a man with a quick wit and a remarkable sense of humor.

So often the ill and disabled are overlooked, looked past, or through by people who don’t appreciate the beauty that still remains. By failing to partake in and witness Jack’s illness, many people lost out on an amazing opportunity to experience the extraordinary individual he was, because his true essence became the most apparent in the closing days of his life. As difficult as his illness was for me, I am grateful I did not miss one day, one instant, or one heartache of it. Witnessing and directly participating in this process was what later allowed me to heal.

Most mornings I asked Jack, “What can you see today?

Often, he would say everything was the same as usual, or “Just different shades of grey.” Then one morning I asked, “Can you see me?”

Jack smiled.

“Yes, you can,” I teased. “What am I wearing?”

Jack’s answer? “I don’t know, but you’re beautiful.”

Mike I ended this chapter with the following quote from Mary Jean Irion - and I will end this post to you the same way - it reads .....

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky, and want, more than all the world, your return.”

Love and peace to all on this site,

John - Dusky is my handle on here

Love you Jack


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because my mother and I lived 3,000 miles apart, I wasn't with her on the day she died, but my sister was. Alice was visiting Mom in the nursing home, talking with her while standing at the foot of her bed.

Suddenly Mom sat up and cried, "Move! Move!" and gestured for my sister to stand away from the bed. When Alice asked her why, Mom said, "Because you're in the way! You're crowding them."

My sister looked around and replied, "Who, Mom? I'm the only one here." Mom gave her a funny look. She said, "What's wrong with you? Can't you see your dad and Mamoo, standing right where you are?" (Mamoo was Mom's grandmother.) Then she shooed Alice out of the room, saying, "You go on home now. I need to talk to them."

My sister left. Not four hours later, the nursing home's director called to tell her Mom had been taken ill suddenly, and had died en route to the hospital.

Then, also:

Four days before the heart attack that killed him, my husband had a grand mal seizure, something that had never happened before. The paramedics came and took him to the hospital, and the doctors there ran some tests but couldn't tell immediately what was wrong - and Bill seemed to be back to normal - so they sent us home.

Bill hadn't been wearing shoes when we took him to the hospital, so I asked him to wait by the emergency entrance while I got the car. As I was driving up to the building, I saw him standing there - and then suddenly, he vanished. I blinked and shook my head, and he reappeared right where I had left him.

I started sobbing in the car and couldn't stop crying after we got home. He asked why and I answered, "Because I'm losing you. We don't have much time left." He tried to reassure me and told me everything would be OK and he wasn't going anywhere. But somehow, I knew he would leave me soon. Then four days later, he was gone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My youngest daughter will always treasure the last day Tom's mom was with us.

All day long she talked about going to a party and that her mom and dad were there and she and Matt (her husband) were going to dance. She really didn't seem to know people in the room like she had but asked them to help her put on her make up and do her nails for the party. When they called us to say that she had slipped away, the first thing Karen said was now she's at her party dancing with grandpa. Two years later she still feels that was the neatest thing.

Mary Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was blessed the day my best friend introduced me to Gene.....5 months later we were married. I was given a gift to be able to spend the last 13 hours reliving wonderful memories as he tried to stay in this world. Gene had his last heart attack in the ICU the morning before he passed. The next morning he was nearly in a panic, insisting that I go get his Living Will and I did as he asked at 6:00am that last morning.....the last thing my love could give him. During that last day he saw his mother...told his brother that she was young and so beautiful. Gene was so at peace. Our two daughters and his oldest brother were with us at the hospital while our two sons and his youngest brother were enroute. Gene kept saying he didn't know if he'd be there when his sons arrived and was adament that he would not be there when his younger brother arrived. At 7:30 that night when the nurses changed shifts the outgoing nurse said "I'll see you in the morning". Gene responded that he would not be there. I walked out along with the nurse and 5 minutes later he was gone. He asked where I was and took 4 deep breathes and was gone. Being without this wonderful human being who made my world so bright, so wonderful, so perfect every moment, so full of love.......well, it's just so empty now. But I know he was at peace and seeing his mother was a gift he was given.

Always Gene!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Derek. I had a somewhat similar experience when I was in my early 20s. One Sunday morning at a little before 5:00 am I awoke suddenly with a very strange feeling that something was wrong. I found out later that morning from my friend Eddie that our mutual friend Frank had crashed his car and died at that time. Eddie had also awoken at the same time.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if this is the same kind of experience. Alex was in the hospital for 5 months before he passed. Since we don't have any children and his siblings live across the country I was basically the only visitor he had for those 5 months. He did have some friends and family that did come often though. There is one particular friend, (Vincina, of the family that knew Alex since he was 3 years old. He was crazy for her and she him. She would come to give me a hand and keep me company at the hospital at least once a week and Alex always appreciated it. You see, Alex always felt bad that I was doing everything all by myself. He used to say: "this is no life for you".

For the last week of Alex's life he was critical. I had just arrived home from the hospital when I noticed I had a voice message from Vincina. Vincina had other prior commitments, so she had not been to see Alex for some time. I did not know if I should return the call or not, because I did not want to upset her with the bad news. Instead, I did call and told her and of course she said I will spend the day at the hospital with you tomorrow. Of course, before tomorrow came I got a call from the hospital around 10:30 that Alex was not doing well. I did not know what to do. Even though I drive I did not want to attempt driving from Brooklyn, NY to Newark, NJ. So at 11:30 at night I called Vincina and she went with me. No questions asked. We got to the hospital about 1:00 am. Alex passed around 2:15 am. My feeling and Vincina's feeling was that Alex knew he was dying (even in a coma) and he did not want me to be alone. In his own way he had Vincina call me so she could be there with me. Even stranger was that when the hospital called at 10:30 they told me his blood pressure was very low. Normally, if his pressure was low, he would have already passed before we got to the hospital. For 5 months I watched that monitor and I know how long it takes for heart rates, blood pressure, oxygen number's, etc. to shift and go up or down. It was like he wanted to wait until we arrived. I know in my heart that he wanted Vincina to be with me. It gives me great comfort in knowing this.

Love and God Bless,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your stories, Kathy. Seeing your dad and her grandmother must have given your mom great comfort. I would love to know who or what Janet was seeing. She didn't seem to be uncomfortable or afraid, just full of wonder.

And your story about Bill-wow! That had to be so utterly heart wrenching to know you would lose him so soon.


Mary Linda, I hope Tom's mom and dad are still dancing!


Hi, ustwo.

What a wonderful man Gene must have been--I am so sorry for your loss. Seeing his mother was indeed a beautiful gift.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jeanne, I feel the same way about the timing of my wife's death. The Hospice folks were somewhat amazed that she continued to live despite her deteriorating condition. I think she held on until our older son, who lived 5 hours away, came home. He had a job interview on the morning of the day she died. That afternoon he got a call saying he had gotten the job. I think that knowing this and the fact that he would be moving back with me gave Janet the peace of mind she needed.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Vickie O'Neil


Twice I've had the dead actually appear in physical form to me & speak with me. 1st time at age 21 in broad daylight at a traffic light. My 1st husbands grandpa had just died, I adored his wife Nellie. Grandpa showed up outside my window & said "stay close to Nellie, take care of her". I obeyed, every week I visited her, took her to lunch, or grocery shopping, or helped her hunt for her diamonds that she was always hiding, & forgetting where she'd put them.

2nd time was after my Dad died. I was almost insane with grief. 3 days after his death I awakened at 4AM, both of my dogs had jumped on the bed & were pressing tightly against my body. I reached for the lamp, switched it on, & noticed my curtains were blowing, windows were closed, no ceiling fan on. Then, Dad appeared at the foot of my bed, wind ruffling his hair..(Dad loved to sail) & said "Don't worry, I'm fine"..& then he was gone. A few days later all the pictures of him that I'd hung started falling off the walls..I know he did Not Want Me Grieving!

I have not seen my husband, Pat who died last August 6th. I yearn for a word from him..he died in hospice, on morphine. Once he was moved from the hospital, he never opened his eyes again. I talked to him, but cannot tell if he heard me, perhaps his heart & spirit knew. As his death anniversary nears, I find myself really hurting & horribly depressed. I really feel like I'm going crazy.


Vickie O'Neil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vickie, I am also really hurting and depressed, although my wife died only 5 weeks ago tonight. Janet spent the last few hours of her life in a coma with my 2 sons and I there with her. I really want to believe she heard us tell her we loved her and say our goodbyes. I'll bet your Pat heard you, too. Unlike you, I've never seen loved ones who have passed away, but I wish every day that Janet would appear to me or somehow make her presence felt.

Hang in there--my thoughts are with you.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...