My mother-in-law passed away last Monday. More than a full week before she died she said to me, “I must be hallucinating.” When I asked her why, she said, “Because I am seeing people who aren’t living anymore; they’re standing around my bed.” So here’s my question, if we are lucid enough to be aware that we are hallucinating, are we really hallucinating? Do you know people who have seen loved ones previously deceased or had similar experiences before they died?
Puppets Death Bed. From the Bread and Puppet Theater
Three weeks before my father died, he was sure there was a presence sitting in his blind-spot in the corner of the room. Someone very quiet. Someone waiting with him. My father was not in great pain or on any kind of drug which would make him “fuzzy.” The day his oncologist entered the room to tell him that she was stopping treatments, my father beat her to the punch and said, “I know why you are here.” When she asked why, he said, “You’re stopping treatment today, aren’t you?” When she asked how he could possibly know this, he said that the Voice in his blind spot spoke to him. “Bob,” it said to him personally, “its time to go home.”
In his book, Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms: Who and What We See before We Die, renowned thanatologist, David Kessler, recounts dozens of stories from nurses, doctors, social workers and pastors who have been with the dying when they claim to have visions of the previously departed who gather near the death-bed. As a pastor, I’ve been with a number of people who have claimed to see old friends, spouses, even the family dog before they passed-away. Many have said that they saw Jesus standing at the foot of their bed or right beside them.
Before he died, Jesus said that in his Father’s house there were many rooms and that he was going to “prepare a place” for us. He said that when the time was right, “he would come again” so that where he was, we could be also (see John 14:1-6). Could it be that before or as we die, Jesus comes to us as an old friend, or family dog, or anyone else we love, trust and may be willing to follow home to God?
What do you think? Do you have loved ones who have had similar experiences? Will you be visited by Jesus, loved ones previously departed, the family dog before you die? Or will it all be just hallucinations?