Friday, June 10, 2016

Hospice, Death-Bed Visions and the Paranormal

Courtesy Flickr - Edith Zwagerman
The world of hospice treatment is intricately linked to the paranormal because it directly deals with the veil between our physical world and the next spiritual one. During the final stages of death, individuals have the ability to cross over and experience the realm of the dead. It has been very well documented that loved ones will visit and speak with members of the family who have already died or friends who have passed away. The conversations that stem from this experience have a vivid clarity to them - as the one who is dying is being greeted by those who want to help their loved one make the final journey.

"A nurse had cared in the hospital for a terminally-ill adolescent for six months prior to the teenager's death. One night at 2:35 a.m. the nurse awoke at home from a sound sleep and felt that the boy was standing next to her bed. She could see him very clearly and was surprised to see that he was wearing a new baseball cap. She asked him what he was doing in her room. The boy said that he had come to tell her that he was all right and that the nurse should hug his mother for him when she saw her in three months. The nurse then went back to sleep, thinking that she must have had a very vivid dream. She couldn't shake the feeling the next morning, so she called the hospital to check on the boy. After a long pause, the other nurse told her that the boy had died unexpectedly around 3 a.m." -

My Own Personal Stories

Presence at the Time of Death

Courtesy Flickr - Sheila Sund

Over the course of my lifetime I have known dozens of people who have died. Some of them were very close to me, others I may have met in passing. Now, as a paranormal researcher and investigator, I try my best to attend every funeral I possibly can and visit with those who are on their way to the "great crossing-over." I feel it is one of my duties as someone who has a unique understanding of how the life/death process works. My goal is that in some way I may be able to help - even if it is simply being a calming presence. 

Almost a decade ago, my father-in-law spent a period of time in the hospice experience. He had suffered several heart attacks during his lifetime and had miraculously survived a couple times when his heart had been stopped for up to ten minutes. Once his body began to shut down and it stopped absorbing the medications, his doctor informed the family that now it was just a matter of time. All dietary restrictions were lifted and he was set up as comfortably as possible on a hospital bed in his home. 

During his last few months several members of our family came to offer whatever assistance they could. Around the clock there was someone awake to tend to him should he need anything at all - comfort, drink, a hand squeeze, a whisper in the ear. Throughout his final days our family members did experience some of the aspects of dying that is mentioned in the hospice pamphlet provided to families:

"Dying persons may hear voices that you cannot hear, see things that you cannot see, or feel things that you are unable to touch or feel. They may also have visions of deceased relatives, which may be haunting to the dying person or to you the caregiver, but it is a common occurrence." - A Caregiver's Guide of the Dying Process, pg. 4.

There were a few unique moments for our family, as there would be for everyone. As his final minutes of life began to arrive, paranormal activity began to increase. At one point my wife was sitting at his bedside and the light from the kitchen behind her was blocked out momentarily by a very dark shadow. It is my belief that certain family members who had already died were in the room, comforting him and preparing to help him cross over. Many times when a loved one is experiencing a stressful time in life, especially near the point of death, friends and relatives who have already passed will make a special visit in order to offer some help. Sometimes they appear in dreams, other times they will make direct physical contact. As a personal example, my wife and I firmly believe that her grandmother's whispering into my ear brought us together with a life-changing hug. Spirits have the ability to make a phenomenal impact on the living, sometimes without our knowledge. 

Courtesy Flickr - Andrew Stawarz
I make this claim with a certain story in mind. Several years ago my wife and her friends invited a medium to perform a session at one of their houses. During their meeting he informed them that there were a couple of family members who had been patiently waiting to talk to them. It is quite fascinating how much information is known on the other side of the veil. Perhaps through simple communication word was spread that an opportunity to communicate with the living was about to arrive. This fact drew plenty of attention. 

What is intriguing, though, is that a couple of the spirits was able to communicate events in the future that they were told would happen. One of these "visions" involved an interaction with someone they had not seen in many years. Not only did this meeting transpire, but every detail of the future event played out exactly as the spirit had predicted. How is this possible? In some way spirits are given access to certain knowledge of future events that here in the physical world are elusive to us. Thus the presence of family members arriving at the point of death is no surprise or coincidence, it is intentional. 

A Visit from Our Neighbor 

A little over a month ago our dear neighbor and his wife passed away. They had lived a very fulfilling and ripe age. She had crossed over first and he was left behind, a grieving husband. They had been together their whole lives. Within a couple short months he had finally reached that point in his health when he was ready to rejoin with her. One peaceful night in his home he did just that.

Courtesy Flickr - Terry Johnston
The next morning I was working in my backyard cutting the grass. At one point, right when I was about to pull the cord on the mower, I heard a very loud male voice that said, "When you get a minute, stop on over." I thought it was our next-door neighbor sitting on his patio inviting me to come over for a quick chat. The voice I heard was so loud and clear that I yelled over our wooden fence that I would be right there. When I walked around my house to the neighbor's patio, no one was there and the house was shut up tight. Confused, I went back to work.

I told my wife what had happened and she immediately looked at me with that "hair standing on end" expression. Those words I heard were the exact ones that my neighbor would say to us when he was alive and wanted us to come over to pick up his newspaper coupons. This was, needless to say, a shocking revelation. In one of his last moments here in the physical realm, as a newly released spirit, he had made audible contact with me. This type of communication is common in hospice environments and has been adequately documented. 

Supernatural Revelations

The point of death forces us to consider our own mortality. Many folks, especially here in America, refuse to believe in the spirit realm when they are alive and healthy. Our society's status quo might label them as crazy or mentally unstable. In Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick's book The Art of Dying, the authors have broken down the status quo fears and collected countless stories that have been documented from hospice nurses and family members who clearly suggest that there is a spirit world - or something after this life. The nurses' patients and loved ones have had experiences that they cannot explain. The stories run consistent across the board and this book reveals the fact that most families have had these supernatural experiences, but were afraid to talk about them. 

"Twelve years ago my husband, who had been ill for several years, had a fall and was taken into a hospital. One day when I went to visit him he was distraught because he had seen his mother who had been dead for many years; he said she spoke to him. I asked what she had said, he replied, 'Just "Hello"', but somehow he knew that her coming meant he was going to die. I tried to comfort him, saying that she had come to help him get better, but I had heard of these apparitions before and I believe in life after death. He died a week later, and I believe she had come to help him 'cross over' but gave him a little extra time here with his family." - page 41

The Clock Winds Down

Courtesy Flickr - David Elliot
The aspects covered so far in the dying process help us to better understand the paranormal realm and there is one more I want to share with you. In Fenwicks' book they discuss the significance of grandfather clocks. Interestingly enough, I never thought of the fact that many of them are coffin-shaped and their link to the dying process has been found to be very pertinent:

"For several weeks (before he died) my dad had been messing with an old clock which had been lying around the house for some time and which did not work. Every time I visited at weekends he seemed to be playing with it and eventually he got it to work. On the day of his funeral this clock was on the mantelpiece and keeping good time - I noticed this before going to the funeral. However, following the funeral, on looking at this clock I observed that it had stopped, never to go again...." - page 136

I, too, had an experience similar to this one back in 2000. My grandfather had died of colon cancer on Mother's Day after a lengthy struggle with the illness. I live out of town, quite some distance from where he lived. A couple of days after his death I noticed a very bizarre event in my apartment. My grandfather had been a clock smith in his later years, spending hours in his garage fixing all types of clocks. His passion was tinkering.

My dad had given me a wind-up wrist watch that he had had in his possession for a long time. One morning I woke up and noticed that the date on the watch was wrong. Thinking nothing of it, I reset the date forward to the proper month and day. The next morning I woke up, it happened again. Once again I reset the watch, but this time I told my roommate about this strange occurrence. I told him to come look at the watch the next morning and I bet him it will be on the wrong date. Sure enough, when he picked up the watch, it was not on the correct date. It was set to the same date I had discovered it on the two previous mornings - May 14th. My grandfather had paid me a visit and this was how he let me know.

I'll bet you have had similar experiences like the ones mentioned in this article. If you would like to share them, I'd love to read about them. Feel free to leave your story in this blog's comment box, the Google Plus community where you find this posted, or on any social media this will be shared. Thank you so much for your time and interest and may God richly bless you and your loved ones!

Works Cited

Fenwick, Peter and Elizabeth. The Art of Dying: A Journey to Elsewhere.       Continuum Publishers. 2008.