Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Nearing Death Experiences: “Chaplain, I had a visitor…” Part 2

For those who look askance at these “hospice stories”, let me quote from “Final Gifts”:

We found no common cause for what we were seeing and hearing.  Our patients had many different illnesses—varieties of cancer, different heart or lung diseases, birth defects, neurological ailments, AIDS.  In some cases, their brain oxygen, body fluid, and body salt levels had been documented as normal. Their medications varied widely, some were taking no drugs at all, others many.  In short, there was no apparent physiological explanation for their communication patterns.”  (Final Gifts, page 29).


I recognize there are some who would say these nearing death experiences are nothing more that the devil appearing as an angel of light.  There are yet others who would attribute these experiences to demon activity.  Others, to delirium.  All I know is that most all of the patients I served that had these experiences were professing believers.  It seems difficult for some to recognize the mercy of God at the most vulnerable time in a person’s life and simply discard the experience as not worthy of serious consideration.  Ok, whatever floats your boat. 


I received a call from a patient of mine who asked that I come over as she had something to talk to me about.  When I arrived her husband led me to their bed room where she was spending her last days.  I moved the chair close to the bed so I could hear her weakened voice.  She related two episodes to me and asked what I thought.  The first occurred one evening when the house was quiet and the lights out.  She was lying in bed awake.  What caught her eye was the visage of her Mother standing in the doorway to her room.  They had a conversation.  I asked how she felt about the entire episode.  She stated it was incredibly peace-giving.  Then, she told me of another experience…  She was turning to her left side when she noticed the visage of her long deceased daughter standing next to the bed with her hand on the nightstand.  Again, her response was a feeling of deep peace and comfort.  She wanted to know my opinion.  I told her that I believed God is a good God who provided His children what they needed in the face of impending death.  It was obvious that these experiences provided comfort and peace and she was ready to step into Heaven shortly.  Her faith was a vibrant faith and she passed into life eternal quietly, peacefully a few days later.


In speaking to a hospice nurse colleague of mine about what I am writing, she said that these experiences happened frequently with patients she served.  It was not a matter of medication or anything else.  She noted that those who were believers had a very peaceful death, while those who weren’t seemed to have a very hard death.  More on that in the next article.

1 comment:

Edwin Reese said...

Though it hasn't happened to me yet, as I've only been full time hospice chaplain about a year now, I remember my mom telling me that my dad, though he knew mom would be physically well taken care of when he died, waited until my mom said, "It's OK to let go," to die. In fact, he died shortly after she said those words. My parents were as close as any two people I've ever met, so I can see why he waited to hear those words from her lips before letting go. I anticipate I will do the same thing if my death is a lingering one.