Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Walking into the Light

I have heard from two people recently - both people cared for aging parents as they were dying. Both people had extremely similar experiences.

And, you know, had I not heard both within weeks, I would have discounted both stories because it sort of flies in the face of what I believe.

Anyway, in the last couple of days of each of these peoples lives, they experienced talking with people who are dead. Let's call the first person ~Deb. Anyway, ~Deb was in her seventies and her heath was failing. And in the last few days, she started having conversations with her mother, a mother who died fairly young, and ~Deb always felt abandoned by her mother.

Her son and daughters each heard ~Deb carry on what they characterized as "sane conversations" with her dead mother. My first reaction was to discount this, asking if she was on any pain medications. Cold, heartless, but the words fell out of my mouth before I knew what I was saying. My friend grinned, not upset, almost knowing that it was something I would ask.

She said she thought Mom was loosing it at first, but then to see her calm face, a face that she really did not recognize. Her mother always got tight-jawed when talking about her mother, but now, in her final days, she seemed much more at peace with her mother. Sure, a preacher did ask if she needed to talk to anyone to resolve issues, but I am fairly sure he did not mean anyone who was no longer living.

She talked about seeing people who were not there, and I wonder now if this woman was caught between heaven and earth. Is that possible? I don't believe that people now dead can interact with us – it is not part of my beliefs as a Catholic, but when I hear about this and other stories, I sometimes wonder.

The other woman who was dying talked with her mother, her father and one sister the last two days of her life. She would ignore people by her bed when talking to them, and then as if something had changed, she weakly came back to the room, talking to people in the room after she regained her composure.

It reminds me a bit of the Movie Beatlejuice. Not the comedy, but something that the "dead handbook" said. The living usually do not see the deceased. Something like that. What if this trite little movie has a bit of truth in it? What if we are not in tune with those who have passed before us? I know that I believe that we sometimes do not pay attention to God. Part of my discernment process. But what if there is more to it than that. What if the dead can see us, and we can sense them?

Nah, I still don't believe it, but darned it, there are some things that are hard to explain. I blame the morphine, but were these two women on pain medications? I never got a straight answer in one case, and I learned my lesson and did not ask the second person.


LarryLilly said...

i watched my dad do the same thing when he was dying back in 1995.

He was talking to his mother, who had died some 40 years earlier. He was talking in normal conversation, he was not talking fast or excitedly, but rather serene. He literally passed away some ten minutes later.
We have no idea what the brain is doing in the last moments of life, and as more and more deaths passing in reduced pained states are seen, we may learn a lot that touches on the subject.

Prata said...

Question! The living can not see the deceased. What is different of the deceased from the living? Are we all not spiritual energy?


What day is today Leesa? day 17? Somethin' like that.

J R Estelle said...

I firmly believe that when it is time for a person to pass to the other side, and I don't use the word dead, because I don't think death is final in the spiritual sense, I think we just pass on, just before it is time to pass on, that those conversations with people on the "other side" are very real, very calming and very comforting.

I know this to be true for me, because I watched my grandmother do this for at least 2 months before she finally gave in to Alzheimers.

Prata said...

And you do not think at all that it was the deterioration of the brain's functionality that caused this phenomenon? Just...curious.

LarryLilly said...

The medical professionals talk about the shutting down of the neurological system, first the outer portions of the brain, then the inner portions, lastly the brain stem. The stem is a unique organ, responsible for basic life functions, but the two portions of the brain account for the essence of the individual. In my dad’s case, where he died from lung cancer (asbestosis), his brain was not attacked. So maybe while some may have deterioration of the brain, as in Alzheimer’s, its not always an end to thoughts or deep seated memory. Who knows, those that truly know are never back to fill us mortals in.

My other first hand knowledge was when my daughter died back in 92. She was "medically" kept alive for 72 hours, waiting for the brain stem to stop functioning. I wondered then, and still now, was she aware of her surroundings during that time? Did she feel our touches, our kisses; did she feel our tears, feel our warm breath? Did she exist between life and the next step? I hope that the recipients of her organs feel her at times, when in the silence of their own mortality, they could feel the 16 year old woman/girl that gave them a second chance.

Leesa said...

larry: see, these things sort of freak me out, larry. I guess I ought to be encouraged, but . . . .

prata: I think you need to check yourself into some sleep study place, dear. Really. Really.

jr: a nice way to look at things, really, but it goes against what I believe. And I am starting to doubt my own beliefs.

prata: it did cross my mind.

larry: I am sorry for your loss.

Prata said...

Probably not. As the brain stem does not account for the awareness of an individual or a human's response (to my knowledge I may be wrong). Coma patients see several stages of brain decay as do patients such as the Schiavo girl. After a certain portion of the brain deteriorates, the human body is no longer capable of receiving or processing outside stimuli. You may as well be dead.

So then here's a question! If the essence of a person is not immediately withdrawn from the body, but is kept within the organs due to transplant, have you not just utterly ripped apart the soul of a person? If so, that makes transplantation a brutal act of spiritual suffering. I certainly hope no one ever feels such a thing as the presence of existence of someone who has given their organs up to help others. That is the _only_ way one could explain a transplant receiver feeling the presence of the person having given over their organs. Well, it's the only logical one. And rather scary now don't you think?

And LarryLilly, do not take this as personal attack or anything. I'm only asking for the sake of asking. I'm a curious sort. I offer counter argument for the sake of thoughtfulness.

LarryLilly said...

I know what you are saying. Actually, on a deeper level, I find it impossible. This subject is the basis of religion, and THAT is never going to be debated civilly. (Myself, born and raised a catholic, then became a non-denominational baptist and now what I call a naturalist earth religion like the native americans). But thats not what you asked.
No, she is not in them. She was her own spirit, and she returned to the spirit of all. Humans try to create self worth beyond our actions, thats why parents say the things I stated above. thats why for lack of a sane reason to why someone died we may say, Their passing was God's plan. I say no, its just that ALL people die, its no different for us than an animal in nature. things end, lives end, its part of the circle we call life.

Joe said...

To Prata's point (and he always makes a good point) I read recently that it has something to do with the chemicals released by the body just before death.

I still wonder, though.

Advizor said...

"the veil between heaven and earth is thinner than we could ever imagine"
it is interesting that we all try to discount the relationship between this life and the next, we blame morphine, chemicals, and dementia instead of accepting the fact (or what I see as fact) that we do live beyond this mortal sphere. If Joe is correct, and our last hours are controlled by a sudden release of chemicals in the brain, perhaps this release is designed to help us make the transition to the next life. Perhaps we are hardwired for heaven.

It makes complete sense to me that God, and I do believe in God, has given us bodies that are fully integrated with our spirits, and that perhaps he has drawn the veil between heaven and earth so we have to walk by faith. I don't see any conflict between faith and science as we discuss these ideas. Granted, this is a faith-based opinion, but as medical science learns more and more about the brain, we may be surprised to find out that we are closer than we think to the other side.

Tony said...

Prata always makes a good point? Thats like saying Grant is always wrong. It's just not true. JK

I don't believe the soul is bound by the flesh. As my faith states all souls are of (belong to) God. In that I don't believe they are parsed out with the organs.

LarryLilly said...

Leesa said...."I blame the morphine, but were these two women on pain medications?"

Studies using mri's have shown that some people can have intense pain, and yet not be affected by it. While it may be momentary, studies have shown women, when estrogen levels are high, the brain's natural painkiller system responds more potently, releasing endorphins or enkephalins that dampen the pain signals received by the brain.

LarryLilly said...

Religion is mans invention to feed his own need to feel important to others.

Spirituality is mans singular acceptance that he doesnt know jack.

mal said...

there are some things I have witnessed that I can not explain or would even try to...

Just because we can not prove the certainty of something does not mean it is not so

kathi said...

I've hear of this happening many times. I don't know what to make of it, so I don't 'ponder' on it. I've also heard of people freaking out as they're dying saying there are demons or 'monster's' in the room coming after them. Now...that's scary!

J R Estelle said...

I just wanted to add, that the mind is a very powerful organ and I think it's almost impossible to figure out why it does what it does. So elusive.

Prata said...

Well I'm glad I'm not a religious sort! And that was a very intelligent response to my comment there Larry. Tony...I know where you live good sir. *blinkles*


The tyrannical buddhist was KIDDING...that was not a threat upon anyone's life *waves a hand in the jedi fashion at everyone*

I don't believe in reincarnation, so the goings on of the soul after the fact of death do not concern me. If there is reincarnation, well it doesn't hurt me to be wrong now, and certainly won't do me any good. I'd say it's rather better off that I strive to be a good human now rather than try for it in my next life. It's the endless means to a cop out.

Question! If the spirit is not tied to the flesh, why do we not leave our bodies when it has been so damage the flesh is merely a husk but has not yet died? Rhetorical really you needn't answer. My lifestyle (I refrain from religion as a general rule really) dictates that mind and body are not two. So eh...you can extrapolate this as soul and mind are not two. Body and soul are not two. Without one, the other is crippled in some manner. But does the definition of body and soul change once the body is no more and the soul ventures to "the other side" if there is such a thing. Human frailty exists in the nature of our understanding I suppose.

Prata said...

err...sorry.."certainly won't do me any good if I'm correct" concerning reincarnation. My bad, I haven't slept in a long long time. Everything kind of runs together.

~Deb said...

I really believe and have heard, that the elderly as well as newborns and toddlers can see things that ‘we’ cannot. They are so close to ‘the other side’, therefore making them more sensitive to spiritual encounters. This is just what I believe. There’s a very thin veil between the living and the dead. It’s just that the very young, and the very old people can witness this more.

Then again, you have science debating it with neurological failure. That could be true too. But what about those young toddlers who see ‘imaginary friends’ saying, “Mommy! Mommy! I see daddy! He says hi!” (And their real father is deceased…)

Hmm. Something to think about right?

Why am I always the psychotic looking ‘character’ in your posts? Wait----don’t answer that! Hehe!

Prata said...

Damn and I was all about answering that one ~Deb! hehehehe

Of course then I realized that I'm probably the psychotic one and well yeah it just kind of snowballed from there into me hanging myself in my closet.

Thanks a lot!

~Deb said...

We don't wanna see yourself hanging yourself... But I think our theory is on the same lines just about. I just believe that some people are more sensitive to 'seeing spirits' (as I claim I am) and some people aren't. Then you have the ones that are toddlers and the elderly who are much more sensitive than those who are in their "mid life"...

Anyway, that's just what I believe. Science will always come crumbling on top of my head anyway!

Ah well.

Prata said...

Don't worry...science always drops on my head too! *blinkles*

Leesa said...

looks like my blog got hyjacked the other day. Wow.