A miraculous thing happened for my mom. My sister had flown with our mom from their home in Michigan to my home in California. Picking mom up at the airport I noticed that her skin was hot and flushed. We drove by the apartment so she could see her new digs but then went straight to the emergency room for medical care. Mom was very sick and had an open sore on her foot that hadn’t healed in over a year. We were told that the circulation in her leg was so poor that the surgeon would probably have to amputate it. We were also told that mom’s health was so fragile that she probably wouldn’t survive the surgery. Apparently the aorta that ran through her abdominal cavity and down both of her legs was blocked. The aorta is a huge artery coming from the heart that carries all the blood that eventually branches out to supply the entire body. If she had the surgery she might die, but, if she didn’t have the surgery, she would surely die. Sissie was bereft. It was a tense period with long days sitting vigil in the ICU waiting room. Mom had the surgery, and apparently during surgery had a “near-death” experience. When she woke up and was removed from life support she talked of seeing her deceased family members. She said they were youthful and radiant, although in life they were ravaged by smoking, drinking, and lots of sun from farming. She said they spoke to her and showed her events in her future that she had yet to experience. She said they told her that it wasn’t her “time” yet and that she had to return.
Now, say what you want about “near-death” experiences being caused by hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) or hallucinations from drugs--but the odd thing about this near death experience was that mom had a tremendous physical, emotional, and spiritual healing afterwards. This was a woman that at 5 foot 9 inches weighed 70 pounds, was wheel chair bound, and oxygen dependent. She was beaten down by life and admitted to thoughts of self harm. Following this event, however, she was filled with joy and enthusiasm for life. Everyone wanted to be near her. She was infectious. I even began to feel frustrated with the hospital staff because when I would come to visit; her room was always full of nurses or respiratory therapist who wanted to spend time with her. They would take their breaks and come see her simply to talk and hang out. She was fun and filled with light. In no time she gained weight, got rid of the oxygen and graduated from the wheel chair to walk independently without any assistive devices. She even had enough faith in love to develop a crush on her doctor…”old-blue-eyes” she called him.
Mom joined a group of artist to reclaim her painting talents. The groups focus was to express though different media their journeys through illness and healing. It was called the Persephone art project, created by a breast cancer survivor. Mom blossomed in this group. She painted and carved, and sculpted, and molded. Her work was very spiritual. At their exhibit she was “best of show”, although all of the pieces were amazing. She was exuberant. She was enjoying life. She had a purpose.
Sissie eventually returned to her life in Hamtramck Michigan. She continued her political activism and the other political activist leaned heavily upon her for leadership. However, with all that had transpired in her life, she began to spiral into depression. As her depression worsened, my brother, mother and I decided that something needed to be done to help her. We didn’t have much but we offered what we could. We offered airfare and safe haven until she felt stronger. Soon after, Sissie did something really brave. She took us up on it. She put her belongings in storage, left her political group, job, and friends. She came to California with her cat, who happened to be named “sorrow”, although he was actually a very sweet and funny cat…hardly sorrowful at all.
The three of us (Mom, Sissie, and I) had a wonderful time together. Mom was like a young girl in many ways. She was funny and playful and had an infectious wonderful laugh. Every day was a party, it seemed. We shopped, and nested, and ate, and talked. It was a fabulous time together. I don’t remember sissie being significantly depressed. She was fragile, however, and we worried after her. It was good to be with family…for all of us--and it was healing to be with family...for all of us.
(FACTOID:A near-death experience (NDE) refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations ranging from detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, extreme fear, total serenity, security, or warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light, which some people interpret as a deity
1. A very unpleasant sound/noise is the first sensory impression to be noticed (R. Moody: Life after Life);
2. A sense of being dead;
3. Pleasant emotions; calmness and serenity;
4. An out-of-body experience; a sensation of floating above one's own body and seeing the surrounding area;
5. A sensation of moving upwards through a bright tunnel of light or narrow passageway;
6. Meeting deceased relatives or spiritual figures;
7. Encountering a being of light, or a light (often interpreted as being the deity or deities they personally believe in);
8. Being given a life review;
9. Reaching a border or boundary;
10. A feeling of being returned to the body, often accompanied by a reluctance.
11. Feeling of warmth even though naked.
Some people have also experienced extremely distressing NDEs, which can manifest in forewarning of emptiness or a sense of dread towards the cessation of their life in its current state.
Near-death experiences can have tremendous effects on the people who have them, their families, and medical workers. Changes in values and beliefs often occur in the experience after a near-death experience, including changes in personality and outlook on life, such as a greater appreciation for life, higher self-esteem, greater compassion for others, a heightened sense of purpose and self-understanding, and a desire to learn. The changes may also include an increased physical sensitivity to and diminished tolerance of light, alcohol and drugs. Wikipedia)
To Be Continued………………………..............(Part 3 of 4).....................................................................