Sunday, June 7, 2009

The other side 2

Here is another story about the other side, this one told by Cindy.
As Mom was dying of breast cancer I was fortunate to spend the final 10 days at her side. At one point we spoke about a story I’d heard of a young woman who had lost her father to cancer. He told her that after he passed he would somehow let her know he was fine. After the funeral she went back to her home, a very old house she was renovating. A light suddenly came on for a few minutes in her hallway. She was amazed because this light had never worked before. A few days later she had an electrician come in to check it out. There were no wires connecting the light and the electrician said it could not possibly have turned on. She then realized it must have been her father letting her know all is well.

I told Mom that story and asked her to somehow let me know she was OK after she passed. She said she would. A few days later Mom died. I was sitting at her computer in the laundry room when the Cremation Society wheeled her body out the door. One of my sisters immediately stripped Mom's bed and put the sheets in her 6-month old front loading wash machine—just about 5 feet from me. She turned on the washer and it started beeping and a light flashed with an error code. I found the washer user guide and read the error code that was flashing. It said, "Mother Board is out."
This is the honest to God truth! I knew it was Mom talking to me. The rest of my family thought I was nuts. But I KNOW it was her. That couldn't have been a coincidence. We had been using that washing machine for the past week and had no problems with it at all.

There was another time—perhaps a week or two later. As I sat at my kitchen table crying and missing her and talking to her, an angel that I had suctioned to the window popped off at me. I had to laugh. It was Mom again. She’s still letting me know she's OK. I'm sure she is. It's just that I miss her so much—I still cry when I remember this.

I’m sorry to say I have no more such experiences with Mom since she's passed, though I talk to her every day, but my niece, who was particularly close to her grandma, had one she related to me.

Right before Mom died, this niece found out she was pregnant with her first child, my sister's first grandchild. On the day before her grandma lay dying, in the deep sleep that comes before death, this niece went into her bedroom and whispered into her ear, "I'm pregnant, Grandma,” making her grandma the first to know she was going to have a baby.

A few months into her pregnancy, while she was in the doctor's waiting room, she thought about Grandma and how she wished her new baby would be able to meet his great-grandma. Feeling sad and missing Grandma, she picked up the nearest magazine to keep the tears away and it opened to an advertisement for the fragrance "Beautiful" by Estee Lauder. At that point my niece knew Grandma was with her and would see her new great-grandchild. "Beautiful" was Grandma's only and always fragrance. When you saw Grandma, you smelled "Beautiful."
Cindy’s comment that her family thought she was nuts typically accompanies stories like these. And I confess that at times I’m afraid my crediting them here will discredit me as a writer. There’s a taboo against accepting these fairly frequent phenomena that science has not yet explained. Someday I believe it will, if it can get over its prejudice and look at ALL the data available, whether or not it fits preconceptions. This would require continuing to probe beyond the obvious cases of fraud and the quick conclusion that it COULD have been coincidence and so it must have been. Admittedly, odd happenings like this are difficult to examine; maybe they’re impossible to measure. But let’s keep looking at them.

Just as I challenge believers to rethink their dogmas, I also challenge non-believers to rethink their certainty that everything spiritual is bunk. My paranormal posts do both.

Ron from Princeton had this response to my paranormal posts:
I'm always curious about those stories, and what is not being told. There is usually a logical reason why things happen, and your story about the woman who died, and then a light that wasn't even hooked to wires worked, the washing machine broke down, I generally discount these completely.

I have never been in a house where a light fixture was in place but "didn't have any wires running to it". Very unlikely. Who was the electrician who checked it out? Let's get him on the phone. The washing machine goes out, and the error message suggests "mother is no longer here" by saying "The motherboard is out"? First of all, I doubt seriously if the manufacturer actually put in an error message that said "the motherboard is out", more likely, a "system failure", or some other code indicating a problem.

Stories tend to get better with each re-telling, as the facts are adjusted to fit the wishes of the person telling the story. There is usually a logical reason for almost anything that happens, and "coincidence" plays a big part in many of these.
This expresses the skeptical view well, a view I shared years ago but no more. The eminent psychologist and philosopher William James in The Varieties of Religious Experience answers this logic in his comment on “the convincingness of these feelings of reality."
They are, as a rule, much more convincing than results established by mere logic . . . if you do have them . . . you cannot help regarding them as genuine perceptions of truth, as revelations of a kind of reality which no adverse argument, however unanswerable by you in words, can expel from your belief.
He states that intuitions from such experiences “come from a deeper level” than our rationalism. “Something in you absolutely knows (his emphasis) that that result must be truer than any logic-chopping rationalistic talk, however clever, that may contradict it."

I'll just continue telling stories as they come to me, and now I'll tell a story about myself.

About 25 years ago I was agonizing about a decision that would direct my life’s course and beseeching God for help in the decision. As I paced by my hutch, a plate that was propped up sat down and sent a cup into my hands. The drop from above startled me into accepting the answer that my insides had been telling me but my head had argued against. I then knew what I had to do, although the message was not explicit and I couldn’t have presented a logical case for this decision that set an unconventional life course. My future was uncertain but the Something I usually call God was there with me.

The cups and plates had been arranged in exactly the same way for several years before that and have been ever since then, without moving. Like Cindy who just KNEW it was her mom, like Carol who knew her dad rang the bells, I KNEW the other side had spoken to me.

Spirit visitations tend to be dreamlike but are “more real” than dreams. They often come at bedtime or sleep-time, and they come unexpectedly—we have no control over such things. But some people seem likelier than others to receive them. In my experience, they are persons with spiritual sensitivity, but they range from fundamentalist believers to open-minded religious to agnostics who dislike religion.

Now a series of encounters with the other side in disconnected notes I’ve taken here and there. If you’re familiar with this sort of happenings, you recognize them as authentic. Skeptics will disbelieve no matter what. I was one when I was determined to be “scientific.”

** A dying man finds himself going up stairs and coming to a door. He opens it and sees a pleasant gathering of persons he knew before they died, but he can’t join them. Assured about what follows death, he passes over shortly thereafter.

** Three weeks after Marie died, Katherine was sleeping when she woke to a touch on her body. Marie was sitting on her bed. “How did you get here?” Marie didn’t say anything and looked the same as always.

** Mona was sleeping and woke up to her deceased dad’s voice, “Mona.” It was “so real,” she told me, “just like him.” She looked around and saw nothing, but had no fear. This has happened “a couple times,” she said.

Once when she was doing dishes and crying about losing her precious grand-daughter, she had a fleeting glimpse of something white going by—like sheer, sheer flimsy material. The same appeared while she was walking in her living room. “Don did you see Mindy?” “No,” he said.
Other contacts have happened in bed, where she first thought maybe there was a mouse.

Since her death, Mindy’s cousin visits with her “all the time,” Mona was told. This cousin was two years older than Mindy but they grew up together, very close to each other, and both were the only girl in the family.

Mona, like me, has enlarged her ideas as a result of these experiences. She’s sorry she didn’t believe her dying mom many years ago. The doctor was trying to resuscitate her and said, “We’re losing her!” Her mom came back to this life for a while, then died, but before she died she told Mona she was on the ceiling as her doctor said that. Mona lives with the regret of not having believed her.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I and my family can relate to after death stories, Not everyone else does. They are very skeptible.

Jeanette said...

Thank you.
The taboo against accepting phenomena like this arose during the Enlightenment and is now challenged by quantum physics and a cosmology that counters the mechanistic world view. One scientist to whom I can refer readers is Rupert Sheldrake, and in God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky I cite many quantum physicists.

Physical and spiritual reality continue to befuddle us, and I will continue to write about the mysteries.

Anonymous said...

I had experiences within two weeks after my husband died which I am sure were meant to let me know that he was okay and that we still had a connection with each other. While crying and wiping the tears and speaking with my husband and God I received the scent of a perfume he purchased for me every Christmas and then the scent of the after shave he used.
Also in a dream he was with me on a teter-totter smiling comfortingly at me.