My mother is in my mind and not just because it's Mother's Day. I read Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander a while back and since then I seem to come across more books on the NDE experience. What has this got to do with my mother ? You might wonder. So let me tell you her NDE story.
When Mam was about seventy she became very ill and spent some time in hospital . I used to call and see her most evenings after work.
This Friday evening when I came by she was in a very distracted state couldn't focus on chatting shewas in a lot of pain. Not being one to complain she just said nothing but I couldn't rest easy and when the time for me to leave I just couldn't go. I waited and waited hoping things would improve and that this bad bout of pain would subside. Eventually I called a nurse and insisted she get Mum a doctor. When he arrived and had no idea what to do I got even more insistent and demanded a specialist.
When he arrived and examined her it was decided that they had better operate immediately.
My sister Mary had arrived by then so we kept each other company during the seven hour operation.
When the Surgeon came out he told us that they ' almost ' lost her. That our mother had gangrene of the intestines and that if he had operated a week earlier he wouldn't have known what to do, however he was just back from a seminar on that exact subject and so knew exactly how to remove her intestines and replace them with a "bag'.
This was amazing and we pondered on how synchronous her timing had been.
She spent the next few days in intensive care and had very little energy for talking , however as soon as she could she told us of her experience .
" Jesus came to me and took me to the Islands ( my brother The Columban Priest had been transferred to teach in a seminary in Suva ). Jesus showed me all around the Islands where Donal works . And reassured me that this was the right place for him. "She said that the peace and love she felt was beyond words. The only other experience that came any close was when she had ' morphine ' during a previous illness. However she said that the experience with Jesus was millions of times more blissful.
Following that experience there was a change in Mum , she had always been " holy " however before the NDE her prayers seemed to come from a place of fear. She was very much afraid of not being good enough to get to heaven , anxious that she would die in 'sin'. And while she was still concerned about being "ready' for death . Now she was no longer afraid. Her prayers seemed ( to me anyway ) to be more about spending time with her ' maker '. There was a peace and joy in her prayer. She got a little easier on me about my alternative beliefs. It was more about love.
She found her colostomy very difficult to deal with, she was always fastidious about cleanliness and just never came to terms with the ' bag'. We were lucky to have her around for another few years. When it came time for her to die she was well ready , and spoke to all of us about it .
This is what she said to me.
She told me that the only regret she had was that she hadn't listened to my advice on changing her diet years earlier, that she would miss watching her grand children grow up, and she said ( and I felt she found this difficult ) you are doing your right work Ann you have healing in your hands.
There was a big group of family and close friends present at her death we all found it an uplifting experience .
As my brother and uncle led the final prayers she simply said AMEN to each one . It felt like a Big Amen to her life . We all felt blessed to be there and witness her parting.