This last month my mother-in-law, Margo, passed into the world of spirit. Her death was something to be expected – she was 87 years-old and had suffered a series of minor strokes over the course of several years. What precipitated her decline and departure was a combination of high blood pressure, a new stroke, and other effects of aging. When my wife admitted her into an adult family home for hospice care, we didn’t know if she had two weeks or two months left, we only knew that this was it.
We also knew that it was an opportunity to learn more about the dying process, especially given my background as a paranormal researcher and spiritual/consciousness explorer. My wife already had a book on what physical signs to look for, indicating where in the drama her mother was located. Months before the stroke which put her into hospice, Margo had lost all sense of time. She would occasionally call us at 2 a.m., not realizing it was the middle of the night. She sometimes complained that she couldn’t grasp physically where she was in terms of location (“Am I home? Am I not?”). There were moments where it seemed her consciousness was elsewhere, with occasional dips of lucidity back into our reality.
This carried over – but much more dramatically – in her final days. At the adult family home, she was confined to her bed (by this time, she lacked the strength for mobility). She would light up when my wife and I would visit. At first, she could talk with us in complete sentences, albeit a in a somewhat hushed or whispered tone, for a good length of time. Within days, this lessened. At one point, her appetite completely disappeared and she stopped eating, to which she then started sleeping most of the days away.
A deeper sense of confusion was also setting in. She would tell my wife that people “in her dreams” were trying to take my wife away from her, or somehow get between the two of them. She started to become paranoid, which resulted in a few evenings of needing to be sedated.
The last day she was lucid with us really brought home what was happening. She was not under any sedative, but was swimming in and out of conscious awareness. She would randomly stare off into empty spaces in the room, then look back at us, recognize we were there, then try to talk. Her speech was no longer as it was – only able to breathe a sentence – but she could easily understand our questions and nod in the affirmative, or shake her head in the negative.
So I started asking about what she was experiencing.
“When you dream, are you outdoors in a field, with flowers, grasses, and birds?” I based my queries on what many people who have NDE’s experience when they reach the Other Side – they describe an idyllic outdoor scene.
Margo’s eyes went wide and she nodded. It was as if she was saying “Yes – and how did you know about that?”
“Do the flowers and birds seem to glow? Are they brighter than normal?”
Again, her eyes went wide and she nodded in the affirmative.
I asked if she had seen one of her relatives who had passed away a few years ago. She shook her head, “no.”
“Is it confusing to be there, and then also see us here in this room with you?”
Her answer: “Yes.” It was clear, she was swimming between two worlds -- and it was confusing her. On one level, she believed she was dreaming, but on a much deeper level she knew she wasn’t. Then there was my wife and I standing there, essentially in another reality from where she was now spending a great deal more time in. In other words, two valid and real environments were vying for her attention simultaneously. In one reality was me and my wife asking questions, and another with who knows what.
We oftentimes like to think that going from this realm to the next is a linear progression – like going through a doorway. But what if it’s not? What if you are in the threshold with your mind looking into both realities … One in which you are 80+ years familiar, but now becoming overshadowed by another reality you hardly know anything about, except through anecdotes or religious interpretations? Two valid realities pulling at your consciousness … It’s easy to see the confusion.
While sitting and just being present with her, it suddenly flashed into my mind how Margo always felt the need to move into a new place of residence on average once a year (something she really hadn’t been able to do since 2014). So I asked - if in her current dreams - she was seeing a new apartment or home that she was going to be moving into. Again she gave me that look of “How did you know that?” and then nodded an affirmative. My wife and I, knowing that her body on earth was no longer sustainable, wished her well in her future home, then said our goodbyes for the day and that we would visit tomorrow. She promptly went to sleep.
The next day, Margo’s sleep had deepened and she was starting to “rattle.” According to the adult family home, after we had left the day prior, she hadn’t woken up; by morning her breathing had shifted and her pulse had quickened. My wife tested her mother’s chakras and they were all spinning backwards. Upon my arrival, I took Margo’s hand – there wasn’t any give or sense that she knew I had was holding it – and I couldn’t feel any energy or sense of consciousness with the body at all. What I did feel was that she was hovering about two feet over our head. At one point, I was distinctly aware of her trying to re-enter her body from the left side, but was unable to do so (I think she wanted to acknowledge that she knew we were there). I believe she was prevented entry because by this time, the frequency of the body was so distorted, so out-of-harmony, it was like her consciousness was hitting a brick wall. No doubt, this also presented confusion or frustration with her.
At this point, my wife and I knew she was never coming back to the body; her consciousness was out, and what we were witnessing were the last processes of the physical apparatus winding down without her.
The next day, her body “died.”
But she left us with an incredible gift – a greater understanding of the process. It wasn’t always pretty, but it’s important to observe and become aware. Yes, there was some confusion for Margo while she was dying – being pulled by two different worlds — but honestly we did not see any fear. She expressed her love for both of us, and was astonished to realize that we understood what she was dreaming – at least on some level. I can’t say we were sharing the experience with her; we could only observe the nature of her journey as she was going through it. As one of her deceased relatives communicated to me a few days before admitting her to hospice, our only job on this side of life was to “get her to the doorway and we will take care of the rest.” Indeed, and that might have been message in her earlier dreams where Margo declared “they are trying to take you away from me.”
What we can learn from her passing is immeasurable. To be a close observer to her journey, and following it through with what skills and abilities I have, is beyond words. And there is still potentially more to learn, as my wife and had taken some audio recordings during our last few visits, to see if any spirits potentially in the room were kind enough to leave us with some EVPs. I have yet to examine these recordings.
Though Margo’s physical life has ended, her spiritual life has just begun. I am grateful to have been a witness to it all. I await the moment when I see another medium perk up and say “I have a mother figure here who wishes to connect …”