On Death and Dying
My sister died a few days ago. I was lucky to be with her for the week before her death, and to hold her hand as she took her last breath. We were all lucky that she was able to be transported home for hospice care, so my nieces and I could be with her, and her grandchildren would all have the chance to say goodbye.
My nieces and I took turns sitting with my sister. When she was awake, she was lucid, aware, and able to communicate. It was hard to believe that she was about to transcend. She seemed like her regular self. Her kidneys were shutting down, her heart was beating too fast or too slow, but her mind was as sharp and connected as ever. We chatted, we laughed, we reminisced. We watched movies and remarked on hunky Liam Hemsworth—his smile, so sweet! His eyes, such a clear blue-green!
Once, when I was alone with her as she slept, I noticed her doing what I’d always called “talking to the angels.” Her eyes were moving as if she could see something behind her closed eyelids, animated expressions flitted across her face, and her mouth moved as if she was talking to someone. It seemed clear to me that she was visiting the other side of the veil, as I had seen my daddy do in the days before he passed. I went and got my nieces, thinking that this might be the moment she transitioned.
It wasn’t. She sat up, wide awake, and said, “There’s Bruce.” (Her husband who died nine years ago.) Her gaze darted around the edges of the room, focusing on first one spot, then another. She began to name the people she saw who had already passed over. She could see them all, and she could also see and talk to me and my nieces at the same time. She kept giving a puzzled glance to one corner of the room. “Who’s that man? I don’t know him.”
Then she cocked her head as if listening, nodded and said, “Oh. It’s my father-in-law. I never got to meet him.” Then she looked up and said, “It’s so pretty!” My niece Emily asked her to describe what she was seeing. She described swirls of rainbow-colored light, and the luminous, beautiful souls who had come to escort her to the other side.
Old neighbors who’d driven all the way from Tennessee to see her came to visit while all this was going on. She talked with them and with us, but she kept getting distracted by the spirits in the room. They were talking to her too. After the neighbors left, my sister started talking again with the spirits. “Oh, no!” She said at one point. “Did I miss it? Am I late?”
We asked what she was talking about. “Our anniversary! I hope I’m not late for it.”
Her and Bruce’s anniversary had been the week before. I wondered if perhaps they’d made a pact that she would be with him for that anniversary and was just now being reminded. We assured her that she wasn’t late, and that she would be exactly on time for the renewal of their wedding vows on the other side and the big celebration that would follow.
The veil parted enough for her to see the spirits a few more times that day, and even though she slept very deeply at times, when she woke she was lucid and able to talk to us. On her last morning, she started struggling to breathe. Her eyes wide with the fear of choking, she gasped for breath. My niece Emily and I held her hands, and while Emily did energy healing to help my sister let go of any emotional cords that kept her tethered to earth, I coached my sister on slowing down her breathing until she calmed. Then I channeled a guided visual meditation to help her relax and allow the process of death to unfold without struggle.
In the meditation we all shared, my sister walked down the aisle of a beautiful, light-filled church. Her beloved husband waited at the end of the aisle, looking as handsome as he had looked on the day they first met. My sister was wearing a long, honey-colored satin gown. Her shoes—the earthly tether that kept her tied here—needed to come off. Halfway down that long aisle, she kicked off those shoes and walked barefoot on rose petals the last distance.
Then she put her hands in his, their energy swirled and merged into one being, and then into everything.
And just like that, she left her body behind.