Encouraging it is, the many testimonies to the effect that deceased loved ones are there to usher us into eternity (with Jesus) as we approach passage into eternal life.
Mourning is one thing. Morbidity is another. Nothing should depress us — at least not for long — if we are in union with God.
We have reported on this many times: the interaction with deceased family members. In any number of cases are similar reports of folks being told — by dead relatives — that it is not yet their time. Sometimes the deceased come to address unresolved issues.
One dying man was heard to say, “Oh, look at all the old-timers!” — indicating unseen presence passing through his hospital room.
The deceased are often experienced in the way of “signs,” visions, in dreams, or all of the above — especially on deathbeds. It was said at one major apparition site that the deceased can see us while we are praying for them.
This all comes to mind in noting a recent report on a CBS station that focused on the work of a doctor named Christopher Kerr and his team at Hospice Buffalo in Upstate New York. Said this secular dispatch of the researchers:
“They’ve found that the dreams are often comforting and make death less scary. It turns out, when we have little time left, many of us may see the people we miss the most. They’ve recorded many of the interviews. A man named Horace explained one of his dreams: ‘My wife all of a sudden appeared.’
“A woman named Jeanne describes how vivid they are: ‘I remember seeing every piece of their face. I mean, I know that was my mom and dad and uncle and my brother-in-law.” She continued: “I felt good. I felt good to see some people.’
“A patient named Maggie dreamt about her sister, who had passed away before her. ‘So I said, Beth, you’ve got to stay with me,’ Maggie said. ‘I’m alone, stay with me. She says, ‘I can’t. Not now.’
But then, her sister gives her a message: “And then she says, ‘Soon we’ll be back. We’ll be back together.”
“What’s clear is people are universally saying this feels more real and different than any dream I’ve ever had before,” Dr. Kerr told the news station.
One hospice nurse told another research, Dr. Marilyn A. Mendoza: “I’ve seen patients die with their dead relatives standing by and I have seen patients die with only their living relatives in the room. I prefer those deaths where you know someone has come to get them. Then you know there is something more than what you get in this realm, it adds to the mystery of life and death. At least for me, it keeps me hopeful that when it is my time to go, someone I love will come back to get me.”
Reported Dr. Mendoza, who said fifty-seven percent of the dying she surveyed had such experiences:
“A patient dying of cancer had been very restless throughout the night. In the early morning, she opened her eyes and stared fixedly into the corner of the room where no one was standing. She said, ‘Mom, I’m so glad to see you.’ She smiled. After saying this, the tension in the room from the family eased. After her comment, the patient died peacefully.”
“A 52-year-old woman was dying of a failed transplant. She was terrified of dying and often spoke about how she was never going to give into death. Two days before her death, she kept looking over my shoulder and laughing and smiling at someone standing behind me. There was no one there. I asked the patient who she was talking to and she told me her dead father. Then she said ‘Okay, all right. It’s ok, I’m not afraid.’ She then died very peacefully, smiling. It was such a relief to see the poor woman finally at peace.”
Lent is a good time to pray for the deceased — and ask for their prayers (the Church teaches that in purgatory, they can pray for us).
During Lent, as during Christmas, the veil is thin.
At one apparition site the Blessed Mother said, “There are in purgatory souls who pray ardently to God, for whom no relative or friend prays on earth. It happens that God permits them to manifest themselves in different ways, close to their relatives on earth, in order to remind men of the existence of purgatory and to solicit their prayers to come close to God Who is just but good.”
And to ease our own transitions to eternity.
Except in profoundly unfortunate cases of condemnation — when a person ends up in hell — we will see everyone we knew and loved again!
Put away the black veil. If that’s not something to look forward — and to ease or erase mourning here we’re not sure what is.
[Michael Brown retreat, New Orleans: prophecy, the afterlife, spiritual warfare: March 16!]