In my 73 years I’ve seen quite a few dead people, but I’ve never had the experience of actually seeing someone die before my very eyes. This past Thanksgiving day I had that unexpected experience much to my sorrow.
We always host the Thanksgiving day dinner at our house because it’s tradition. All the relatives, (inlaws and outlaws) come along with children, grandchildren, cousins, etc. My wife, as usual, prepared a huge turkey with all the trimmings. Some of the relatives women brought pies and cakes.
We sat down at the big dining room table and proceeded to consume the feast whle catching up with what was going on in everyone’s lives. It was a joyous time of family and fellowship. After the meal was done, we were sitting at the table just letting the food settle.My sister-in-law, Marsha, excused herself and went into the den and sat down on the sofa. She collapsed almost immediately.
Her husband, Alan, rushed to her side and called for my daughter, Julie, (who is a R.N.) to come and help. Julie examined her and immediately said to call 911. Thankfully all of the children were outside playing and did not see it. The ambulance and paramedics arrived and quickly transported Marsha and Alan to Kennestone Hospital. We, of course, all followed in our cars .
Julie was one of the first to arrive at the emergency room. Because she is a nurse, Julie was allowed to go back to where Marsha was taken. She met us with the news when we arrived. Marsha had suffered a massive stroke. She was still breathing because a machine called a ventilator was doing the breathing for her, however, there was virtually no brain activity.
The next day with her husband, son and daughter at her bedside, the ventilator was removed at their equest. Of course, she breathed no more.
The same Pastor who had performed Marsha and Alan’s wedding 47 years ago presided over the funeral the following week. This might very well be the end of the story, but remarkably it is not. In the funeral, the pastor related two truely astonishing bits of information. As Alan sat dozing beside his wife’s bedside in he hospital late Thanksgiving night, he felt someone touch his arm and heard Marsha say, “I’m gone.”
Two days later, after Alan had returned home from the hospital, as he was walking through their formal dining room, the lights in the china cabinet began to blink on and off. As he was checking it to see what was the cause, he ran his hand along the top of it and discovered an envelope containing a letter from Marsha. When he touched the envelope, the lights stopped blinking. Written on the envelope were the words, “To be opened in the event of my death.”
The letter was a message to her family and friends. It ended with the words, “If you are hearing what I have written, it means I’m in a better place now.”
Marsha reached back from death to tell her husband goodby and to do the same for her family and friends. She will be sorely missed.