I have some good news to share: The afterlife is friendly. A week ago I spent some time with my elderly hospice patient. As she laid in her hospital bed she dozed in and out of sleep; transitioning to her new afterlife. As a witness, I stayed with her, without talking or moving. I watched her; as if I was waiting for something. Then it happened. She opened her eyes and stared up towards the ceiling of her bedroom. Her eyes stared at one thing. Then she closed her eyes. A few seconds later, she opened her eyes for a second time and looked at the same spot. Then she closed her eyes. The third time she opened her eyes and looked up at the same place and smiled. It was the most peaceful and child-like smile I have ever seen. After she had smiled, she continued to look up towards the ceiling, and then she waved her hand as if to say “Hi.”
After this experience, I have come to the conclusion that the afterlife is friendly. My hospice patient has no fear. She is at peace as the veil between her current life, and her afterlife becomes more transparent. Soon she will leave her body and be on a new journey. The human body that she has will never exist again.
As I sat in a wooden chair next to her hospital bed, I glanced over at her black and white wedding picture that stood on her desk. She was a beautiful young woman. She had a heart-shaped face and smooth skin. Her husband wore a navy uniform and slick-back hair. After looking at her wedding picture, I looked back at the old woman with white hair and tried to imagine her young again. As I stared at her, I noticed that she was still very charming. She had the prettiest grayish-blue eyes that are haunting – but in a good way.
I became my hospice patient’s volunteer only two months ago. At my first visit, I realized that my patient was close to death and not talking as much. Therefore, I do not know her that well as a person.
The aid in the hospice house said my hospice patient was always so polite and thankful when she was able to talk. She always said, “Thank you, dear” to all the staff. Her elegance and grace are still with her even as she is dying. I learned in my hospice training that people die the way they have lived.
I do not know who my hospice patient saw as she looked up at the ceiling. I have heard many stories of people, who are close to death, seeing relatives or guiding spirits. I am so honored to have experienced this spiritual connection as I sat with my hospice patient. I know in my heart that dying is a friendly and peaceful experience.
I see myself in my hospice patient. I know that this, too, will someday be my reality. Sometimes I think, in a warped sense of time and reflection, she is me. And when I reflect on this, I have no fear.