By Ann Murphy
He gently passed from this world to the next one. His wife, sitting by his bedside, held his hand until his last, laboured breath. She was a devoted and loving wife, giving her all to her beloved husband, whom she loved more than life itself. She had gone through the illness with him, as he passed through the numerous stages of cancer, until he was too weak to fight it any longer.
She had been with him through every hope, and every setback, until it became clear to her, and to her entire family, that he was not going to recover this time.
There had been times of great hope, where each minor recovery seemed to be the miraculous one, the one that would bring him from the brink of death and back into their world, but each time their hopes were dashed. This time there was no doubt and they knew that there would be no recovery. All they could do was prepare themselves for the end.
Time and time again the doctors has been amazed at his seeming recoveries, but then had nodded their heads gravely when he succumbed each time to the grip of the disease that was spreading throughout his entire body.
“It is only a matter of time now,” they had said, advising the family to prepare for his funeral arrangements.
But Philip resisted until the end.
Mark, his eldest son, was the first to respond. He had always been the more pragmatic of all four brothers. Burying his head in the sand was not his style and he preferred to be prepared than to be caught by surprise. Marjory was glad that her son had taken it all in hand. She was not sure she could have done it by herself.
The younger brothers stayed with her at the hospital, taking it in turns to turn him, to wash him, and to keep him company, although at the end he was not completely aware of them as he drifted between this world and the next, his soul preparing for the next part of the journey.
Although it was a blessed relief to him to leave his disease-ridden body, he nevertheless felt their grief weigh heavily upon him. He tried to communicate with them, in his aware moments before his actual passing, trying to tell them that he loved them and they were good boys all, and to look after their mother when he was gone, but it was no use. They were too wrapped up in their own fear and loss to recognise it. He had no more control over his body than he would a wet rag and it made him feel frustrated and weak, until eventually he gave up trying.
Now that he was ‘gone’ it was worse. He himself was amazed that although he could see his dead body lying on the hospital bed, his wife and sons standing around him crying, he was still here. He tried to shout, to tell them.
“Hey, I’m still here. I’m still alive. You all think I’m dead, but I’m not. Look.”
They could not hear anything. He could see how sad each of them was feeling. He could see the doctor consoling his wife, and his sons, trying not to show their tears. He could see their pain all around them, like a dense grey cloud. He tried to touch them but they were so full of anguish and so connected to his physical, emaciated body that they could not see. He wanted them to know that he was free, free of all the pain and all the suffering, but he could not get through to them.
He felt weightless – bigger somehow. It was a wonderful feeling. He was also aware of a pulling sensation, as if he was being pulled upwards, but he was not ready to leave his family yet, not until he knew they were going to be alright, so he resisted the sensation.
He tried speaking, tried touching, but nothing he did seemed to get through to his family, until he heard a voice telling him to focus on his wife. He did not know where the voice was coming from, but it was so full of love and kindness that Philip listened. It also sounded very familiar, but he was so focused on his wife that he did not have the time to think about who it might be.
“Focus on your shared love,” the voice instructed, as Philip gazed sadly at his wife. “Send her loving images of how you first met and how you felt about each other.”
Philip tried to project the images into his wife’s mind but Marjory was not responding. Her grief was too overwhelming and he thought they were not getting through.
“Wait a few moments,” he heard the voice say. He stopped and waited. Then he saw her picking up the framed family photo, which they had placed on the bedside cabinet beside his bed. They had brought it from home to remind him of the love they all shared as a family. While he was awake, he used to gaze at it and it comforted him. Marjory began to stroke the image of Philip lovingly. She kissed the photo, telling her husband how much she loved him and how she was going to miss him. But – she was smiling.
“You see?” the voice said, “She hears you. But she doesn’t realise.”
“But I want her to know I’m still alive, that I can still be with her. I want her to stop feeling so sad. How can I do that?”
The voice was silent for a moment, and then it spoke again.
“While your wife is looking at the photo her mind is more open. See if you can find a ‘space’ amongst all of her thoughts and feelings of sadness, and as soon as see one, place there an image of one of your most treasured moments together. This will help her to take her thoughts to that time, then wait and see what happens.”
Philip did as he was instructed, and did not have to wait long before the swirling thoughts of sadness and grief opened up just enough for Philip to insert the image he had chosen into Marjory’s mind. He worked fast, not wanting to lose the opportunity before her feelings of loss closed her down again.
As soon as he had inserted the image he saw Marjorie’s eyes fly open wide with recognition.
“Philip?” she asked into the air above her head. She could feel his essence, the love he was sending her so strongly.
“Yes – yes – it’s me darling,” Philip cried with excitement. “It’s really me.” He placed his hand on hers, and without thinking, Marjory placed her hand on top of his.
“She feels me,” he said with relieved excitement, “She knows it’s me.”
“Watch now,” the voice said again. Philip watched and as Marjory became aware of Philip’s presence in the room her entire energy field shifted colour. Where it was black and dark grey it now became a rosy orange and pink. He could see all of the darkness around her heart and head shift as she became filled with the joyful knowledge of her husband’s continued presence.
Marjory replaced the photo on the bedside cabinet, and smiled. She no longer felt as heavy as she did moments before, but Philip knew that it would take time for them all to adjust to his death, Marjory included. However, he felt sure that now she would be alright, and that was all that mattered.
Philip turned to the voice, which was now the familiar figure of one of his favourite teachers, who he had had as a child but who had died before his time at school was finished. He had felt a strong bond to her and missed her terribly when she had passed.
“It’s OK,” he said smiling, “We can go now. They’re going to be alright.”
His guide smiled and together they moved into the realms of light.
Marjory, holding the hand of her beloved husband whispered into the air, “Goodbye my darling. See you soon.”