As I was trolling the internet a few days ago I came across an article (see link below the photo) that talked about a phenomenon many people who are close to death experience. This caught my attention because I witnessed this when my great-grandmother was dying from cancer twenty plus years ago. It was my first and to date only encounter with this experience and I found it eerie and unsettling.

My great-grandmother was a constant presence in my life up until the day she died. She lived on her own up until the last few years of her life; then she went to live with her son/my great-uncle and his wife across the river from where we lived. Every few months she would come to our house and spend a week with us. 

Unfortunately, when I was in high school, my great-grandmother developed what the doctor's said was cervical cancer. She ignored her symptoms for so long that by the time she was strong-armed into seeking medical help it was difficult to diagnosis and pretty much too late to try and treat. At this point, she stopped coming to our home so my mom would bring us to my great-uncle's house to visit with her. 

During one such visit, and to my recollection, this was the last one I had with her, we were sitting in her bedroom. My great-grandmother was to my left and my mom was sitting across from me. Mom was asking her questions, making general chit chat, when my great-grandmother shared that she recently had some visitors. When my mom asked her who she gave the names of people that had passed on years before. At first, I was confused by what my great-grandmother was saying. I thought I was missing something or maybe had people mixed up. I remember looking at my mother who had a wide-eyed 'oh boy' look on her face which took me from confused to nervous. I saw her make a split second decision on how she was going to handle this strange turn of conversation. She played along. She began to ask my great-grandmother questions, just as if these deceased people had actually stopped by to see her. The conversation wasn't long and meandered into other, less strange, topics. After we said goodbye and got in the car I immediately turned to my mother and asked her what the heck was that?! She knew what it meant and explained this phenomenon. It was a quiet car ride home.

On the left is my great, great grandmother Augusta with her daughter, my great grandmother Ella. 

On the left is my great, great grandmother Augusta with her daughter, my great grandmother Ella. 

If you are interested in reading the article written by Gary Rotstein on this topic, here is the link. It first appeared in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette on July 2.