Tales From Beyond?
I was fifteen years old when John F. Kennedy was assassinated and my niece was almost two years old. For those that were not alive in 1963, regular television programming was pre-empted for live coverage of the events relating to the assassination and aftermath - Johnson being sworn in as the new president, the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald, and the funeral. For me, it was curious to note that my niece, despite being a toddler, knew something bad was happening. As our family was watching the events unfolding on TV, little Tina Marie was roaming the living room in an obvious state of despair. When Oswald was shot she started crying. The strange part was that she had watched several Western TV shows with us previously and when the "bad" guy got shot she had no reaction. Somehow she could distinguish between fiction and reality. Somehow, she understood the tragedy of the events that week.
Thirty years ago when I worked for a 500-bed hospital, one night I got a page to the orthopedic unit to set up traction on an elderly woman who had broken her hip. While I was getting the traction frame on her bed, the woman was rambling on about how she needed to go out and buy a new pair of shoes to put the ice cream in before Johnny got home from school.. After finishing putting the traction frame on her bed, I sought out a nurse to assist me. I had her hold the womanís leg up enough for me to wrap the leg with an Ace bandage so I could attach the traction. Meanwhile, the woman was trying to decide whether chocolate or strawberry ice cream would be better to put in the new shoes. I nodded towards the woman and said to the nurse assisting me "I hope I donít get that way when I am that old." Suddenly, the old woman rose up in bed and said in a nasty tone "I hope to hell you do" and then laid back down and continued rambling on about ice cream and shoes.
The year was 1959. Mom and dad had divorced the prior year. Mom was raising 4 children on her own. One Winter night she and three other friends had planned on going to a special meeting in a town 40 miles away. To get there, they had to drive through a canyon. The woman had already picked up the other two ladies making the trip and was now at our house to pick up Mom. Mom kissed us goodbye and gave us a hug then went out the door. A few minutes later, she came back in the house and told us she was not going after all. My mother told me later on in my adult life as to why she didnít go that night. As she was opening the car door, she heard her father tell her not to go so she changed her mind about going. Her father had died on Christmas day in1935! Since the car already had two people in the back seat, and Mom didnít drive, she would have sat in the front passenger seat. Going though the canyon, the car was traveling behind a flat-bed truck hauling long pipes of about 12 inches in diameter. The truck all of a sudden hit the brakes and the pipes slid off the truck. One of the pipes went right through the windshield on the passenger side. If Mom had been in that car and seat, she would have been beheaded!
For the last three years of my Momís life, her health was poor. She had two heart attacks a year apart. I spent a lot of time at her bedside in the cardiac unit. One time, when she was in the hospital for her second heart attack, for several days she remained in a semi-conscious state. One afternoon, all of a sudden she rose up in bed with a big smile on her face and said "Oh Iím so glad to see you. Iím ready" and started to get out of bed. A few seconds later she stated "Oh, OK" then laid back down to her semi-conscious state. A few days later, when she was finally fully conscious, I asked her about her sudden, brief change a few days earlier, and she told me that she had woken up and saw her mother, father, both brothers and sister at the foot of her bed. She thought they were there to take her "home." The problem was is that all of these relatives were long dead!
A year later my Mom broke her hip and had to have surgery to fix it. As it turned out, she was not recovering. After a month in the hospital, she was discharged under the care of HOSPICE at my home. For the next month she spent most of her time sleeping. One evening we were watching television together. All of a sudden she rose up in her bed with a big smile and said "OK," then clutched her chest and flopped back down on the bed. She died.