Q. Two years ago last month, my sister lost her husband to an extended illness. Recently, she has reported seeing “a patch of sparkling lights” in the corner of the ceiling in various rooms of her house. She reports that when this apparition materializes, she feels a calmness that is absent from the majority of her days. She never said anything about this to anyone until one day my niece was at the house and when the “sparkles’ appeared, she asked my sister if she saw it too.
My 81 year old mother spends the day with my sister and she has begun to see my father (dead these six years) and she says my deceased grandmother has also walked in and out of the room on two occasions.In performing my duties as a hospice nurse, I have had patients who reported seeing departed loved ones and even angels within hours or days of their own death. These appearances are never troubling and actually bring comfort to most of the persons who experience this phenomenon.
I know the Scriptures have many examples of the spiritual world “bumping” into the physical world. Is it possible that my family members and my patients have had similar experiences? I know that the rich man was denied the opportunity to go back and warn his brothers about the reality of hell and at the same time, we are encouraged to be hospitable to strangers because might be entertaining angels.
I am not sure how to answer my sister and mother’s questions about these things. Can you help?
A. I’m aware of a blurring of the lines between this world and the next when death is immanent. This could explain the experiences of your terminal patients. But I take it that your mother, sister and niece are healthy. You didn’t say whether they (both the living and the dead) are all believers, but I’m much more suspicious of things like this and believe it’s likely that these spirits are up to no good. I say this because of the Biblical prohibition of interaction between the living and the dead. (Deut. 18:9-12). And remember, the spirits of the dead and angels are not the same thing. They are different orders of creation.