Near Death Experiences / Afterlife Studies/Near death
As a nurse, I have witnessed people on their death beds 'talking' to dead family members just before they died. In your studies, have you come across this? Also, do you think that some people 'just know' they will die soon? My Dad predicted his own death, and so did a friend. My friend was only 25 anh healthy, but he felt he was not long for the world. He died in an accident not of his cause. Thanks for your thoughts!
Hello to a neighbor in Saskatchewan and thank you for writing to me at All Experts / Near Death Experience and Afterlife Studies. In your profession as a nurse you will have the opportunity to witness many such occurrences. I will address some that you have brought up.
The first incident of people speaking to or acknowledging what to outside observers seem to be invisible beings a is a phenomena known as "Death Bed Visions" [DBV]or a Death Bed Experience [DBE]. These events differ from meeting predeceased family members and friends after clinical death on the "other side" whilst in a Near Death Experience [NDE]. A DBE can occur from days to minutes before one passes on. The visitors that the person is experiencing are usually family, friends and/or spirit guides, although depending on ones belief system the vision may be that of a religious figure or an angel. If a spouse predeceased the dying, and provided they were on good terms with each other while in life, they are commonly the being that is being witnessed. These predecessors are there as guides to take the deceased into the light. They act as guides and will remain at bed side until the soul has left the body and joins the accompanying spirit to the next realm. DBEs happen universally regardless of religious belief, race, age or gender.
There are those of course who will argue that what is happening has a 'logical' [physiological, pathological and/or psychological] cause. Some will say that it is a case of "wish fulfillment". Others will argue that it is a biological brain response to make dying less harsh. When all else fails the "hallucination" card is played. Others are just plainly pseudo-skeptical and cynical to anything that they do not understand.
However, Dr. Raymond Moody has studied and coined the phrase of what are known as "Shared Death Experiences" [SDE]. These are events where one who is watching over another who is in their death bed actually see what the dying person is seeing. These shared experiences pretty much destroy any of the arguments presented above.
It is interesting to note that those who have had a DBE usually face their approaching death willingly and without fear. Some even delight in the fact that they will soon be among their family and friends. If an outside observer notices a change in attitude towards the positive of someone nearing death they can assume that the person has had a DBV whether they mention it or not. It is from what I understand a beautiful and moving experience.
Susan, you may be interested in the following books:
Parting Visions: Pre-Death, Psychic and Spiritual Experiences by Melvin Morse, MD
and I highly recommend the following book written by two hospice nurses about their encounters with patients experiencing DBVs:
Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying
by Maggie Callanan, RN / Patricia Kelley, RN
Premonitions regarding one's own death is not very common but does happen. I supposed the most famous example is Abraham Lincoln's premonition dream two weeks before his death. In his own words,
"...Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully.
" ‘Who is dead in the White House?’, I demanded of one of the soldiers.
" ‘The President’, was his answer, ‘He was killed by an assassin.’
"Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which awoke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."
Two weeks later he was dead.
One must remember that Lincoln's life was threatened several times so the worry of the possibility of assassination must have weighed heavy in his subconscious mind. The exact mechanics of these premonitions are still unknown. Of course, like most psychical events, abilities vary greatly from person to person. From a more scientific point of view, gut feelings are associated with the discovery of a primitive type of "brain" - a network of neurotransmitters, neurons and proteins around and lining the stomach, small intestine and colon [thus the term "gut feeling"]. As a nurse you would recognize this as the enteric nervous system. It is believed that this system was used by our ancestors as a survival mechanism, almost on the psychic level. The interaction of this system with the brain is, as you are aware, extremely complex with an entire branch of medicine dedicated to it, gastroenterology. Perhaps this gut feeling extends to allowing one to sense their own demise in the odd rare case. More research would need to be done in the field of death premonitions, especially where one presumes his own death.
Well Susan, I hope that I have managed to shed some light on your questions. As stated, you are in a position to witness some pretty amazing and thought provoking experiences dealing with the souls journey into death. If the visions of the dying are actually visits from those from the realm of spirits to take their charges home then there is nothing to fear of death any more than one has to fear changing clothes. We merely take off one body to put on another.
If you have anymore questions, concerns or feel that I can help in anyway do not hesitate a second to write to me.
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