81: Anne and Bill

81: Anne and Bill

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

Anne and Bill

Clouds on clouds, in volumes driven,
Curtain round the vault of heaven.

~Thomas Love Peacock

About eleven years ago, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. After two years of fighting hard to stay alive, she was hospitalized for pain management. We all thought she would be in the hospital for a week or so; but she took a turn for the worse and it looked like she was coming to the end of her life.

She talked to me about life after death. She believed very strongly that she would be able to come back and somehow let me know she was okay.

She told me the story of her own mother. My grandmother went into the hospital after my uncle was born. Mom was never sure if it was pneumonia or cancer. My mother was only eight years old at the time. One night she was awakened by something that literally sat her up in bed, and her arm went up as if someone was pulling on it. She immediately knew her mother had died. She was sure it was her mother coming to say goodbye to her. Mom told me to watch for lights going on and off—that would be her sign to let me know she was safely on the other side.

I believed her completely, as I had my own experiences when I was younger and my son died.

My mother passed away on October 1, 2002 in the middle of the night. We all rushed to the hospital to say our goodbyes and then wearily drove back home.

I lay down in my bed and closed my eyes. Within minutes, the lamp in my room went on by itself.

I jumped up and looked at the lamp. It went off again. This began to happen quite often.

I was not the only one experiencing these things. During the first month following my mother’s death, lights went on and off everywhere. I had not mentioned this to my sister until she said she was having this odd problem at her house… lights were going on outside her house by themselves and the electrician could not figure out what was wrong.

Needless to say, I knew immediately.

That was not the end of it. One day I was having a pretty serious disagreement with my brothers and sister when, all of a sudden, all the lights in the house went out. We all stood there for a minute, and they came back on. We all looked at each other and said that was Mom telling us to stop fighting.

To be honest, the most incredible sign my mother gave me was about a month after she died. My husband took me away for a weekend trip to Quebec. We went to visit the Cathedral of St Anne, for whom my mother was named. It was a dark, rainy day, and when we got to the church it was pouring so hard even the umbrella was useless.

We stepped inside, said some prayers and lit a candle for Mom. When we stepped outside onto the front porch of the church, I looked at my husband and said, “Mom would be so happy right now that we are here.”

At that very moment, the pitch-black sky parted and a huge ball of sun emerged, almost blinding us. The only way to describe it is like the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz when she first appeared in the movie. As quickly as the sun came toward us, it retreated. The sky closed up, turned dark again and began to pour. I turned to my husband and said, “Oh my god, that was my mother.” He looked at me and said, “If I was not here with you, I would never have believed this.”

I knew that Mom was okay.

Over the course of the last decade, Mom has come and gone many times. Always lights going on or off without any reason, or something falling off a wall at an odd time.

She came again recently as my father was preparing to leave us. Dad had lived with us for the last four years after his stroke. He began to decline and we knew he was going to die shortly. I was sitting with him most of the day and decided to go into the kitchen to check on my daughter.

I sat down at the table, right under the skylight. It was a rainy, gray day. All of a sudden, I felt heat coming from the skylight. I looked up and saw the sun coming through the clouds much like the day at St Anne’s. I could not believe my eyes and I asked my daughter if she was seeing what I was… she was also shocked. Once again, the sun came and went in a matter of minutes and then it began to rain again.

My first thought was that my father must have died, so I ran to his room. He was still alive, but I knew in my heart that my mother was here and had come to get him.

That same afternoon, my father’s caregiver felt a presence when walking toward his room. She turned to see who was behind her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone walking into the room. The trouble was that no one was in there. As she entered my father’s room, she walked into what she described as a ball of heat. She thought that perhaps the air conditioning was not working. But as she walked a bit further into the room, it felt very cold. She was not going to mention it, but my daughter walked in shortly after and asked her if she felt the heat at the doorway. Both of them believed some kind of spirit was there to take him.

He died shortly thereafter that day.

My father has been gone for a month now. So far I have woken up in the middle of the night to my computer going on for no apparent reason, and, out of the blue, my husband’s alarm clock started going off at five in the morning. I am still trying to figure Dad out. I am hopeful this is his way of letting us know he is okay.

~Debbie Rouhana Lane

More stories from our partners