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Death Bed Experiences

Death Bed Experiences

For many years, perhaps back to the time of Jesus, people about to die have reported visions of Jesus, angels, family members and heaven. These appear to be believable as many have also had visions of hell.

Trudy Harris was for many years a hospice nurse and also the former president of Hospice Foundation for Caring. In her book Glimpses of Heaven, foreword by Don Piper, she writes of the visions and comforts experienced by her former patients as they died. I have heard reports from other hospice personnel who report the almost identical visions. I highly recommend Trudy’s book for your reading.

In her introduction she stated the following:

“Many years ago, I was visiting a terminally ill patient at his home in the middle of the night. As I entered his room, he smiled and, pointing to the window nearest his bed, said to me, ‘There’s an angel at my window, Trudy. Can you see him?’ It was more than evident to me that Pat was actively dying and had very little time left, maybe an hour or so. He was peaceful and unafraid but awestruck by what he was seeing. I explained to him that God was preparing to take him home very soon, and He was letting him have a glimpse of heaven before going in. He smiled knowingly, nodding his head in agreement, and seemed totally at peace with that thought. Since he lived alone, I promised to stay with him until he was taken there safely by the angel who was watching over him now. Sitting on the floor next to his bed, I held his hand for less than an hour until he died.”

“Over many years, family members, friends and patients in my care have shared with me their very personal experiences of dying. Their experiences are as varied and unique as the persons themselves, and are shared with an openness and confidence that can only be explained by their anticipated and imminent meeting with God. He speaks to their spirits in a way no one else ever has as he prepares to call them home. No one has to tell them they are dying: they know and recognize His voice. They have developed what I call ‘spiritual eyes and ears’ and seem to see and understand things in a way we cannot. The experiences are unique to the persons themselves but share a common theme of enlightenment, love, and acceptance at the end of life. They give us glimpses into a world none of us has yet seen but one day will. Each person seems to receive exactly what he or she needs to see and hear in order to die peacefully and well.”

“As the physical body declines, the spiritual self becomes apparent and seems to yearn in a real and tangible way for someone or something greater than itself. This appears to be a very natural movement on the part of the dying person and is expressed in a myriad of ways. People who are about to die are very generous in sharing their experiences if they feel you will be open to hearing them. They tell you about their experiences as they are living them and seem to want to help you understand the simplicity of it all.”

“This temporary tent, which is our body, is changing, and no one knows this better than the person who is dying. If you sit quietly and listen to them, both their questions and their insights, they will invite you to share in this next, awesome step in life’s journey. There is nothing left to hide, nothing to gain, and nothing to prove or lose, thus making the sharing totally pure. And when you enter into the wonderment of these blessed experiences with them, you yourself will grow.”

“Visions of those who have gone before them, angels, beautiful music, and personally comforting experiences permeate the minds and hearts of those who are dying. The imprints of their shared experiences are left with us to ponder and more importantly to provide a platform for our own lives. This book does not attempt to define or provide meanings to what people see and hear. Rather it offers a portrait of what we might expect when our time inevitably comes and demystifies death as only first-person accounts can do.”

“When patients and friends who were dying would say to me. ‘Today is my day’ or ‘I saw my name on the marker’ or ‘I heard them call my name’ or ‘my son is here with me now; he said it’s time to go,’ at first I simply did not understand. When many others told me about seeing angels in their rooms, being visited by loved ones who had died before them, or hearing beautiful choirs or smelling fragrant flowers when there were none around, I assumed it was the result of the medications they were taking or possibly dehydration. Surely the visions could not be real. But when others who were dying and not on medication and not dehydrated were saying the same things, I started to listen, really listen.”

“When they spoke of angels, which many did, the angels were always described as more beautiful than they had ever imagined, eight feet tall, male, and wearing a white for which there is no word. ‘Luminescent’ is what each one said, like nothing they had ever seen before. The music they spoke of was far more exquisite than any symphony they had ever heard, and over and over again they mentioned colors that they said were to beautiful to describe.”

“I have the feeling that people do not die at the exact minute or hour that we say they do. In some inexplicable way that we do not yet understand, they seem to travel back and forth from this world to the next, developing the insights God wants them to have on this, their final journey back to the Father who created them.”

“A patient who was afraid to die lying flat on his back asked me to hold him in a sitting position as he was dying. Moments before he died he said to me, ‘Trudy, there is no such thing as time. Dying is like walking from the living room into the dining room, there are no beginnings or endings.’ The words he spoke were in response to my looking at my watch as I foolishly counted his respirations, and he smiled a very patient smile as he said it. Then he closed his eyes and died. There are so many new insights, so many opportunities to think and understand in a whole new way when seeing from the perspective of the patient who is moment away from entering heaven. There are so many important lessons people are trying to teach us moments before they die. We had better listen. We are standing on holy ground during these moments, and we dare not miss one of them” (pp 13-20).

Billy Graham Reports

In his book Death and the Life After, Billy reports on the death bed experiences of friends and family members.

“Ruth [his wife] tells about an experience she had in China. On the station where she lived, one of the evangelistic missionaries was Ad Talbot, whom she affectionately called Uncle Ad. Talbot had five sons and a daughter, Margaret Gay, a girl he deeply loved. Sometime after her death he was in the country with a Chinese Christian woman who was dying. As he knelt beside her bed, the old woman’s face lit up and she said to Uncle Ad, ‘I see heaven, and Jesus is on the right hand of God, and Margaret Gay is with him.’ At that moment the room was filled with heavenly music and the Chinese woman was dead” (pp 169).

“When my grandmother was dying she sat up in her bed, smiled, and said, ‘I see Jesus, and He has His hand outstretched to me. And there’s Ben and he has both of his eyes and both of his legs!” My grandfather had lost a leg and an eye at Gettysburg” (pp 169).

He reports on his mother’s visions.

“One morning when she awoke, she told Rose (caretaker) there was a man at the foot of her bed. She wanted to know who he was. Rose asked her if he looked like a good man. ‘Oh yes, he has a very kind face.’ ‘Maybe he’s your guardian angel.’ Mother then asked, ‘Who is that woman who comes in with you?’ This time Rose was startled. ‘There hasn’t been anyone with me,’ she said. ‘Oh but for the last two weeks every time you came in the room there’s been someone with you. She just stands beside you. She must be your guardian angel.'”

“A short time passed. The next day she was in a semicoma, but woke early in the morning, long enough to announce very loudly, ‘No payment, no pain, no sickness, no death….O what a beautiful day!’ Then she said: ‘Am I in a coma yet?’ ‘No, Ma’am’ ‘Am I dead yet? Are we in heaven yet?’ ‘No Ma’am’, Rose answered, ‘It’s a beautiful day, anyhow.’ The morning she went to be with the Lord she kept reaching up…. She tried to say something about hand” (pp 132-133).

Death of D. L. Moody

“William R. Moody, His Son, in his book The Life of Dwight L. Moody reports on the death of his father. His son-in-law, A.P. Fitt in his book, Shorter Life of D. L.. Moody, confirms the same story. You may read the story on the Web Site. Dr. Moody had a very bad heart and had called the elders of the church to anoint him with oil and to pray for him.

“After a rather restless night he fell into a quiet sleep for over an hour, from which he awoke in a sinking condition. During the earlier hours of the night, Mr. Fitt, his son-in-law, had been by his bedside, and he had seemed to rest and sleep a greater part of the time. At three in the morning, the elder son took the place as watcher in the sick-chamber, and for several hours Mr. Moody was very restless and unable to sleep. About 6 o’clock he quieted down, and soon fell into a natural sleep, from which he awoke in about an hour. Suddenly he was heard speaking in slow and measured words. He was saying: ‘Earth recedes; Heaven opens before me.’ The first impulse was to try to arouse him from what appeared to be a dream. ‘No, this is no dream, Will,’ he replied. ‘It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go.’ Meanwhile the nurse was summoning the family and the physician, who had spent the night in the house. Mr. Moody continued to talk quietly, and seemed to speak from another world his last message to the loved ones he was leaving.”

‘I have always been an ambitious man,’ he said, ‘ambitious to leave no wealth or possessions, but to leave lots of work for you to do. Will, you will carry on Mount Hermon. Paul will take up the Seminary, when he is older; Fitt will look after the Institute, and Ambert (his nephew) will help you in the business details.’ Then it seemed as though he saw beyond the veil, for he exclaimed: ‘This is my triumph; this is my coronation day! I have been looking forward to it for years.’ Then his face lit up, and he said, in a voice of joyful rapture:’Dwight! Irene! — I see the children’s faces,‘ referring to the two little grandchildren God had taken from his life in the past year. Then, as he thought he was losing consciousness; he said; ‘Give my love to them all.‘ Turning to his wife, he exclaimed, ‘Mamma, you have been a good wife to me!‘ and with that he became unconscious.”

“For a time it seemed that he had passed on into the unseen world, but slowly he revived, under the effect of heart stimulants, and, suddenly raising himself on his elbow, exclaimed: ‘What does all this mean? What are you all doing here?’ He was told that he had not been well, and immediately it all seemed to be clear to him, and he said: ‘This is a strange thing. I have been beyond the gates of death and to the very portals of Heaven, and here I am back again. It is very strange.’ Again he talked about the work to be done assigning in the sons the Northfield schools, and to his daughter and her husband the Chicago Bible Institute. Then, in answer to the query of the daughter, ‘But, Father what about Mother?’ he replied ‘Oh she’s like Eve, the mother of us all,’ evidently meaning to imply that she was to mother the whole, and to be to all the interests as well as to the children the same helpful adviser and balance that she had been to him for so many years.”

“To the plea of his daughter that he should not leave them, he said: ‘I’m not going to throw my life away. I’ll stay as long as I can, but if my time is come, I’m ready.’ ”

Then he seemed to revive for a short time and then he began to fade again. “In a few moments more another sinking turn came, and from it he awoke in the presence of Him whom he loved and served so long and devotedly. It was not like death, for he fell on sleep quietly and peacefully.”

“Of his awaking consciousness beyond the thin veil which separates the seen from the unseen we may not know just now, but of the welcome in that City for which at times he felt such a strange homesickness we may be sure. Did he not himself testify to having been ‘within the gates’ and ‘beyond the portals,’ where he had caught a glimpse of child faces ‘loved long since and lost awhile’? During his earthly pilgrimage it had not been given him to sing the sweet and joyful melodies that filled his soul, but at that Christmas tide he joined in Heaven’s glorious anthems of praise to Him whose love had been a consuming fire and whom he had served with such devotion when on earth.”