Several years ago my mother had a near-fatal car accident which resulted in her sustaining a severe traumatic head injury that left her comatose for two weeks. When she regained consciousness she had complete amnesia and did not know who she was or who any of her family was. The doctors informed us that her head injury was so severe that it was likely that she would never recover her long term memory and her short term memory would be greatly limited.
Because of the devastating physical injuries and cognitive impairment the doctors suggested that my mother be placed in a rehabilitation center that would help her recover physical function, relearn basic living tasks and help her to redevelop whatever cognitive abilities could be achieved. My grandmother refused this suggestion and convinced my father that the best place for my mother would be in her care. Over the objections of her doctors, my mother was transferred to the care of my grandmother with professional home visitation services from therapists and nurses.
When my mother came home from the hospital my grandmother had filled the room with pictures of relatives hoping that it would help jar my mother’s memory. She didn’t tell my mother who the people in the photographs were hoping that their images would cause my mother to question and try to determine on her own who the people in the pictures were. At the time my mother had been told that my grandmother was her mother, I was her daughter, my father was her husband and my sons were her grandchildren. As people would come to visit, my grandmother would tell her this is your Aunt Alice, or this is your cousin Rose. But she never mentioned who the people in the pictures were.
During my mother’s recovery she claims that she was visited by the spirit of my grandfather, my paternal grandmother and a woman that she did not know. My mother claims that she awoke to find them standing beside her bed. My grandfather reached down as if to wiggle her toe and with a broad smile said, “you’re gonna be ok, gal. Everything is going to be fine.” My mother states that at the time of his visitation that she did not know who he was, or who the other two women with him were. She had thought them the same as others visiting her, but said that she felt a great amount of love and found their presence to be very comforting as they gathered around her.
One day my grandmother was helping my mother feed herself when my mother pointed to a picture of my grandfather and asked, “Who is that man?” My grandmother, thinking that she was remembering him, said, “That is your father.” My mother said that he had come to see her and questioned why he had not come back. My grandmother, unsure of how to respond, hesitantly said, “honey your daddy is dead. He’s been gone over three years.” My mother responded that he could not be dead because she had seen him and that he had sat on her bed, talked to her and playfully tried to wiggle her toes. She told my grandmother that two women had been with him. She glanced about at the pictures unable to find one of the women she had seen and said, “But I know that they love me too.”
I have waffled at times in my belief that my mother’s claim is true. On one hand, it seems likely to me that she could have hallucinated their presence due to her brain injury. But what always makes me reconsider is that during that period of time she was suffering from complete amnesia. She did not know who people were, and did not know that my grandfather and my paternal grandmother were deceased. While it is possible that she could have formed images of people from a dormant memory, it seems unlikely since she has no conscious memory of any of her relatives, and odd that the two people who she “imagined” were both deceased, and the third one completely unknown to this day.
While there have been times when I have been highly skeptical of my mother’s story, as time goes on and I study more concepts in metaphysics, plus my willingness to believe her, I am finding that I more than not accept her story as a true spiritual visitation. I know that my mother does not possess memories of her childhood or her life before the night of her accident, yet she described my grandfather’s smile, language and personality in such a way that I would have known she was talking about him even if she had never seen his picture so that he was identified to her.
The skeptic in me can always argue some sort of latent memory produced her “visitation”. So it comes down to what I choose to believe. Exploring the spiritual world is such a fascinating endeavor. Why should I give it up to doubt?