Faith and Doubt

Three Visiting Spirits

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.

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Mahtomj

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Mahtomj

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?


8 thoughts on “Three Visiting Spirits

  1. It is quite common for departed loved ones to visit relatives who are near death. After reading your post, I tend to believe your mother…that it was indeed her father and two other spirits who visited her.

    • Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with me. I like that you thought my mother’s visitation was genuine. I tend to often straddle the fence with the paranormal and supernatural because I have a beast of a inner skeptic. I don’t fully embrace the claims made (as of yet) but I don’t deny the possibility of them either.
      I browsed your blog and decided to follow along. Maybe I can learn and understand a few things better than I do now.

  2. I understand your position on the paranormal…until you experience a spirit visitation or observe someone else have one, it is a difficult concept to grasp. It’s a bit like having faith in God; we don’t see God, but those who believe, know that God exists. By remaining open to the spirit world, you keep the door open.

  3. The arguments for hallucination in these instances I think can be a blind trumph sometimes and, although offering an explanation, don’t say much about the likelihood of that explanation other than occams razor (imho). With the number of such sightings though and their details, Im not entirely such if occams is sufficent. Because of that I think I get more hung up on WHY someone sees things and why WHO sees them seems inconsistent. If theres a pattern (beyond jut being subject to potential misdirections of perception) one might be on to something.

    • Good points. My mother only claims this one experience. My question is did her brain injury disconnect her from her sense of material reality sufficiently enough that she was able to witness an alternate dimension? Is this why unusually sensitive people, small children or people who do not hold a rigid grasp on material reality are said to be the ones who are most likely to experience the paranormal?
      Like I stated I don’t dismiss the paranormal, but seemingly like you, I am looking for the pattern or information that will cause it to make better sense. It interests me because I toy with the notion that the paranormal and the supernatural may be related.

      • I think the idea of “sensitives” is often ad hoc though. Honestly to make it credible I feel Id have to assume it linked to a biological mechanism as you were hinting. It’s hard to believe though as it would be such a wide-reaching paradigm breaker (and would have heavy implications on things like hallucinogenic drugs and dreams that are not easily reconcilable with what we know). I dont see any other way though, as even assuming some sort of dualism leading to specifically spiritual characteristics, I dont think those who are “sensitive” match up consistently with those who are spiritual on any fundamental level.

        I think Dr. Ian Stevensons research on reincarnation is relevant and interesting in this discussion as well. For me, his work has some extra oomph to it specifically because he does noticed a fairly consistent pattern (his “reincarnation” tends to exhibit in children with waning memories after age 5 amongst those who died suddenly). That pattern implies a reality and mechanism to it (whether spiritual or actually just normal) that I think a lot of the supernatural doesn’t share (such as miracles which seem massively erratic in occurrence).

  4. It is hard to know! I like that you have both skepticism and “what-ifs” about this situation, which must have been mentally anguishing either way. While I think that there are some things that we may never come to know, I couldn’t blame you for exploring the possibilities on either side of the fence on which you find yourself.

    • True, it is hard to know. My mother believes this was a visit from my grandfather. She is not someone who haphazardly makes things up so I know for her it is a very real experience. I have decided that when it comes to the paranormal and supernatural we have to choose what we are willing to believe and what makes the most sense in our own perspectives. I have no definitive proof that it did not or could not happen, so I choose to believe her. And I am jealous of her experience, because I would love to see him just one more time, even if in a dream.

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