Ken Smith's Mother When I was ten years old my mother was in a sanatorium for tuberculosis. She suffered terribly. No cure or palliative relief was available in 1939. Her lungs were devoured by tubercular bacteria, wholly tuberculated. Her Pentecostal ministers and friends visited regularly, prayed their supplications, knelt in worship beside her sick bed. When the grip of death was obvious a nurse came for me, at my bed in the same sanatorium, to bring me to my mother's room; only not into her room. I and my small brother, small sister, were brought to the outside window of her room, to look in and wave to my mother through the glass; no contact allowed, for fear of contagion.

Unexpectedly my mother sat bolt upright, a startling sight given her emaciation. She was not looking at we children, however. She was looking straight towards the end of her bed. Nurses inside with her reported later that my mother had spoken to a vision of Jesus at the end of her bed, Jesus standing there with arms open in a gesture of welcome, "Welcome home."

That was my experience of her expiry. My life was never the same again; I became a delinquent at eleven, a teen alcoholic, a thief, a gambler, a convict; a man without hope.

Jeff Watson adds:

All I can say is "Wow"! I'm trying to deal with the memories of seeing my lovely wife die in my arms, and it's been hard, harder than I could ever manage. They say these feelings will subside with time, but I don't know about that. I do know that since her death, my soul-searching has lead me to make sure I fullful some promises I made to her in her final hours. Like you, Ken, I don't think my life will ever be the same again.

James Smyth writes:

I am a physician, and as an intern I did my training at Memorial - Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. An unfortunate part of that training is that I witnessed the death of several young cancer patients, including a few children. At the time, I was emotionally devestated by the the loss of those patients, but I understood that I couldn't truly understand the pain of those who had lost loved ones. Five years ago I lost my daughter after a struggle with a brain tumor that consumed most of her life. She was eight years old, and she was perfect in every way. In spite of her lot in life, she was optimistic, she made friends, she sang with the most beautiful soprano voice, and she never, ever wanted me to be sad. She thought that I was perfect, and I suppose that when I was around her, that I was. I'll never meet a person like her again in my life.


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