My paternal grandmother, Kathleen Morris passed away peacefully early in the afternoon on October 5th, 2016 at the age of seventy-seven. I was twenty-eight at the time. Throughout the years I had known her, she always expressed a peculiar fearlessness towards death. Though she passed away almost six years ago, I never successfully uncovered the reasoning behind her nonchalant attitude towards the inevitable until very recently.
My Aunt Wendy was born fairly early in the morning in November of 1965. Throughout the days prior to the delivery, my grandmother became extremely fearful towards experiencing the pains association with childbirth for a second time. My great grandfather, Starling Morris, was a highly-decorated World War I veteran and a doctor. My grandmother's level of anxiety soon became unbearable and she discussed the matter with her father to determine how to remedy the problem. She specifically mentioned that during the delivery, she was committed to receiving morphine to dull the pain. Her father became immensely apprehensive and strictly advised her to reconsider. My grandmother was born with a heart condition known as arrhythmia, which caused her heart to beat irregularly. During their conversation, my great grandfather warned her that the dose of morphine could potentially kill her. Because she could no longer tolerate the fear, she ultimately ignored her father's warning.
By the time the doctors rushed her into the delivery room, she requested the morphine and they regrettably approved her request. The morphine was promptly administered and within moments, my grandmother became overwhelmed with fatigue and lost consciousness. She claimed she vividly remembered levitating above the delivery table and looking down at her body while the doctors frantically endeavoured to resuscitate her. She felt weightless and gradually began elevating higher and higher, as if some far off magnetic force inevitably drew her closer against her will.
Momentarily, the delivery room completely vanished from sight. She found herself floating freely within a vast, expansive dark void, free from all tangible matter. Directly in front of her appeared a strange entity, which assumed the form of a flashing distant star. It began communicating with her non-verbally, assuring her that she was in a safe place and that all was well. The same gravitational force pulled her even closer towards the welcoming spectre. As she drew even closer, she reportedly began experiencing an overwhelming sensation of boundless love and acceptance. She soon accepted her fate and prepared to cross over to the other side.
Suddenly, she experienced a conflicting revelation. She immediately considered her two children and began to struggle with her own moral conscience. She knew that she couldn't rightfully leave them to be raised by their father alone and she began to resist. As she fought against the intangible force, the same entity supposedly began inquiring as to what was wrong and why she was resisting. She then abruptly awoke on the delivery table to be welcomed back by her newborn daughter. Though my grandmother was never legally confirmed dead, my father was informed that after she regained consciousness, she undoubtedly looked as if she had been dead for some time.
The day my grandmother passed away, my father informed me that she appeared to be impatiently waiting for death to finally arrive. Like an overly-excited child anxiously waiting in line for a chance to finally ride their favourite roller coaster. Because she had reportedly seen the other side and knew there was nothing there to be fearful of, the whole concept of death never worried her from that moment forward. Her near-death experience should serve as a reminder to us all that we have nothing to fear from the mysterious reality ultimately awaiting us on the other side.