Thursday, November 19, 2009
From Death-Bed Visions - The Psychical Experiences of the Dying by Sir William Barrett, Chapter 2: Visions seen by the Dying of Persons by them Unknown to be Dead.
Lady Barrett received an urgent message from the Resident Medical Officer, Dr. Phillips, to come to a patient, Mrs. B., who was in labour and suffering from serious heart failure. Lady Barrett went at once, and the child was delivered safely, though the mother was dying at the time. After seeing other patients Lady Barrett went back to Mrs. B.'s ward, and the following conversation occurred which was written down soon afterwards. Lady Barrett says:
"When I entered the ward Mrs. B. held out her hands to me and said, 'Thank you, thank you for what you have done for me - for bringing the baby. Is it a boy or girl?' Then holding my hand tightly, she said, 'Don't leave me, don't go away, will you?' And after a few minutes, while the House Surgeon carried out some restorative measures, she lay looking up towards the open part of the room, which was brightly lighted, and said, 'Oh, don't let it get dark - it's getting so dark ... darker and darker.' Her husband and mother were sent for.
"Suddenly she looked eagerly towards one part of the room, a radiant smile illuminating her whole countenance. 'Oh, lovely, lovely,' she said. I asked, 'What is lovely?' 'What I see,' she replied in low, intense tones. 'What do you see?' 'Lovely brightness - wonderful beings.' It is difficult to describe the sense of reality conveyed by her intense absorption in the vision.
"Then - seeming to focus her attention more intently on one place for a moment - she exclaimed, almost with a kind of joyous cry, 'Why, it's Father! Oh, he's so glad I'm coming; he is so glad. It would be perfect if only W. (her husband) could come too.'
"Her baby was brought for her to see. She looked at it with interest, and then said, 'Do you think I ought to stay for baby's sake?' Then turning towards the vision again, she said, I can't - I can't stay; if you could see what I do, you would know I can't stay.'
"But she turned to her husband, who had come in, and said, 'You won't let baby go to anyone who won't love him, will you?' Then she gently pushed him to one side, saying, 'Let me see the lovely brightness.'
"I left shortly after, and the Matron took my place by the bedside. She lived for another hour, and appeared to have retained to the last the double consciousness of the bright forms she saw, and also of those tending her at the bedside, e.g. she arranged with the Matron that her premature baby should remain in hospital till it was strong enough to be cared for in an ordinary household.
"(Signed) FLORENCE E. BARRETT"
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