ROBIN WHEELER recalls the spooky experiences before and after the death of his mother in 1995…
My mother had a miserable life, on the whole. She was tormented throughout it by self-loathing stemming from some unspecified incident in her past, taking to drink as a result.
By 1995 she was in hospital and evidently failing. She died in early 1996 aged 65, the death certificate says from ‘cancer of the tonsils’, a rather niche cause of death, any cure being made impossible by the inability of her battered liver to cope with the necessary medication.
Back in late ’95 my sister and I were at our respective homes in Cheshire when the hospital in which she then was called us to say they thought we ought to come in.
My sister, having been a nurse, knew that this often meant the patient had already died, but they did not want to break that to you on the phone.
So one frantic drive into Manchester later, we were running down a hospital corridor to her room. Far from being dead, she was sitting up in bed.
My sister, thinking fast, asked if she had slept well the previous night; she replied ‘Well I would have, if I hadn’t been woken up by that angel sitting on my leg’.
She said it had appeared to be like a young man with dark hair and an olive complexion, almost Mediterranean, and ‘blue, blue, blue eyes’.
I asked if it had wings, which she said it did, on its back and going right down to its feet. Nothing apparently was said by the angel, but its visit was perhaps explained by the information conveyed to my sister by the ward sister, i.e. that my mother had been in a coma for a week; had ceased to breathe and had had no pulse; but had suddenly taken a breath and woken up.
Nearer Christmas that year we asked if my mother had seen any angels again – she replied ‘Ha! No, I know what that means’ with a shudder – which of course proved correct, as she died on 6 January.
Perhaps the angel returned that day. Even before she went into hospital, she had told my father that she had seen her father at the foot of her bed – he thought she told him this more than once.
After my mother’s death
After her death my father was upstairs one morning shaving, when he heard the most extraordinary noise coming from the kitchen.
Cupboard doors, of which there were many in that 1950s kitchen, were being flung open, slammed to, opened again and so it continued. He called down, thinking I had returned from Durham where I was then a mature student and was frantically looking for something. I, however, was still in Durham.
When he went downstairs, he found every cupboard door wide open. He also told my sister that he heard my mother coughing from the bedroom she occupied before her death, although he did add that he was just waking up each time this happened. (Which indeed might mean that in his drowsy state he mistook a different noise for coughing, or conversely it might be that in a hypnopompic state we are more receptive to noises from a different level or vibration).
I myself was once working down a corridor from the landing the bedrooms were on and heard the door to her bedroom being pulled shut over the carpet, then actually shutting. That would entail effort, as the door had to be pulled across the carpet pile and then pulled properly to; wind from an open window alone would not have sufficed.
But when I walked down to the landing every upstairs window was shut. There was no source of wind and nothing that could have caused the door to close.
Other people saw my mother after her death.
A friend, Kath Dickenson (also deceased now) said she was just leaving her Timperley bungalow one day and had got to her front porch when she saw my mother out of the corner of her eye (how often that happens in ghost stories!) walking past her into the house. (Why into the house when Kath was going out, I have no idea.)
Another friend had a series of vivid recurring dreams in which my mother told her that she was distressed by the fact that she had left behind several diaries in a drawer in her bedroom and did not want the contents to be seen. The friend passed this information to my father, who destroyed the diaries as a result.
Have you had a similar experience with a loved one? Tell us about it in the comments section below.