When an aneurysm suddenly burst in my brain a little over three years ago, I went on a long and dangerous journey into an unknown world. I don’t remember much about it, except one thing that is extremely clear: I remember a point at which I was given a choice. I think that if I hadn’t found a guide, I wouldn’t have made it. At least this is what I believe.
My guide turned out to be my deceased Siamese cat Coe. I remember weeping into his fur when I finally had to put him to sleep after a long bout with cancer. Coe was always the family clown. Coe never functioned well as a cat. He had no instincts. He didn’t fall on his feet and would have run from a mouse, but he was the world’s best cuddler, little boy playmate, and friend of my heart and soul. He was very smart, and quite capable of lying. Once there was a terrific crash in the bedroom…and Coe came strolling into the living room where we were sitting with a huge yawn, as if he’d been woken and the catastrophe could have had nothing to do with him.
I was very surprised to encounter Coe when I was in the hospital. I didn’t really see him, but more sensed his presence. I knew that I was at the juncture between life and death. Coe seemed to be in a hurry and I wasn’t sure he would wait for me. There seemed to be very little time. At that point, in the physical world, I began trying to call my son on my cell phone, or so I thought. I later discovered that he was at my bedside and heard me saying, “Andrew, COE is here!” It was as if I was living in two worlds at once.
I was so glad to see him, but right now he was very matter of fact, as if he was saying, “These STUPID human beings, can’t even find the World of the Dead on their own!” To Coe, it all seemed like nothing special—it wasn’t as if he thought of himself as a spirit guide or anything. It was much more casual and matter-of-fact than that. He was simply ready to take me down a certain path if I wanted to go.
He led me to a place that was very busy. I had the impression of lots of people milling around, all of them carrying huge, bulging shopping bags and suitcases stuffed with things—maybe the memories they wanted to bring with them from life and refused to put down. I realized that they couldn’t go on to the next world until they were willing to leave them behind.
After Coe died, he showed up in our apartment a few days later. My husband, who often sees friends after they’ve died, saw that he was lost and pointed him toward the other world. Now he was back, ready to help me take the same journey.
I’d always expected to see my mother after I died. She killed herself when I was only seven, so I don’t remember her much at all. I’d been waiting for this moment all my life, because I wanted to see her again.
Then I realized that Coe WAS my mother. I don’t have any photos of her, so I wouldn’t have recognized her if she had come as herself, so she arrived in the form of my beloved deceased cat.
While I was in the World of the Dead with Coe, I heard a voice say to me, “You can keep going if you want to.” I instinctively knew I was being given the choice to either die or keeping fighting to stay alive, and when I told my neurologist that, he agreed with me.
Since my near death experience, people often ask me if I believe in life after death. I always tell them I don’t know, but what I DO believe is that your dead mother can visit you in the hospital in the form of your dead cat and take you to the World of the Dead.
And hey, that’s something.
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