Tony S's ADCs

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Experience description:

I was present when my father died unexpectedly and suddenly in 1988. I and my family (wife, 2 small kids) had driven down to Devon to spend Christmas with my mother and
father, on 23 December.

We arrived about 7pm, and spent the evening having a meal and chatting. At  11.20pm my mum and dad went to bed. At 11.35, my mum came into the living room in her nightclothes and said 'will you come and have a look at dad, something is wrong with him - he just fell back on the pillow'.

It was immediately apparent that he had stopped breathing and we could find no pulse. Both my wife and I know CPR - she has done training. I began applying heart massage and mouth to mouth resuscitation, my wife went and called 999 for an ambulance.

If you can imagine, my mother was in a state of huge emotional turmoil and fear. She is deaf and really did not understand what was happening, partly through shock. Of course we were in a similar state, but keeping calm so as to try and resuscitate him, and manage the situation until the ambulance came. So I was in an odd state of extreme emotion and simultaneous calm.

However I had a certainty that my dad was not coming back, and I was just going through the motions. Opposite the bed was a large, built in wardrobe, and I had a certain perception that my dad, detached from his body, was 3' above it - and a bit behind it. That is, above the ceiling. Moreover I felt that he was happy to have managed the timing of his departure for when we were there to help my mum. He had no intention of returning, and was content.

Still, my wife and I kept up the CPR between us until the ambulance crew arrived and took over. They said we had done everything possible, but were unable to bring him back. A later postmortem revealed that (at age 73) he had suffered a heart attack. His circulatory system was apparently in relatively good order and he had been rather unlucky that a small 1cm piece of cholesterol had detached and obstructed a heart artery.

The next few days were chaotic and it was 3 days before I said to my wife 'you know, I had this weird feeling that dad was above the wardrobe and not coming back, was happy to be going in fact'. To my amazement she said she had the exact same perception, with identical location of his 'spirit'. We had both done 20mins of CPR believing he had no intention of being revived.

There is a postscript to this. My dad's mother lived with my parents throughout my childhood, her husband having been killed in WW1. (Another sub-story: on the night her husband was killed at Paschendaele in 1917, he appeared at the foot of her bed in High Bickington and she then new he was dead although it was many weeks before the MIA telegram arrived). Her son - my dad - was 2 at the time.

After my parents retired and went to live in Devon, she went with them and lived in a downstairs part of the house. She had a stroke in 1982 and had to move into a residential home where she could receive necessary care. She hated this, and always wanted to return to her room in my parents' house. She died in 1984. Her room then became a guest room, used by our children when we stayed. My wife never felt comfortable in that part of the house, and said she felt there was a presence which resented her. This was strongest in the downstairs bathroom we used, where my grandmother had her stroke and hit her head as she fell. I occasionally felt a 'presence' too, but assumed it was my imagination.

After my dad died, my wife said this sense of 'presence' immediately vanished and did not return. As if my grandmother had been hanging around waiting to be reunited with her son. And my imagination, if that's what it was, never imagined her presence there either.