The time has come to tell a very strange story.
The only reason I haven’t shared it widely before is that I was pretty sure most people wouldn’t believe me, but now perhaps you will. I’ll tell it exactly as it happened and you can decide what you think – or maybe share your own stories, because I’m sure there must be others who have had similar experiences.
About 12 years ago my friend Nina died. It was cancer. It was desperately sad – especially so as she had two young children and had just started her own business, doing something she’d always wanted to do, and it had all been going so well.
I was, as far as I can work out, just about the last of the visitors at the hospice who managed to have a lucid conversation with her. Certainly by the following evening she’d closed her eyes, was apparently unresponsive and a couple of days later she died.
Our conversation was, as you can imagine, very strange. We chatted about her funeral arrangements the way we’d once have discussed holiday plans. It was all very low-key and matter-of-fact. That was how she wanted to play it, and who was I to stir things up?
By now I knew she had no belief in any kind of afterlife, and although she insisted that she would miss her son’s smile and cuddling the dog, she also insisted she’d just go to sleep and cease to be. I told her I didn’t agree, but she brushed my ideas aside and gave me instructions on how to help her husband out with the kids.
Now the story jumps a few years.
I’d been feeling very tired and low, and – for the first time ever, with great trepidation – I went to see a spiritual healer. No idea what to expect, but he was kind, friendly and put me at ease. I laid on his couch and he played quiet, ambient music. I was supposed to drift off into an altered state while he performed the healing.
That was the idea, but it didn’t work out that way.
Almost as soon as he started, I felt the most agonising pain coursing through my knee. My whole body jerked with the spasm and it took all my willpower to stop myself yelling out. These jolts of pain – as if I were being gripped by some kind of mechanical vice – continued until he’d finished ‘healing’ me. The pain only began to subside once he stopped and I could sit up.
The poor man could offer no explanation for what had happened. He mumbled something about me perhaps having a fear of moving forward on my feminine side, but without much conviction.
I hobbled from the treatment room, but before I’d reached the end of his road, all trace of discomfort had vanished.
Glutton for punishment, perhaps, but I booked another appointment the following week. Yes, it happened again. I was fine until the spiritual healing began and fine afterwards, but during the session I writhed and squirmed and was unable to get any relief.
At that point I gave up on spiritual healing for a while. (Although in all fairness, I must add that once the mystery had been solved, I returned to that healer and had some excellent treatment from him.)
My left knee behaved itself perfectly until a few weeks later when I happened to be listening to a radio programme about spiritual mediums. Slowly at first, the gripping pain started, gradually becoming more insistent and less bearable. It continued until the programme finished, then stopped completely.
The next day I had time to think things through. Slowly it dawned on me that on each of the three occasions, there had been a connection to things spiritual and ‘beyond the veil’. As if in answer to my thoughts, I felt a light but distinct twinge in the knee.
“Keep going,” it seemed to be saying. “You’re getting there.”
Then I had a truly creepy thought. Was someone trying to reach me from the other side?
The answering twinge was there again.
I tried to keep calm. It was fine. Someone ‘over there’ was mistaking me for some kind of Doris Stokes person because I’d very occasionally taken an interest in things of a spiritual nature. It was obviously a wrong number. After all, who did I know who had passed over and would have any reason to contact me?
Once more the squeeze, but gentle this time – almost a playful nudge.
Nina – known to friends and family by the first syllable of her name – was contacting me.
Knee! Better yet, LEFT knee!!
Oh yes, even the sense of humour fitted. She’d been a great Marx Brothers fan…
Ni might have ‘left’ a few years earlier, but she’d clearly discovered that she was by no means lost in that dreamless sleep she’d been expecting. Our conversation was far from over – it was just beginning.
I quickly learned how to hold a conversation with her, and discovered why she had been so insistent on contacting me. That, too, is an amazing story, but it will have to wait for another post.
I’d be fascinated to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience.