Our book is about the practical side of caregiving for the dying. But there is a very magical and mysterious side to death. In my 21 years in hospice, patients have had unexplainable experiences that have been truly remarkable. Quite often they report visitations from people who have already died and see them standing in the room. Many have described another world that they visited, like Mike, who had recurring visions of waterfalls and children playing. He told his wife, “If you could see what I’m seeing you wouldn’t be afraid.”
In the last week of David’s life, a flock of wild peacocks showed up at his house. It wasn’t like they were the neighbor’s birds. They just appeared. Whatever room David was sitting in, they would appear at that room’s window. They stayed at the window all day and would roost in the trees at night, except when David went to the hospital for two days. Then they disappeared. When he came home, they returned. When he was actively dying, they stayed by his window night and day until the end. When David died, they went away.