There are things we know without knowing how or why we know them. Call them soul messages or premonitions. I’ve had a few in recent years. The latest happened before my lovely mum passed in May.
Eight days before she died, I had a premonition that this was the beginning of the end. Mum’s final journey had begun. It was very eerie because it didn’t really make sense at the time. Mum had just been released from hospital and the prognosis was good. She had gashed her leg on holiday and she had been given intravenous antibiotics in hospital and the wound was now healing slowly, so she was released back home.
I should have been celebrating. But instead, that Monday, I felt a terrible sense of foreboding and something like dread. I cancelled everything and stayed home. I put on mum’s homemade alpaca sweater (even though it was 80 degrees). I lit candles and looked at all my photos of mum. Then mid-afternoon I heard in my head the chilling thought; ‘This is the beginning of the end’.
The next day mum seemed to be fine, so I pushed my fears aside. But dad called again on Friday to say mum was back in hospital after a heart attack. I bought a plane ticket to England. And as I packed, I found myself automatically putting into my case a dark pair of trousers, a black jacket and a dark shirt. I was about to put in black shoes when I realized that I was packing for a funeral. Four days later mum died of a massive stroke.
In Michael Newton’s book Journey of Souls, he says that signs are encoded in our souls before we are born. Signs that mark important turning points in our lives – for example, when we will meet the people who will make a difference in our lives. I suspect there must be signs encoded to warn us of death too.
Did mum have a premonition as well? It seemed that some part of her knew. The year before she passed, it felt like she was preparing us for her departure. She gave me very detailed instructions for her funeral (the hymns she wanted sung, including the beautiful ‘By Cool Siloam’s Shady Rill’), how she wanted a wicker coffin, and a plot in the walled garden beside the local church. Instead of going on our usual family vacation to somewhere sunny in Europe, we went up to grey rainy Scotland, to visit relatives, and to visit the towns where mum had grown up, where she had married and where her dear grandmother had lived. At the time I joked it was like Elvis’s farewell tour. We drove 1,000 miles in total. When we returned, she was very keen to dig out the old black and white family photos (many from the early 20th and 19th century), to ensure I knew the quirky, adventurous stories of these relatives. I made copious notes. And now I am so glad I did.
In the end, she slipped away – quickly – as was her wish. And I wonder, did she get to choose how and when she went? We all remarked on her timing. The vicar she wanted to do her burial, left the parish just two weeks after she died.