When the author was younger, there was a time he chalked deathbed visions up to the brain lacking oxygen or as being the side effect of morphine, but after much research, he now recognizes there's more to it than that.
He noted that most often, the dying are visited by their mothers.
"It shouldn't be too surprising that the person who is actually present as we cross the threshold of life and take our first breaths once again appears at the threshold as we take our last breaths," writes the author.
"If you find the concept of a dead loved one greeting you on your deathbed impossible or ridiculous, consider what I finally realized as a parent: You protect your children from household dangers. You hold their hands when they cross the street on their first day of school. You see them through as many milestones as you can."
If those who have already passed realize their child is soon to die, it makes sense they would want to go be with their child.
Regardless of what your personal beliefs might be, it's important to recognize the final days and hours of a loved one's life might include much that isn't easily explainable. Even if you believe it's nothing but a hallucination, that whomever they're seeing is nothing more than misfiring synapses, it's important not to disagree with them.
Just because what's happening is--or isn't--scientifically explainable doesn't mean it's invalid. There's no reason to discredit what you don't understand. Instead, ask the person what's being said, encourage reminiscing, let them know you're grateful the visitor is there.
To know those we love aren't alone as they pass from this life is a gift. One I wish I'd known more about years ago.
As my friend struggles with bidding farewell to his mom, I hope he's able to experience the peace that comes with recognizing there are other ways of saying goodbye.
I hope he says see you later instead.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@gmail.com.