(Submitted by friend of the blog, Kitty Mervine, of Yankee Skeptic.)
I really hate to share this with my skeptic friends. It sounds too far fetched. It should be noted, I never believed this was anything paranormal. I had a dear friend Mary. She was godmother to my 2 children. When our husbands were in the Navy, we ended up best friends. We were so close that when my daughter Evelyn was born, Mary was my Lamaze partner. (My husband was out at sea for the birth.) Through the years we kept in close touch. Our families would visit. It was with great happiness that we discovered we were both pregnant at the same time. Her daughter was born on Mother’s Day, and she joked my child would be born on Father’s Day. Sure enough (2 weeks overdue) my child was born on Father’s Day! Now, that would be weird coincidence enough. The odds of that are pretty far fetched. But we both just thought it was fun, and yet another bond between us.
Mary and infant Evelyn
Sadly, Mary was diagnosed with cancer a few years later. I didn’t worry too much as she had a form of cancer that was 90% curable. We all just assumed the 10% that died were elderly or weak in some way. For a young woman in her 30s that never smoked, was thin, and rarely drank, we assumed a cure of 100%. I made of point of staying in touch more than ever, because the treatment was really tough.
One Friday night I woke up at 2am and woke up my husband. I told him, “l can’t sleep, I’m really worried about Mary.” I’d never done this before. He said he could see I was trembling. When he turned on a light, I was pale and simply crying out of control. He calmed me down and reminded me she was still working full time and doing very well. The next day I received a call that Mary was in the hospital.
She had contracted a cold and as a precaution went into the hospital; however, something had gone wrong. Very wrong. She was in a coma, and was most likely brain dead. Her husband was expecting to pull life support. It was totally out of the blue, more of a bad reaction to her treatment than the cancer. My own doctor later pointed out that odds mean nothing, at least not when you are in the 10%. One of of ten that have this type of cancer will die. Mary died. I never could explain why I woke up in the middle of the night so scared. But I also never attributed it to anything other than perhaps simply the stress of worrying over a friend and coincidence. I was worried about her, but did not say or feel she was going to die.
My husband and I flew out to attend her funeral. It was probably the toughest thing I’d ever been through up to that point. Her three-year-old daughter didn’t get that mommy wasn’t going to respond to her cry for her to “Wake up!” at the viewing. The unfairness of life really washed over me. I couldn’t believe I had not only lost a dear friend; I had also lost the only person that shared memories with me about the birth of my first child.
In response to that desperation to keep her in my life, I dreamed about her almost every night. Finally, months later, when I felt myself recovering, I had a dream where she knocked on my front door. I answered it, and told her “Mary, you are going to have to leave me alone now. I’m so sad when you come visit every night and I wake up and you are still dead.” In my dream she turned and walked away. Sure enough, she has rarely since appeared in a dream. I know, rationally, that this was probably a way for me to slowly let go of my friend. Her death was so unexpected, I think I needed those months of dreams to adjust. I never thought I was really communicating with her in my dreams. She was just in my thoughts so much during the months following her death, that it was perfectly natural she should inhabit my dreams for a bit.
About a year later, I scared my husband when much the same thing happened again. His father was ill with lung cancer. He had been doing as well as one can with that illness. The cancer had not become any larger, and he had only recently stopped working. He was expected to do well for many months more. Once again I woke up in the middle of the night quite upset. I was worried about his father. Mark was “not again!” and got me back to sleep. That day, sure enough, we got a call his father has had a heart attack. His mother had a “do not resuscitate” order. At this point my husband was looking at me really oddly. I kept assuring him I was not paranormal. Certainly in his dad’s case there was much more reason for worry.
When my husband’s cousin, and my good friend, also became ill with cancer I was a bit nervous. Waking up in the middle of the night crying was not fun. I kept in close touch with her. I sent gifts, letters and books. One day I sent off a package with a dressy purse for her to take on a cruise through the Panama Canal. I got home from the post office to a phone call that my friend had died. While sad, there was also a sense of relief. I, of course, knew I had no special power to know when someone was going to die; but, three events would have been most uncomfortable.
Since then, others close to me have died. I have never again been even close to knowing when the end would come. One thing that I found did keep me grounded during the two events was the thought that there was no purpose or good in my “knowing” when someone was about to die. When psychics make vague predictions, I’ve always said to the believers “But aren’t words from beyond that are so vague and general even worse than no word at all?” Why tell the police that a body is “in or near water”? There are so many bodies of water, including bathtubs and pools, that it is as good as no help. Since my premonition or feeling about two deaths had no rhyme or reason, I choose to accept it as simply “one of those things”. Though I have to admit my husband still looks at me a little oddly at times, and not just when I serve “Sauerkraut Cake” (it’s good!) http://allrecipes.com/recipe/german-chocolate-sauerkraut-cake/
[EDITOR: Kitty was remembered by James Randi in the keynote address of TAM 2013 for extraordinary service to the skepticism community. - Wendy]