The story that you are about to hear really happened to me on September 5th 2012, at 3:40a.m., about four months after my mother unexpectedly succumbed to a bout of pneumonia at the raw age of 45. I will never forget the time nor date of the horrifying experience for which I am about to share.
My Mother had always had numerous health issues in the years before her death. I was always bringing her to and from various doctors’ appointments, treatment centers, and hospitals. I was happy and willing to do this, because not only did I love her because she was my Mother, I loved her because she was my best friend, someone that I could talk to for hours and tell anything and everything to. The very last time that I took her to the hospital on June 5th of 2012 I was in complete denial. I was in denial despite my mother complaining of how hard it was for her to breath, I was in denial despite the fact that her normally beautiful bright and lively green eyes were dull, dark and glazed, and I know now that I was in blinding denial when my Mother turned to me as we were just arriving to the emergency room and said to me in a disturbingly labored whisper, “Amber, I’m really scared.” I never fathomed that that would be the final thing that she would say to me. I now know what someone looks like when they realize that they are about to die, and those final words and her petrified expression will forever haunt me.
Honestly, the next couple of months for me following my Mother’s death were a blur, almost nonexistent. The viewing, funeral, and condolences from friends, family and strangers did not seem real or surreal, as weird as that sounds. I numbed my aching pain as so many other grievers tend to do. I drank a lot of alcohol, I ate opiates and benzos like skittles, and I wallowed in my own self-pity and depression. Most days my husband would come home to find all of the blinds drawn and me, locked away in my bathroom, sometimes days at a time in complete darkness. My family let me grieve in my own way for a little while and then decided that it was time to intervene. I am grateful that they did because I sometimes wonder how long I would have remained in that dark sort of limbo, being neither here nor there, simply wasting away into bitterness and grief.
It was at the very beginning of September when I finally started to breathe again. I guess I was just starting the beginning stages of the healing process after losing someone so unexpectedly, after losing a piece of myself which I knew, and had come to accept I would never get back. During this time my husband had to travel for business for a couple of days. He was very reluctant to leave me, but I reassured him that I would be fine. Anyways, I secretly wanted a little time to myself. I was excited to settle down that night with a bottle of che blanc chardonnay, a good book, and a scorching hot bath. After these much needed indulgences I decided that it was time to retire for the evening, it was, after all already 2 in the morning and I remember having a slight, yet bothersome headache. I hated going to bed because it always seemed like as soon as I laid down, thoughts of her would begin to flood my brain. Her face, her voice, her laughter, her smile, anything and everything having to do with her always, always tormented me at night. On This particular night, however, it seemed a lot worse than usual. I battled with myself as to whether I should pop one of my prescribed sleeping pills. I tossed and turned, turned and tossed. That night no matter what I did, or how hard I prayed for peace, Peace just would not come.
I still wonder, no actually prey that on that night I was actually asleep and that it was all just a horribly vivid nightmare. I try to justify my experience with these hopes, but, I tell you my friends, what happened that night seemed very, very real. I specifically remember looking at my bedside clock which read 3:44a.m. and wondering when, if ever, would I actually fall asleep? I turned my attention away from the clock to the television and in that moment began to smell something like a burnt match, sulfuric, which I thought odd. Before I began debating to myself whether I should get up to see where the smell was coming from, I began to have a very strange, almost pleasant tingling sensation in my feet, lower legs and thighs. This sensation then began to travel up to my pelvic area, lower abdomen, and chest. Seconds after questioning the smell and the physical sensations my bedside alarm clock began to blare, 3:44 blinking at me furiously in bright red. This, of course startled me and as I reached over to turn of the alarm, I was literally pushed into my mattress with such a force that I was unable to move any part of my body. The mattress literally began to sink in around me, as if I were as heavy as a block of cement. The worst part was that I could not even scream. I was paralyzed from head to toe. The only thing that I could move were my eyes, yet I could not close them. Suddenly an even stranger feeling came over me. My entire body began to literally vibrate; I could even hear this vibration in my ears. The sound was almost deafening. Terrified, I looked around and then suddenly saw my Mother. She was straddling my body, wearing a white hospital gown with little blue shapes all over it; I am sure you know what I am talking about, it is the same gown that any hospital provides to admitted patients. The very same type of gown she was wearing when the fluid in her lungs continued to build, the very gown she wore when she was removed from life support, and as silly as it sounds this is one thing I have always remembered about her death, her final moments spent in that dirty fucking hospital gown. She was straddling me but she was not facing me, she was facing away from me in the opposite direction, facing my television which was still on just like it was before. I could not see her face because her dark curly brown hair hung loosely in a tangled mess, covering it up on all sides. On top of my t.v. I could see the time on the table box clearly, proclaiming it was 3:45a.m. The span of one minute truly felt like an eternity. I knew without a doubt that whatever this was, was pure evil and it was trying to impersonate my Mother. The terror that I felt began to well up in my throat, yet I could not make a sound. The vibrations got stronger as it slowly began to turn its head, its’ neck cracking violently as it did so, to face me. In my head I began to say the Lord’s prayer and beg for whatever this thing was to leave me in the name of Jesus Christ. After repeating this several times in my head there was a strange whooshing/popping noise and the vibrations ceased. I sprung up in bed gasping for air and clutching my throat. Sweat and tears rolled down my face. Needless to say I did not sleep at all that night or for the next couple of weeks.
I love and miss my Mother dearly. I know that if she ever decided to come to me in spirit, it would be a beautiful experience. That is why I know that whatever that thing was that came to visit me that night was not my Mother at all, but I do know that it was pure evil, I can say this because I felt it. I felt the evil just like you can feel or touch any tangible object, it was there. I still have nightmares about this experience. I hope and pray that I never again have a false reunion.
Credit: Amber Starr Banks