I've hesitated to offer these experiences on YGS because some readers would probably classify them as dreams or hallucinations. Although I understand why someone might come to that conclusion, I personally can't think of my experiences as anything but interactions with some of my deceased family members.
Now that I've seen a recently posted YGS story on a similar topic, though, I'll send in my own story and see if it makes the cut.
In the winter of 1976 I was a twenty-seven-year-old divorcee and single parent of a four-year-old boy. I was in graduate school at the University of Michigan, where I lived in family housing with my son "Mikey". (Not his real name.)
I decided to have elective surgery, a procedure that was supposed to be uncomplicated and would require no more than a few days in the hospital. My aunt agreed to stay in our apartment and take care of Mikey until I'd recovered enough to manage without help.
You've probably already guessed there were unexpected complications. Everything that could go wrong, did: multiple blood clots near the surgery site and in my lungs, allergic reactions to a medication, problems with the wound that required additional surgeries, etc.
My parents were living in another state, but my mother took the first plane to Michigan and camped out in my hospital room for two months. It's a good thing she did, because she needed to run for help more than once. I know her vigilance saved my life.
Since I wasn't always conscious during the worst days, I wasn't clear about what was happening around me. My mother later filled me in on the blurry parts.
The day the blood clots were first discovered, my medical team started treating me with the blood thinner heparin. The doctors hoped this would eventually break up the clots so further surgery could be avoided. It was a dangerous development.
Several hours went by before my mother felt she could safely leave me alone to grab a cup of coffee. I'd drifted off, but suddenly woke up, realizing that I had visitors.
There was a group of familiar-looking elderly people dressed in heavy winter coats and huddling just inside the door. Trying not to wake me, they glanced at me with worried expressions and whispered to each other. Slowly I began to recognize the individual people in the group: several great-aunts from my mother's side of the family, standing with their husbands.
Happy memories began flooding my mind - Fourth of July picnics, Christmas parties, summers at the great-aunts' lakeside cottages. It was so comforting to see their faces, I struggled to stay awake. But it was no use. Before long I drifted out of consciousness.
When my mother returned with a Styrofoam cup and a magazine, I opened my eyes again. "Where did all the people go?" I asked.
"The family. They were just here."
My mother was puzzled. "No one was here," she said. "I only walked down the hall to the coffee machine. I would have seen anyone coming to visit you."
As I was forming the words to tell her exactly whom I'd seen, it began to dawn on me that all of my "visitors" were family members who had died.