When I was about twenty years old my grandpa became very sick. He had a lung disease and it was taking its toll very quickly.
He was at home when suddenly he passed out. His breathing was raspy and short so my grandma called an ambulance. He was taken to the closest hospital, only to be sent to a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia called Erlanger. They said that his lungs were filling with fluid and they were going to put in a tube to try and drain it but that, essentially, he would not be making it much longer. Two days go by and still no improvement.
As soon as I got the call, I booked it to Atlanta to be with him and my family. My grandpa and I have always been super close. He had always understood me and been there for me in ways that most people could only wish for. Nothing was keeping me from being there for him.
After about a three hour drive I made it, but they were already telling us there was no real hope and to call anybody who wanted to say goodbye. I sat with my grandpa for hours, talking to him like I always did.
Even though he was tubed and in a medicated coma, I knew him well enough to know he wouldn't want me to treat him differently, so I told him about my crazy drive there and about some funny customers I had on my latest shift. I described the beautiful sunset I could see from his window and encouraged him to open his eyes and see for himself but, of course, I knew he wouldn't.
Mostly I told him how much I loved him, and reminisced about our backyard camping trips, how he always came to my chorus concerts when I was in school and promised him that I would always remember his biggest lesson: "Never let your fears stop you from chasing your dreams."
An announcement came over the intercom saying all visitors had to leave for the night. So I kissed him on the cheek and hugged my grandma, letting her know that if she needed anything to call me, that I wasn't leaving Atlanta in case things got worse.
After grabbing a quick bite with my Mom and brother before they left for home, I drove around looking for a cheap but decent hotel in the area but there was nothing that I could really afford. So I drove back to the hospital and decided to just sleep in my car in the parking lot. Not exactly the safest or greatest idea I ever had but I didn't want to leave seeing that I lived so far away and didn't want to be far.
I made sure all my doors and windows were locked, curled up under my jacket best I could in the backseat and just cried. I didn't want to lose him but I knew there was nothing I could do.
Physically and mentally drained, I started to drift into a restless sleep when I felt long fingers run through my hair. I sat straight up but saw no one.
The smell of cheap perfume filled my car and I heard the voice of a woman say "Hush, he will pass peacefully. I will see to it. Sleep. I will watch over you." In that moment complete peace swept over me and I drifted back to sleep.
An hour or so later my phone rang it was my grandma letting me know that he was getting worse and that I needed to call my family and tell them that they were turning all the machines off that morning. I told her I loved her and that I would.
After everyone arrived we all stood around his bedside in prayer, hoping for a miracle, when I once again smelled the cheap perfume and felt a hand between my shoulder blades. I knew it was the mystery woman from that night because the only thing behind me was his IV pole.
I quickly turned my head and momentarily saw a woman that looked to be in her late thirties in dark grey scrubs with brown wavy hair smiling at me. As soon as they removed the tubes and turned off the machine, I watched her walk over to my grandpa laying a single hand on his chest. Within minutes he was gone and as soon as the heart monitor screeched letting us know he was gone, she vanished. Personally, I think that she is a nurse that used to work there.
I never asked anyone because I thought it would be rude but all in all, it was a strange but comforting experience.