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23 Minutes Flatline And I Hear Her Voice


I am typing this at 6:58 PM October 5, 2019. This is a real time, evolving event. I will try to be coherent and cohesive, but realize I am not in the best head space at the moment.

My mother-in-law has had several strokes that put her daily care beyond our scope. She resides at a skilled nursing facility. In the last two weeks she has been admitted to the ICU three times now.

First time, UTI that went septic. She went unresponsive. She was in ICU for a week, then moved to the floor for 2 days, sent back to the facility, and the next day was found unresponsive. Back to Hospital.

Second time, one day after being discharged, admitted back into ICU for pneumonia. This was NOT a surprise, I argued until I was hoarse about her being discharged the day before because I had been told by a doctor - whom I never saw again - that she had pneumonia. Her hospitalist told me that he didn't know any doctor by that name, and that he didn't see any pneumonia. Eh... So he discharged her again, on Thursday the 3rd.

Friday the 4th and 1:08 PM my hubby called me and told me to get to the care facility NOW. She was unresponsive, had a pulse in the 30's and blood pressure of 60/30. She has Do Not Intubate instructions. I told Jerry to have them call the ambulance, I'll be there in 10 minutes.

This is background. It hasn't gotten paranormal yet. When I arrived it felt surreal, like I had stepped out of time. People seemed to be moving slowly. I wasn't running or even hurrying, but it was like I passed them in a blur. I beat the ambulance there by several minutes.

I tried talking to her - no response. Her eyes were locked and staring, her pupils pinpricks. I swear she looked terrified. The people there told me that she wasn't aware. I beg to differ, but I digress.

The ambulance did arrive and I went to my car, ready to follow. I still had that surreal feeling, like I was a step out of time but I was calming down. My hubby followed me out and kept asking if I was okay. I was but I couldn't understand why he was talking to me when his mom was being loaded on the ambulance. He went to get into my car and I heard, clear as a bell and loud as a clarion - my mother-in-law's voice, "Jerry has to come with me." I didn't even question it. I simply told him to ride with his mother, she can't be alone right now.

He went. She coded 3 minutes into the 15 minute drive to the hospital. They started chest compressions but did not stop to give oxygen. At the ER they put her on a thumper and started bagging her. After another ten minutes they were ready to call Time of Death. I stepped out of the curtain after my husband practically ran out of the room.

To the right of me, just above me I heard my mother-in-law's voice again. Sharp and urgent, she called to Jerry. I used that exact tone and told him "Can't you hear her? She's calling you, get back in there."

The pastor was in the hall, with my son and several milling staff. Each and every one of them turned to look at me like I needed the guy's with the butterfly nets. I grabbed Jerry and dragged him in there, right to her bed, and I reached out to stroke her cheek. Before I could touch her, the monitor that had only shown chest compression rhythm for over 10 minutes started beeping and moving. Her heart started beating on its own. The staff went from wind down care to rescue in a heartbeat. The doctor asked for more epinephrine and the nurse who had stopped bagging her started bagging her again.

According to everyone there, she was not breathing on her own. I disagreed. I could SEE her trying. I could see her coming back from wherever she went. SHE WAS TRYING. Nobody listened for several minutes. The doctor said they can't intubate, as it is against her advance directives and she will die. I knew she was trying... I knew it. So I asked them to put the bi-pap on her. It is a positive pressure type device that if there is any kind of activity it will pump air - but there must be activity. The doctor said it wouldn't work, but he humored me.

Not only did it work, she was breathing with oxygen sats between 96 and 100. Please do not think that this is me bragging or taking credit. I am VERY aware that I was being used as a conduit. I am humbled to be trusted with that role.

Since then, the last 24 hours, I have 'known' things that had to be done, guided by knowledge not my own, on keeping her safe and alive. Right now, she is awake, conscious, fully in charge of her faculties, eating and drinking with minimal assistance. I attribute that to the guidance I've received.

I don't know what the plan is that creation has for her, but I know it's my place to do all I can for her. Why else put me in the position to hear her voice while she was flatline over 20 minutes?

She is not out of the woods, not by a long shot, but she is still here, and now I'm not the only one hearing her voice. Did I mention her nickname is Loud One?

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, MaggieMay_Not, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
5 years ago (2019-10-22)
Maggie, I think placing her ashes under the rose bush a magnificent idea.
RCRuskin (9 stories) (826 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-22)
May her Memory be Eternal.

That is a very good question, Lady May-Not:) A couple of them, in fact.

Only you can answer the question on feeling guilty. Been spending the last many minutes trying to find the Psalm this is from, but maybe it isn't? Anyhow, a prayer you might say:

Blessed is the way in which you shall walk today, O soul, for a place of rest is prepared for you.
MrsRamsay (guest)
5 years ago (2019-10-22)
Checking in today I saw your post and please accept my heartfelt condolences. Tell yourself what a wonderful thing you did, being with her and there for her and supporting her son through it all. And never lose sight of the fact that now you will continue to live in part to honor her! Always remember she would never want you to go through life being sad or feeling that life shouldn't be lived FULLY! My belief in God and his (whatever) plan is that our loved ones are with us still and might check in every now and then and even let us know they're around. I would not worry too much about her not being able to "go home." Her pain is over; now you are there to carry on for her. God bless you all.
MaggieMay_Not (15 stories) (106 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-22)
EVERYONE - Thank you all, every one of you who read this, and who responded. Sadly, 'Loud One' passed on 10/18. During that intervening time she was alert and as active as she could be. I believe she came back to help my Husband. Jerry is atheist and was as close-minded about the afterlife as he is to supernatural. During the last 12 days of her life she spent her time holding his hand and talking about her future.

He listened to her and I saw a dawning acceptance that there was an afterlife, that the shell that she left had been temporary. He is a long way from accepting a creator into his heart, but he acknowledges one exists now, thanks to her.

My experiences with her were different. I have no doubt she recalls calling to me. She mentioned it obliquely several times. She also kept asking me to help her, to go with her, to take her. It wasn't until the 17th, just a few hours before she died that I understood, she wanted me to take her home. Her literal home, although she did ask me to go with her to heaven, just a little trip, then I could come back. Her words not mine.

Her home had to be sold to pay for her medical care, required by the state. There was no way for me to bring her home. After I explained, we both cried, with Jerry holding us, then she went to sleep. She passed a few hours later, quietly in her sleep.

Does anyone know... Can anyone tell me... How long I will hear her voice asking me to help her? To take her home? She is gone, I know that, and yet her voice is echoing in the back of my mind. I can't decide if she is haunting me or if I am feeling the regret of not being able to bring her home as she needed.

She requested cremation. I was thinking of putting a small amount of her ashes in a biodegradable keepsake urn and asking the new owner if I may bury it under the rosebush her mother planted when the house was built. He is a good guy and I think he will be okay with it. Do you think that will help?
Cherubim (14 stories) (245 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-15)
What a wonderful story and a blessing that you were there! 😊 Haha, I love that her nickname is "Loud One" and even after flat lining she was going to be heard. Spirit guides were definitely using you to get her son and the rest of the hospital on board, ❤ great job!
Melda (10 stories) (1363 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-12)
Maggie - You are blessed with the ability to "know" things that others cannot foresee. Very few people are blessed with that ability.

Your mother-in-law, even in her unconscious state and according to medical people knocking at death's door, knew (perhaps through a spiritual guide) that you were the only one who could get the message across. It was obviously not her time to go. It might be soon, but not yet. She had to hang on for a reason.

Great experience and thanks for sharing 😊

Regards, Melda
Rex-T (5 stories) (288 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-12)
Hello Maggie,

While receiving a new liver, I experienced something similar to your mother-in-law.

I contracted a post-operative infection and was in/out of a coma for three weeks. Your comment about the "people" telling you that she "wasn't aware" brought back memories of what I thought (at the time) were crazy dreams of people chasing and catching me to insert or pull out tubes from my body. I saw their faces, overheard their conversations and felt pain.

After recovering from the infection, I had ICU nurses tell me that I was looking a lot better than when I had all those tubes stuck in me a few weeks ago. These people looked vaguely familiar and it took me a while to recognize them as the people in my crazy dreams.

Interesting that I did remember one conversation between two people where one of them was asking if I should be given pain killers and the other was of the opinion that I "wasn't aware" of what was happening.

Well, for someone who "wasn't aware", it sure did hurt!

So, apologies for digressing, but I'm with you on this one and would beg to differ too. Keep following your feelings and when the time is right, please ask her if she remembers calling out for Jerry.

My thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery for your mother-in-law, and best wishes to the family and you.

MrsRamsay (guest)
5 years ago (2019-10-12)
What an amazing story. Your description of when you first got there -- "people seemed to be moving slowly" and in a blur... Shows that you were so in tune and focussed and you might have even sensed the spiritual nature of what was occurring. I have had this feeling before, always around the time a loved one passed away. And when you speak of the voice loudly in your head, I've experienced that as well. It's difficult to describe, right? I was drying my hair one morning when, inexplicably in my head, a voice said my neighbor's name. I immediately thought to myself, "That was weird, why would I even THINK of this man?" who was the husband of a friend, but himself BARELY an acquaintance. He was overseas in Iraq though, serving in the military, and had been gone a few months, should not have been in my thoughts AT ALL. Two days later I found out that he had died over there. At the funeral, in a long line to hug his family, I had the OVERWHELMING thought that I needed to tell his teenaged kids (who I did know pretty well) how proud their father was of them, each of them was standing in that line to greet friends and neighbors and doing such an amazing job. The whole 15 minutes in that line, this thought kept intruding on my quiet conversation with my own husband. "Tell them their father would be so proud of them right now." I just KNEW it was somehow my duty to do this. And I still feel to this day that the man who died somehow identified that I could help. Strangely. But I will never forget drying my hair that morning and his name just popping LOUDLY into my head!
Faith_2000 (2 stories) (10 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-11)
This is such an interesting and inspiring story to hear, your mother in law fighting that hard to come back. I'm so glad she's okay!

And may I add to RCRuskin that Sex is also a metal state and a social construct that if we take away just because some one has passed, it almost dehumanis' them. Sex is not just physical.

DirtCreature (guest)
5 years ago (2019-10-10)
[at] RCRuskin, I always wondered the same thing about the gendering of spiritual beings. But I also have heard terms like male and female energy. I am not educated in those kind of belief systems or what those terms mean exactly so I won't comment on that. It seems pretty interesting though.
RCRuskin (9 stories) (826 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-10)
Hi, Maggie. This is an intense experience, whether ghostly or not. There are many physicians out there, but then there is The Physician. Whether it was your MiL or Him, you heard her voice, so... Whatever that is.

Aside: I often wonder why we refer to God and spirits as him/her. Sex, being male, female, or... Something else, is only a physical trait.
Lealeigh (5 stories) (512 posts)
5 years ago (2019-10-10)
Hi MaggieMay_Not,

A harrowing experience. The way you expressed this story had me on edge and struck me directly in the heart.

You have a strong connection with your mother in law and I hope for the best for both of you, Maria ❤

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