Mary Ivan had been sick in bed for a month, cared for by her mother. Her sister, husband, and son had passed away years ago, leaving her alone with her mother. After she passed away, she awoke to find herself in what she thought was a hospital. Her sister, Kate, walked into the room carrying a large bouquet of flowers. But her sister had died when Mary was 12 years old. "What is she doing there?" she thought. Mary describes what happened, with her unmistakable Scottish accent. The transcript follows the sound bar:
[Betty Greene speaks.] How did you find yourself, what sort of condition . . .
I woke up and found myself in a kind of place like a hospital. I thought, “Well, what's this?” ‘Cause I was in my own house and I was sick abed and everything and I had a sister and she was looking after me. And I remember waking up here in a kind of warm place, like a hospital, very nice and very clean, and everything seemed so fresh and airy, and everyone seemed to be so efficient and quiet and peace, and the sun or whatever it was, at least I thought it was the sun then, was shining through the windows now, and everywhere around pretty and clean. There were pictures hanging on the walls. Somehow it seemed like a very special kind of hospital.
And I thought, well, this is strange. And then a very sweet woman came to me and said, “You know," she says, "you just have to rest a little while and then you’ll soon be all right, once you sort yourself out and get to know things. And your people will be coming in to see you in a wee while. I thought, “This is strange.” I was sure I was at home in my own bed, and here I am in a hospital, so I must have been unconscious and they must have brought me into hospital. I didn’t think at first that I was dead.
And then, I could see after a wee while other souls laying around and there was a sweet little lass next to me in the bed, a little blonde child. Pretty child she was, and she's sitting up there and she was chatting with me and then she showed me one or two things that she had—a dolly and some books and things. And she said, "Isn't it nice being here?" And I said, "It's very nice, but what’s wrong with you?” She says, “Oh, I got diphtheria.” I says, “Oh, you don’t like you’ve got diphtheria. You look as fresh as a daisy. Your cheeks and everything are bright and cheerful. I can’t see anything wrong.” I couldn’t think there was anything wrong with the wee lassie. I said, “How long have you been here?” She says, “Oh, I’ve only just come. I’m very happy.” I said, “Oh, I can see that.”
Anyway, then I saw my sister coming towards me. And I was so surprised because, you know, I had this sister and she died very young, when I was about 12. We called her Kate. And I thought, “This is strange. Kate’s not here. Kate’s dead.” And there she was. So she came to me and she got a big, big bunch of flowers in her arms. Beautiful flowers, they were, fresh flowers with a dew on.
And she said, “Here, I brought you these. I’m so glad you’ve come." And she says, "Mother’s coming soon, and also Paw.” And I says “No, that’s not possible.” And I said, "In any case, how did you get in here, you know. You’re not here; you’re dead.”
She says, “Oh, don't be silly, I’m dead all right. So are you!” I says, “What do you mean, I’m dead?” She says, “You’re dead.” I says, “Nooo, it’s not possible. I’m very much alive. I’m in hospital. But how did you get in? Did anyone see you come through the door?” She said, “Ah, no one cared that I came through the door because we’re all dead here.”
I says, “I don’t get this at all.” And the wee little one, she sat looking at me in the next bed. She says, “Aye, is that right? Are we dead, and the lady, is she really dead too?” I said, “Well, she’s my sister. And she’s dead. And if she’s dead, we must be dead, but we’re alive. I said, "I don’t understand this.”
My sister said, “We’ve come to fetch you.” I said, “What do you mean, ‘fetch me’? You’ll have to get permission from hospital for me to leave the bed. But I must say I feel so well and I’m alive.” She says, “Of course you’re all right. There’s nothing wrong with you at all. Only in your mind. Get that out of your mind. You’re not sick. I’ll see the lady that’s in charge of this ward.”
Anyway, after a while, there was a conferin' goin' on between them and I was allowed to get up. I said, “What about my clothes?” My sister says, “You don’t need to worry about those. You’ve got them on.” I says, “What do you mean I’ve got them on?” I looked at myself and there I was, I was dressed. I couldn’t get this at all because I didn’t remember putting clothes on. I didn’t remember bringing any clothes. And there I was standing beside the bed in a beautiful gown. It was a pale wool and down was a sash and lots of little lace things around the neck. I thought, “Well I don’t understand this at all.” And my hair was all combed and nice.
And my sister laughed and she said, “That’s all right, I helped you to dress, but you didn’t know that. And I helped you do your hair too, by my thoughts.” I said, “How’d you do that?” I said, “Do you think I'll be able to do things by thoughts?” She said, “Yes, of course you will. Takes a little time to get accustomed to it. But once you realize that by your thoughts you could achieve all the things you want to do.” I said, “I don’t understand.” She said, “That’s all right. You remember when I was a wee lassie and I used to struggle with the piano? I always wanted to play and I used to get bad tempered and stamp and all the rest of it because my fingers wouldn’t do the right things?" She says, "Now I can play beautifully. And I do it now by concentration and because I want to do it and because the Power makes it possible for me to do it.”
I said, “You think that’s so?” She says, “Aye, that’s so." Anyway, she says, "Come, we’ll go now. We’ll see mother and the others.” I said, “Well I thought you said mother was coming.” She says, “Oh, she’ll probably be downstairs.”
I thought, “Well, I don’t understand this. It all seems so strange.” We went down a beautiful staircase. And it was just as if it was made of marble. It was beautiful. And all sorts of interesting people walking about, and all looked so fit and well and healthy. And everywhere there seemed to be, well I don’t know, as if the whole place had been so well cared for. It was so clean.
We went down the stairs and there was a sort of portico or whatever you call it and some more steps into a beautiful garden. And, it was as if, I don’t know, I’ve never been to these posh places. ‘Course, I never was able to do that sort of thing on Earth. I'm told that it was not unlike what you’d see in France with some of these beautiful gardens that they have with the fountains playing. And there were all sorts of people. Children too, running and playing. There were grown-ups, of course, and everyone seemed to be fit and well. And then I thought, “How odd. None of these people seem out of place and yet I feel so out of place.”
“I suppose they’ve been here a long time,” I said to my sister. She said, “No, only just this past few days as you term time. They’re just becoming acclimatized to everything and they’re waiting for their friends. They’re waiting for their relations. This is what we call the ‘reception place’ where people come quite often, not all, but quite a lot of people until they’re sort of acclimatized to the new conditions of life and their friends begin to arrive. And then they come, and eventually they’ll go away. Usually, they go to live with their wife or their husband or perhaps their mother and father if they never married. They’ll be with the people that they love most. They are the ones that invariably wait in the garden and wait for them to come out after they’ve awakened. Of course, someone like myself, in your case, goes in to break the ice, as you might say, you know."
Ah, it’s very wonderful. You know, no one need fear dying because it’s the most wonderful thing. It’s the most exciting thing that could ever happen to anyone. No one need ever need to worry about it. Everything here is so real, so natural. Everyone is so, I don’t know, full of love. And there's no hatred and no sort of intolerance. No one's impatient, especially with those who are new and fresh, and everyone wants to help. It’s a wonderful way of life.
Eventually, I did. Yes, and eventually, I went to live with my mother, and eventually after that, my husband.
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