When my grandmother was near her end, she opened her eyes and said the caretaker’s daughter was beside her bed. The family immediately responded by telling her that there was nobody there. I felt sorry for my grandmother as I watched her become perplexed and almost distressed as she struggled to convince them. Ultimately, she went silent, but I could see she still wanted to share something about the caretaker’s daughter, whom I did not know. I resented how the family reacted by shutting her up. Why did they think they had to ‘correct’ or disagree with her? After all, she was nearing the end, so what difference would it have made? I knew in my heart that she was not imagining it.

I went home later in the day; I was exhausted and needed rest. My mother had prepared lunch, and we sat at the kitchen table. I was with her alone. My mother was very familiar with events from my grandmother’s past. I asked her if she remembered a caretaker from the past, who my grandmother also knew. She told me there was a caretaker in the holiday home where the family, including my grandmother, spent a few months together.

“Did the caretaker have a daughter, mum?”
“Yes, why do you ask?”
“Never mind, just let me know if he did have a daughter, please.”
“Yes, he did… but she died. It was unfortunate. We were staying there when she died.”

I went out to the garden, feeling very sad. I knew the time had come for my grandmother, so the girl had come for her. I reflected on how the family interrupted her and dismissed what she shared with them. I shall never forget the perplexed look on her face. She died shortly after.

I learned a valuable lesson from that experience that I carry with me when frequenting palliative care as a healer. Never let your ego come in the way of others, especially in their final moments. Whether what they are seeing is real or not, who cares? Let them go in peace and love and into the light.

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