day when I was five, I was sitting on the couch with
my parents when I asked them a question which had always
been on my mind: "When was I in the hospital, and why
was I there?" My mom explained that I had never been
a hospital patient. But, I had distinct memories about
being in the hospital, and I began to describe some
of them: the doctor and what he was doing, some of the
things in the room that I saw, my mom standing to the
right of me. I told them how I remembered drifting away
toward the ceiling.
grew silent. It turned out that I had a sister who had
died at age six, four years before my birth. This was
why my parents had me so much later. No one said anything
more about this for years. When I brought it up again
later, my mom said that she had always thought I was
my sister come back in another body, but she couldn't
mother explained that my sister had been very shy and
frightened, as though she knew something was going to
happen to her. For instance, she would hide and not
come out from under the table. Her shyness may have
been partly responsible for her death. On that day,
she went with my brothers to sell Boy Scout cookies.
My parents thought she would benefit from selling cookies
for/with my brothers so they insisted that she go. They
walked far behind her in order to let her do things
on her own to build her confidence. However, a car without
its emergency brake on rolled down a hill. The three
children tried to get out of the way, but my sister
was much smaller and ran slower than my brothers. Two
of my brothers tried to drag her along, but my parents
realized that all three would get run over. They screamed,
"Run!" The car ran over my sister and dragged her a
long distance. My parents took her to the hospital where
they were told she had a broken hip but was going to
was crying and hungry but the hospital would not let
her eat because she might need surgery. Later my mom
told me that she had given a candy bar secretly to my
sister and, when the anesthesiologist got there, my
mother had lied about it. So when my sister was anesthetized,
it made her sick. She vomited, aspirated the candy bar,
and died of suffocation.
part I remember most is after she/I was dead. I recall
looking at myself, inches away from my face as I moved
slowly away from my body as it lay in the hospital bed.
As a child, I did not know you could die with your eyes
open. So it looked like I was looking back at myself
blankly. Even now the vision does not make me feel like
she/I was dead. She just didn't move.
vaguely remember a nurse running out of the room, and
the doctor holding my arm and hand. Then he left. By
this time I was halfway between the bed and the ceiling.
I remember the color of the hospital room, a mintish
green. I remember a few other details that others have
forgotten, like the fact that my dad was not in the
room when I died. He had been told by my mom to call
my aunt, and later was angry for not being there.
remember that my mother was very calm, which seemed
strange at the time. She was acting like she was just
talking to me: walking around me, touching me, pulling
my sheet up a tad as if to keep me warm and comfortable,
and not crying. I could only see her motions and her
mouth moving, talking to me the entire time. However,
until I was older, I couldn't ask her why she was so
calm right after her daughter had died. She explained
it was because there was a child in the next bed who
was watching everything and she did not want to frighten
her. My mom said the other child was becoming very upset
and was starting to cry. So my mom told her that everything
would be O.K., and went on talking to my sister as if
nothing had happened. Of course, my mom knew at that
point my sister was dead. She was talking to my sister
calmly until I was pulled backwards up towards the ceiling.
I don't remember anything after I floated past the ceiling.
That is where my memory ends abruptly.
feels very strange when my mother has verified something
I remember, by saying, for instance, "Yes, you did have
your eyes open." That gives me the chills, hearing her
refer to me as being my sister.