“Could You Not Stand There?”

It’s a conversation that you can’t miss overhearing. This is in part because the stout lady in the office cubicle next door has a habit of speaking loudly, but also because it is the kind of talk that leaves you all prickly feeling.

From the one side of the telephone exchange, it seemed as though someone had been in the hospital. “Did you hear from L.?” she’d asked. The person on the other end of the phone must have responded with ‘no’ as she then relayed the remarkable story; one that her best friend L. had heard from her mother’s tending nurse.

As the story goes, the nurse brought L.’s mom back to her room and asked if the elderly lady needed anything before she left. “No, he’ll be here soon,” she replied. The nurse brushed the comment off and got the frail woman settled. Afterward, she pleaded to the nurse who was just steps away from her, “Could you not stand there?”. What came next could have been a scene straight out of a Hallmark movie…

The old woman continued on, “My husband is here to take me home.” Of course, there was no one else ‘present’ except for her and the nurse. That’s weird, the nurse thought to herself as she left the room. Five minutes later, unable to shake the funny feeling, the nurse returned to check on her patient. Sure enough, the gravely ill mom had passed.

In that moment, a somewhat comfortingly, yet eerie and palpable feeling overtook the usual office ambience as the loud-talking admin lady completed the rest of her phone call. That call resonated with those who overheard it for the rest of the day. How could it not?! Religious and/or spiritual beliefs aside, one could not argue with the sheer impact of L.’s moms words and her end-of-life experience. When I heard what had happened, it spoke clearly to me about the power of one’s love for another just as relayed in the movie, The Notebook—a personal favourite of mine. In not even knowing L. or her mom, I can only surmise a sense of peace in knowing that the ill-stricken lady was “taken home” by her loved one.

The awe-inspiring story quickly became an office tale told over and over again. In fact, as I relayed the story to a few of my own colleagues, the thought of the impending reunion between the two souls elicited lasting goosebumps. To add to the surreal conversation, one of my co-workers expressed a similar situation between a dying mom and her already deceased son “who was waiting for her.” For me, retellings such as these are a reminder that our physical world is one thing, but what lies beyond is clearly another—one that each of us will define for ourselves when our time on Earth here is done.


4 thoughts on ““Could You Not Stand There?”

      1. Unfortunately this year electricity costs are so high that we are not doing it. We considered doing it outside over a woodfire but rejected it as too laborious. I’m going to miss it.


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