Ms. Spiritual Matters

Dear Ms. Spiritual Matters,

I was at my sister’s house last week. We were having tea in her kitchen when she stopped chatting with me. I asked her if there was something wrong and she said, “No.” But, I could tell she wasn’t all right. She was staring out into space and not fully listening to me. I prodded her to tell me what was going on.

Becky said she smelled a familiar scent surround her. She is a hospice nurse who takes care of people in an in-patient setting. Becky spends a lot of time with patients and gets close to them. She said the fragrance was just like the cologne one of her patients had the nurses spray on her every morning. Becky told me the patient might be visiting us in the kitchen right at that moment. The hospice Becky works at is 10 miles away so I knew this was not physically possible. I did not follow up on her comment, thinking at the time that she was just stressed and unable to let go of work even on her days off.

Today, Becky called me and asked me if I remembered her smelling the scent of the patient. She said that when she went back to work she found out that the patient died at the same time she smelled the patient’s fragrance in the kitchen that day with me. I love my sister and respect her work but I do not understand this. Are there any thoughts you can share?





Dear Edna,

Nurses learn that people who die travel out of their earthbound body and may visit, in spirit form, the ones they love. It sounds like the dying person’s spirit vibrations were manifested to your sister. The scent was likely a sign the patient wanted your sister to know she was there, just not in physical form.

Hospice nurses are used to running into spirit forms. These exceptional nurses often have extraordinary perception greater than most others see, feel, smell, and hear.

Quantum Mechanics theory provides us with a rationale for what happened. It states that what happens in one place can be felt at the same time in another place simultaneously, no matter the distance and without any visible connection.

In the case of your sister smelling the familiar scent of the patient, there was no physical sign or force that linked your sister and her patient. The 10-mile distance between your sister’s home and the hospice where the patient died did not block the transmission and your sister’s experience of the spiritual visit when the death of the patient happened.

You are fortunate that your sister shared this story with you. Most people do not confide in others about such experiences like because they believe others may think they are crazy. But, it seems from your story, that your sister trusts you and opened the doorway to reveal something extraordinary. You are lucky Becky gave you this glimpse into this spiritual visit.

I suggest you validate your sister’s experience with some words of understanding and admiration.

Good wishes,

Susan Schoenbeck holds Baccalaureate and Master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an experienced educator and teaches nursing students at Walla Walla University — Portland, Oregon campus.  She is an oblate of a Benedictine Monastery where she learned centering and contemplative meditation practices. She is author of the book, Zen and the Art of Nursing, Good Grief: Daily Meditations, and Near-Death Experiences: Visits to the Other Side.



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