We spoke at length the other day with Becki Hawkins from Oklahoma, a woman who was an oncology and hospice nurse for three decades and relates some remarkable experiences when she tended to the dying.
There was the Pentecostal minister in his seventies who was nearing the end after a long illness:
When Becki got to his home, the dying man had turned very blue.
The nurse got him in bed and sat him up "and all of a sudden he tapped my should and said, 'Becki, do you see them?'
"I said no and he said, 'The room is full of angels!' He said they were on the right and left sides of the ceiling.
"So he called out to his wife," continues the nurse. And his dramatic last words to his spouse:
"Annie, I love you. I'll see you again. I've got to go!.. My Lord, my God..." With that, recalls Becki, "he fell back against me and he was gone."
One can see why Becki calls what she used to do "standing on holy ground."
The accounts are in a book she has written, Transitions: A Nurse's Education About Life and Death.
"When we're down to those moments, we're all the same," notes Becki, retired now at 65. "It doesn't matter how much money we have, how much land we owned, how many degrees we have;' it comes down to how we treat each other." Whether rich or poor, whether entering a mansion on marble stairs, as she puts it, or up cinderblocks, at a mobile home to tend to someone, she observed how death comes, in the same way, to all of us, removing the pretenses of this world and reducing us to who we really are.
Most remarkable of all, perhaps, is what is now happening to her. For it seems as if being on the threshold may have caused some of the supernatural to rub off on her. Raised Baptist, but married to a Catholic, Hawkins started having "spiritually transformative" experiences herself, she believes, a few years ago. Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, claims Becki (for our discernment), have appeared next to her bed and also in visions as she meditates in prayer. "I'm laying there and I don't even know what to do," she said of her first vision. "Jesus smiled when I asked if I should to get out of bed and kneel. He said, "No, Becki, go back to asleep. We love you.'"
His words always are brief, she says, with no elaborate "messages." Many of her visions occur in the small hours of morning, between three and five a.m., when many feel the "veil" is thin. She believes that Jesus and Mary appear in the way most familiar and comfortable to the seer and that she is proof "anyone can have a vision of Jesus or Mary. It doesn't have to be a perfect saint." Mary came after she was told to get rosary beads her husband had.
One "very, very clear vision of Him was quite breathtaking," recalls the retired nurse. "All of a sudden there are these three beings behind me. And all of a sudden Jesus appeared before me, walked right in front of me, raised His thumb -- there was Blood on it -- and blessed me with it. He placed a mantle on me and gave me a shepherd's staff and He said, 'Becki, you are mine.'"
Whatever the experiences, we can certainly take some lessons from this nurse.
"There's going to be a lot going on at many levels in the future," she perceives. "But we shouldn't fear. God's still in control and we need to focus on the big picture. If we move into a state of fear, we won't be able to move forward. Now is the time for all people connected to God to lead with love. We are one human family."
The anger of our time, she notes, is precisely "the result of fear."
"Just do acts of love," she urges. She suggests that we all call on angels more frequently. (Did not Jesus, while in human form, need one in the desert?) "My hope is that people understand how very real and alive Jesus and Mary are and how much they love us. God and the Virgin Mary love everybody of all religions. I was told growing up, 'Don't talk to the Catholics.' There was an uproar in the family over marrying my husband because he is Catholic, but it has been 46 years now! I'm not Catholic but I really love this Pope. I have a love for the Church. Mass is beautiful.
"Jesus isn't about all this theology. Jesus was very plain in Scripture. When He was asked which was the greatest commandment, He said.... and added to it... 'All the law, and all the prophets, come down to this: Love God, love each other.'
"Very clearly it came from Mary: Let love lead the way."
[resources: After Life]