One restless morning, at about 5 a.m., Rhoda wanted to get out of bed for no apparent reason but to get coffee. She also asked me to get her some, but 5 a.m. seemed to be a little early, and my sleep tank was already on fumes. Ultimately, she gave in and stayed in bed, still awake. Then she started to look around the room, to the left, middle, right, and back again. After doing so, she asked me why there were people in the room.
Seeing people in the room wouldn’t have been Rhoda’s first liver cancer–related delusional event. She often thought she was in the hospital, but at least she always recognized our kids, friends, family, and me when we were around her. I thought this was another delusion and sort of brushed it off by telling her that there was nobody in the room. She looked around and insisted there were people and she wanted me to get them out. As I didn’t see anyone, I reassured her that there really wasn’t anyone in the room.
When I talked to her during these events, I often sat in an upright position on my left elbow, facing her, mainly to focus my attention on what she was saying. Her diminishing strength also impacted her speech, so sitting upright was often necessary to hear and understand her. To make matters worse, during some weakened and confused moments, she often resorted to speaking in her native language, Tagalog, which I didn’t understand. During this early morning event, after a few minutes of my latest reassurance that the room was empty besides her and me, she looked in my direction and asked me to move. Not sure about this request, I asked her why. She replied that I was blocking “them.” Freaked out, I immediately turned on the light and looked around to see . . . nothing. Rhoda then stared directly at the spot that I was blocking and gazed at whomever she saw.
I watched her eyes as they moved and fixed on three spots in our room: one to the left of her, one in front, and one to the right. She would always lock her gaze in exactly the same place, then move to the next one. I asked her who she saw, and she usually didn’t know but described them as having black hair. My guess is that it could have been some of her Filipino family or friends that passed before her. I’m not sure who she saw, but now I’m definitely curious and not as dismissive as earlier. She spent maybe the next thirty minutes or so looking around. At some point, the images vanished, and she fell asleep.
The next morning, at approximately the same time, she woke again and looked around at the same three spots in the room, truly tuned in to whatever it was. I was now open-minded to anything and asked her who she saw. Without hesitating, she said she saw Ambet. Of all the people and names that could have come out of her mouth, she said “Ambet,” the name of her brother who had passed away from diabetes several years earlier. I asked her to confirm it was Ambet, and she did. I was so happy and touched . . . I really believe that if someone deserved angels and spirits watching over them, it was Rhoda, and now, she had her older brother watching over her. There were others in the room, but Ambet was the only one she mentioned by name. She looked around the room a bit longer, then, at some point, just like the day before, the spirits went away, and she fell asleep.
These visions continued throughout the week, mainly in the early morning hours with me by her side, but also at other times. Most days, she would talk and laugh with them. Her best friend passed away years earlier, so I assume Rhoda was laughing with her. Another day she uttered the names Joseph and Mary (clearly a scripture reference). She was always 100 percent focused on what I can only describe as listening to the spirits or angels and learning from those who were visiting her at the time.
I noticed two things during these events. First, even though the weakness she endured from cancer made it harder for her to speak clearly and for us to understand what she was saying, when the spirits were visiting, her speech was noticeably better. Second, her eyes were a bit watery and glassy when the spirits were around. I didn’t know if she was crying but didn’t see any need to dry her eyes. I know spirits are capable of amazing things but wouldn’t have guessed that they could help my wife speak with more clarity; evidently, I was wrong.