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This is way OT for this Board and because of that, I'll apologise now, up-front. However, this is the kindest Board on the Fool and I need to talk.... What I want to talk about is why I believe in life after death. I half wanted to post this on Annie's Board, but I don't think it is appropriate.

I've been following Annie's progress a lot in the last couple of days, ever since Gimmeaminute (Deannda) posted her "help a fellow Fool" link on the LBYM Board. It's brought back a lot of memories. I was a nurse for 6 years and, for much of that time, I was an "Angel of Death", working an acute hospital where most of the surgery was on cancer patients. My role was to comfort the dying and support their families.

I saw a lot of dying, but not a lot of death - for some reason, my patients never died on my shift. Frequently, though, I'd know when I said goodbye to them at the end of the day, that they wouldn't be there on my next shift (one man asked me, "How long takes death?" What could I say?). Whenever there was a cardiac arrest, I could always feel a presence in the room as if it were the patient watching and deciding whether to come back (a common experience amongst nursing staff, I believe).

14 years ago this month, I was working nights on a ward specialising in Breast Cancer. I was 23 and this was in Melbourne, Australia. Angela was my patient. She was 24, with stage 4 breast cancer; she'd found the lump in her breast a year earlier, the week before her baby was born. It had spread like wildfire. During one long night, the patient opposite died, and Angela and I had a long conversation about death. She was scared; she knew the cancer had taken hold and that she might not have long. That night, we made a pact: if there was life after death, who ever died first would come back and tell the other.

We were serious, although the odds were shorter on her side than on mine. (However, I was about to go to work in London and the IRA were targetting tourist locations.) But we made a promise to each other, I guess as a way of comforting each other.

Two months later, I was in a car driving to Gatwick Airport outside London. It was night and we were on a country road. I saw Angela standing on the side of the road. She waved at me and vanished.

I know that she can't have been there in the flesh. I was 13,000 miles away from her home. I don't believe it was an illusion, either, or a case of mistaken identity (at that time of night, there shouldn't have been anyone around and we weren't near a village). The only explanation is that Angela came to fulfil her side of the pact. She kept her promise.

- Pam
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