Type of spiritual experience
A description of the experience
Going Home – Colm Keane
Mary-Ann Murphy from Cahersiveen, County Kerry
My brother Kevin was only 24 years old when he died. He was a very bubbly person but he was getting blackouts. It was discovered that he had a lung condition, which was diagnosed nine months before he died. It was diagnosed on the day of his birthday, 24 April 1998. He had pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure of the lung. It plays on the heart and can eventually wear you out. We were hoping for a miracle and I prayed for one every day.
Towards the end, he was getting very breathless. He got a few attacks of breathlessness where he thought he was gone. One time, around early November, he had an attack which was like a bad faint. He was on his way to the bathroom from the bedroom. The next thing he collapsed. It all lasted about three minutes. Mammy thought he was gone, that he had died. She sat him on a chair and she held him in her arms.
When he came out of the attack, he told my mother that he had been in a tunnel. He had gone through this tunnel and it was a lovely beautiful experience. He said it was a very comfortable feeling. He said it was very peaceful and that he wouldn't have minded going all the way. Mammy believed him. He seemed to be very happy to be going and he said it was wonderful. He was sure he was gone. He felt very calm. He was ready to die. He was happy that if he died he was going to a better place. I think he told everyone about what had happened. I thought, 'Isn’t it lovely to hear he had been to the other side’. We will all have to go there sometime. He had great acceptance.
People couldn't understand how a young man, with so much to live for, could have such acceptance of going to the next world. He told a very good friend of his, 'You know, I’m going to die.' She said, 'Ah, Kevin, you won't.' He said he knew he was but he added, 'I'm not worried at all about myself but I'm very worried about my parents.' I also remember going to visit him one day and I was crying because he wasn't well. I used to cry a lot because I thought, 'What am I going to do without him? I love him so much.' He said to me, 'It is me that should be crying!’ He was always really bright and jolly. Yet I was the one crying because he was very weak that particular day.
He didn't tell me he was going to die until the day it happened. He said it straight out to me, 'I'm going to die!’ I started crying. I didn't believe it. He was always very strong and wasn't a weak, sick person. I was still waiting for the miracle. I thought, 'He is too good for this to happen. He was also due to go to England, where he hoped to get a transplant.
That Saturday evening I left him and went home. A man who goes around with the Legion of Mary and has a statue of Our Lady sat and prayed with him in the hospital. A priest went in to say a prayer over him too. Kevin told the priest, 'There is no need to pray for me. Just pray for my parents, for acceptance.' Later he told the nurses, 'I'm going to die. Hold my hand.’ One of them said she couldn't because it was too much for her. But another one held his hand. He got heart attack after heart attack and he died. He died on 31 January 1999. I was later told by the man who prayed with him, 'Your brother is in heaven. I have only seen two people that were really happy about dying. Kevin was one and there was another elderly lady.' We often discussed how he felt that night