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Observations placeholder

And there was Uncle Albert standing, looking quite young, probably middle aged



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Art of Dying – Drs Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick

Wendy Howard's mother's stepfather was an 85-year-old ex-coalminer who lived alone. Uncle Albert was an awkward person and did not get on with Wendy's mother. In the end they decided they wanted nothing more to do with one another. His own nephew was his carer and they saw very little of him in his later years. Wendy was the last one of her mother's family to visit him at Christmas 2004 with her husband. He was in poor health because of lung damage received when he was a coal miner, and found it difficult to breathe. They parted on reasonably good terms, but he made it clear he was happy with the way things were, with his nephew looking in on him, so Wendy didn't visit again even though she had heard he wasn't well and his lungs were getting worse. Then:

Last August 2006, during a very hot night I woke up around 3.30 a.m. to 4 a.m. I either dreamed, or actually did, get out of bed and walked towards the bedroom door, and there was Uncle Albert standing, looking quite young, probably middle aged.

He looked happy and lively and said, 'It's over. I'm free. I can't believe I'm free at last. I can breathe' and we hugged one another as though in a final farewell. Then I got back into bed, or dreamed I did, and went back into a fitful sleep. However, around 4.30 I did wake up gasping for air. You have to remember it was a very hot night and the room was stifling. I threw off the bedclothes and this time staggered towards the door, gasping, unable to breathe. I got to the door and stood, propped up by the door frame, fighting for breath and having what can best be described as a panic attack.

My husband stirred, and I told him I was having a panic attack. In the 30 years I have lived in our house, and slept through many a stifling night, I have never had this kind of reaction before. In the afternoon I called in to see my mother and she said she'd had bad news. The nephew had telephoned to say that Uncle Albert had died around 4.30 a.m. when I was busy gasping for air in my bedroom. The whole experience has baffled me. I am, not a believer in the supernatural, but this has really set me wondering.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Lung disease


Dreaming and lucid dreaming