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In the Presence of Grace

by Aline Fourier

Elaine’s body was riddled with cancer. She was only in her 50s. She came down regularly from New Hampshire to participate in a cancer support group I ran in Massachusetts. And then she couldn’t. It has taken me almost 40 years to relate this story. It has taken me almost 40 years to honor this incredible experience that she gave to us, her family and me.

Elaine asked me to come up to New Hampshire where she was in the hospital. I came. We joked about whether I was there to help her to live or die. Why did we joke? Maybe it was the uncomfortableness the question posed, our way to feel alright about asking it. Together we decided that she was ready to go home, and so we proceeded to do visualization work to make that happen. Elaine went home.

Months went by and we talked by phone. And then there was silence. I received a call shortly after from her husband saying Elaine was back in the hospital and had been in a coma for several days. Could I come up?

I got in my car after talking with the rest of the support group and getting messages from them for Elaine. I did that familiar hour and a half drive to the hospital. Her family was gathered sitting quietly as she lay in a coma. There was a chair by her bedside and I sat down. I took her hands in mine and began to talk with her even as she lay in a coma before me. “Elaine now it is the time we have talked about.” Feeling this unseen presence around her I said that there are beings here to help you to pass beyond this physical world. I shared the messages of her friends in the cancer support group and placed a stone, one of them had given me for her, in her hand. I placed her hands back on her body. I sat in quiet with her family all around.

I am not sure how long we sat there, sometime talking quietly but mostly we sat in silence. About 20 minutes later Elaine suddenly sat bolt upright in bed and said, in a strong and passionate voice, “I am going to be fine. Please do not worry about me.” It was not the voice of someone where cancer had taken over their body. it was a voice that brought all of us to immediate attention. We were riveted by its power. She then proceeded, for the next hour, to animately say goodbye to each member of her family, making some laugh, reassuring others and just with a sureness of spirit that, indeed, she was going to be fine. She then called me over to say goodbye. She thanked me for everything, told me to share this with the support group and to give my dog, whom she loved, an extra hug from her.

Elaine passed through the doorway peacefully that evening. We had witnessed Grace.


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