Cathy Gregor died in 1995. Depressed and tired after caring for her dying mother, she drank a morphine and beer cocktail. As Cathy's husband Tom dialed 9-1-1, she saw a bright light, and went toward it.
For Cathy, dying changed her life.
"I was at a very bad place, taking care of my father after a very long illness," she said. "He died in January. Mom got very sick. I was devastated. I was very, very close to my parents."
During the illness, Cathy moved in with her mother, administering morphine every two hours.
"She begged me and my husband to kill her," Cathy said. "I couldn't. Mom was terrified to die alone and I promised her I would be with her. I held her for two days. I hugged and kissed her telling her I was there and not to be afraid."
Cathy kept her promise.
"Mom died in my arms, but hours before she died she told me her only regret was leaving me behind."
Hours later, Cathy's mother died.
"My mother died in my arms while I was telling her to go to the light," Cathy said. "I saw a brightness above the bed in the ceiling."
Cathy's brother came from Georgia to help with the funeral, but Cathy wasn't well.
"At the funeral home I just screamed and passed out when the casket closed," she said. "I wanted to climb into that casket with Mom and go with her."
Then she passed out at graveside.
"The doctors said I needed rest desperately," she said. "So to bed I went, but I would wake up every two hours Š and then cry."
Soon after, Cathy started smelling her mother's perfume.
"The perfume would always come when I sat on Mom's rocker and cried over my loss," she said. "When I talked to her about how I just can't go on anymore, Mom would always come back. Tom got more and more upset with her presence and Mom's perfume permeating our home. One night Tom told me to either die with Mom or I have to move on with my life.
"I unfortunately took Tom literally to die with Mom."
So she did. She spoke to her mother as she smoked a cigarette and slowly drank the beer and morphine.
"Sometime later, Tom came downstairs and found me dead," Cathy said. "I did see people working on me. I couldn't understand why they were so upset because it was beautiful where I was and I continued through the light."
In the light, Cathy saw her parents and grandparents.
"I felt I was home, at last," she said. "But then they told me I had to go back; but I wanted to stay there."
Then Cathy's family said why it was OK to go home.
"They told me they hear us when we talk to them," Cathy said. "My mother said they are only on the 'other side of the street,' walking beside us and watching over us. Then I was back in my body."
Cathy went into grief therapy and later appeared on the Gordon Elliott Show to discuss her experience. Now, she talks with young people about suicide.
"I work with kids that think suicide is the best way out," she said. "I can now scare the crap out of them to not ever do what I tried. At least I am proud to say that I have helped others through my foolish experience."
Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn't identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt c/o The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty, Independence, Mo. 64050, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, address and telephone number. Your story might make an upcoming installment of "From the Shadows."
Jason Offutt is a syndicated columnist, author and fan of all things Fortean. His book of ghost stories, "Haunted Missouri," will soon be available at www.jasonoffutt.com and all major bookstores.
Copyright 2006 by Jason Offutt