I usually publish a ghostly little poem or story near Halloween. But this is a true tale of a paranormal event.
My mother had been dead only a few months when, my Dad described to me an odd encounter he’d experienced a few nights earlier.
He’d gone to bed at his usual time, his little cat, Nefertiti, sleeping, as she usually did, curled into the jeans that he always left just lying on the floor. He hadn’t yet quite fallen asleep (or so he thought) when he suddenly saw a beautiful, unknown woman standing beside his bed, clearly visible in the darkness.
“You’re so lonely!” she said compassionately, and leaned forward to kiss him. Then she was gone. Just gone.
Grabbing the giant Maglite that always stood ready beside the bed, Dad clicked it on, swinging the bright beam around the room as he stumbled toward the wall switch to turn on the ceiling light. There was no one in the room. Neffi still slept peacefully, curled into the bed she made of his jeans.
Shrugging, Dad turned off the lights and flashlight, and went back to bed. But it took him a very long time to fall asleep.
Was he crazy, Dad now asked me? I soothed him, explaining that he had probably been just on the edge of sleep and had a very realistic dream.
But I had reason to remember this incident when, during Dad’s final six months of life, he told me one afternoon of something that he’d been experiencing: the Woman in the Beige Cloak.
“Don’t tell your brother this,” he begged me. “He’d think I’m losing my mind.” Then he proceeded to describe a vision that had occurred multiple times since his hospitalization and transfer into nursing home care. At the edge of his vision, for just a moment, he saw a woman standing in a hooded beige cloak. “I can’t see her face,” he told me. “The hood covers it. Do you think I’m hallucinating?”
I was impressed, not because of what he had seen, but due to his description. A “beige cloak” wasn’t the sort of thing my father would usually say. He’d generally describe such an outfit as a “this long tan thing with a hood”. That was much more Dad’s style of speaking. The alteration to his usual speech pattern indicated the seriousness of what he’d been seeing.
I considered my reply carefully before telling him that, no, I absolutely didn’t think he was hallucinating or losing his mind. “I think you’re seeing your Guardian Angel,” I told him honestly, without adding that I believed he was seeing this Being because he was very close to making his journey to the other side. But I reminded him of his long ago experience with the woman who had appeared at his bedside and spoken to him and kissed him; I suggested that this was the same caring Being.
Dad’s visions continued occasionally during the final months of his life, as he mentioned to me a few times. He seemed to find them bewildering, but comforting, complaining only that he wished he could see her face (he never doubted that the person he was seeing was a woman).
Later, though, and violating dad’s stricture against doing so, in a text exchange with my brother and Dad’s closest friend, I mentioned these sightings. My brother immediately brought up the possibility of several types of illness that would cause hallucinations. I conceded that possibility, choosing not to argue. I’ve always believed in angels.
But on December 1, Dad’s friend walked into his room at the care facility and found him waking the minute she entered to exclaim in total shock, “Who was that beautiful woman hovering over me?!” There was, of course, no other person in the room. But before his friend could remark that he must have merely been dreaming, he answered himself: “It was the woman in the beige cloak! I’ve never seen her face before.”
The next morning, the care home staff found my father cold and unresponsive. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed as having suffered a heart attack. Hospitalized for three days, Dad survived the attack to return to his room at the facility. But ten days following his heart attack he was dead.
As I believed then, so I believe now: the woman in the beige cloak was his Guardian Angel. She had revealed herself to him once during his time of uttermost grief, to comfort him in his loneliness. She had been with him throughout the long six months of his dying, watching over him. And she fully revealed herself to him on that day before his final illness spiraled into the debility that would take his life.
My father died in his sleep, but he was not alone.
May we all be so fortunate.
If you’d like to read another true paranormal story for the season, scroll to the Archives, below, and choose “A Ghost Story (Only It Isn’t a Story”) from October 27, 2021.