Since my sister’s death on Valentine’s Day there have been stories circulating about visits from her. I am not surprised since she was an expert meddler, and loved nothing more than a good prank. Moments before she took her last breath, she sat up in bed and held out her arms to a being no one else could see. She cried out, “Help!” in a calm voice. She wasn’t in distress, but seemed to be asking for guidance. This was reported by her very level-headed and experienced nurse, Latasha, who then ran to get Vivi’s husband, Morty.
At the time I was asleep in my hotel room in Vail, Colorado. At 6AM, approximately when Vivi held out her arms to that unseen being, the alarm clock started buzzing. I reached out in the dark to turn it off. Neither George nor I had set the clock, and it was a harsh, annoying sound. At 6:12 it buzzed again, very insistently. About twenty minutes later, Morty called. Vivian had died at 8:15 AM in New York, two minutes after our alarm clock had sounded in Vail.
Well, that was weird. It took us the whole day to get from Vail to Austin where we did a quick turnaround, gathered our three grown kids, and flew to New York. And then the next extremely weird thing happened. Several of us had decided to visit Vivi for the last time in the funeral home. George and our son Julian were going. My daughter, Jofka, was very clear she didn’t want to go. My other daughter, Gaby, was not so clear and I told her I felt it would be important. And so we all piled into my brother-in-law, Morty’s car. In front of the funeral home, Gaby managed to dislocate her shoulder as she was getting out of the car. She has loose ligaments, so this has happened before. But what timing!
George and Morty took her to Lenox Hill Hospital where, coincidentally, she had been born 30 years before, almost to the day. By the time I got there, the shoulder had still not been put in and poor Gaby was screaming in pain. The docs wanted to avoid conscious sedation, but in the end they had no choice, and administered Ketamine. I was allowed into the ER surgery moments later, when the procedure was done. And there was Gaby staring out at the beyond, just as Vivi had done. “Mom,” she said. “I’m having an out-of-body experience. I can see Vivian. She’s right here, right in front of me. She’s okay, Mom. She keeps saying she’s okay.” The vision continued for about two full minutes, then faded.
In her lifetime Vivi was very good at getting attention. She loved to be front and center in all photos, and when she walked into a room you knew it right away. I’m glad to see nothing has changed. Once the shoulder was back in place, Gaby had minimal pain. But the out of body experience … well, that was totally Vivi and her prankster energy. It felt very orchestrated.