I've just finished watching "A Time For Heaven", and would recommend it as part of the research people and their families should look into about end of life issues. As a Hospice nurse for many years, I think people watching this who have cared for loved ones through to death will recognize some familiar experiences that will fill their hearts with the never to be forgotten emotions and memories. The first thing that struck me in the movie version of Julie's story is that Hospice nurses work far, far harder, lol ! She seemed to be working private duty in a hospital setting. Imo, the "trouble" she later had that might have led to firing , may have more to do with taking unexpected times off, than having spiritual conversations with her patients. Hospice (and other) nurses are highly aware of supporting a patient's religious and spiritual beliefs, including atheism. Most people get pretty curious as they approach death, and if they are comfortable talking about it, ask questions. Although her patient insisted he was an atheist, Julie picked up clues he was in spiritual agony and worked toward solutions to ease it, light on religious dogma. Which brings us to the miracles.
What I've observed over years and many dying patients, including my beloved Mom, Dad and family members, I've witnessed about 90 % of them experiencing end of life visions, most involving family members who have passed. Usually a week to three days before passing. In the usual slow process of closing down, these happen unexpectedly and are timed briefly to several minutes, sometimes more, duration. Family members who happen to be there to witness them are very fortunate , they'll never forget it. I've never witnessed a distressing EOLV, although I've heard they happen, rarely. What I've witnessed and heard described by patients is more joyful and comforting. I've never called them miracles, I call them extraordinary moments.
My precious Mom lay dying in a hospital bed in our family room, where I was caring for her. She was in a deep, apparently comfortable sleep. Most of our family was close to her bed, in the room. Suddenly her eyes flew open, she whipped her head around to intensely focus at a spot up to the left of our fan in the middle of the ceiling. She cried out "Mom! Dad! Ted ! Eva ! Howard ! Gramma ! Oh ! Oh ! " She repeated their names again, then "You're here !" Every eye in the room went from Mom's face to the left of the ceiling fan. Including ... our 2 dogs ! She paused, then said "... "but I don't want to go." pause... then "but I'm not ready to go." I knew what was happening and my eyes flew to everyone's faces. They were glued to Mom's face then up to the ceiling fan, where they saw nothing, but were stunned. I sent up a quick prayer thanking our Father and sending all the love I could to my dear brother Ted, who died suddenly at age 42, and the rest of my deceased family. Suddenly Mom started speaking faster than we'd ever heard her. We could only understand the occasional word it was so fast. It went on for a short while, then stopped. Mom looked up for a few more moments, then closed her eyes, exhausted. The next evening she developed unexpected respiratory distress, and 6 days later went from our arms to her family's in Heaven.
12 years later I was walking into my Dad's nursing home room, as he lay dying from side effects of Alzheimer's. I opened my arms wide and bent to kiss him. He gave me a smile and was lifting his arms for a hug, when suddenly he whipped his head to stare over my left shoulder. His face lit up with the hugest smile as he boomed out "Well for crying in the sink, where have ya'll BEEN ?!!!" I immediately "knew" though we were alone in the room, our family had gathered. I mentally thanked our Father, then my family for coming to help Dad. 3 weeks later, ( yep, all those jokes over the years came true ... Dad was always running late ) , 5:26 am I was standing over him, quietly thanking and blessing him... he gave the faintest smile, and with the tiniest movement forward, he plunged into the light. I felt it. My heart and head were completely filled with the thought " My Father is the BRAVEST man ".
One more memory. I was coming on duty, walking onto the unit of our Hospice House. A room bell rang, "oh, a new patient" I remember thinking, walking into the room. The patient and his wife were sitting in chairs. He turned to me. He had no face. Now, I'm pretty good at hiding emotions and facial expressions. But it hit like a hammer, the shock. He had a little bit of forehead and upper jaw left. I was looking at organs I had no right to see. Cancer. Somehow I introduced myself and asked how I could help. Pain meds. I left the room . Within a few steps I felt chilled and started shaking, all over. Went for a brief report, he was assigned as my patient. Pulled up his meds and walked down the hall to his room. "Please God. Please Father. Help me do this, Please." I'd approached the closed door to his room when it happened. A deep voice spoke to me in my head. Like it came from someone standing next to me but it was heard in my head. It said "SEEK HIS HUMANITY". That's all. I breathed and walked into his room. The very first thing I saw was the childlike innocence of the soft nape of his neck ... and every bit of fear fell away. That day was a miracle for me. Never forgotten.
So was it possible Julie's and her patient's miracle happened ? I think so. Watch "A Time For Heaven" for the possibilities in it.
I was disappointed this movie did not adequately cover end of life visions.