A Visit From The Other Side...#5 of my spooky stories series
Whatever your beliefs have...you cannot deny the profound experience "Dan Martinez" had three and a half years ago. On April 1st, 2002 - April Fool's Day - Dan was on a hospital bed, facing uncertainty. Strangely enough, like the movie Field of Dreams, Dan's experience with the 'other side' involves baseball, as it was opening day. Here's Dan's story, told by himself:
I'm only 29 years old and a father of a 19 month old son. I have a family, a big mortgage, two cars, and too many responsibilities to die now.
Those were my exact thoughts as I lay in a stiff hospital bed, trying to smile for my mother and younger brother. I could tell they were both very worried, but they spoke to me in a normal manner. The television mounted up in the corner of the room supplied an easy diversion. It was opening day...baseball...the stuff normal life was made of.
Pitching for the opposing team was a guy with the same last name as us, "Martinez." Our home team was crushing the ball and hitting everything this pathetic pitcher threw at them.
"He's totally pissing on our family name," I joked.
Martinez was overweight, and he looked more like a cook at a Mexican restaurant than a Major League pitcher. I think the score was 7-2 in the bottom of the 5th inning. As we watched the guy with our same last name give up a double, I suddenly noticed just how tired I was.
Soon my mother and brother left. At that moment I thought to myself, what if this is the last time I see them? I pushed that morbid thought out of my mind and watched them close the door behind them.
I thought of my grandfather, "Grandpa Lopez." He had passed away in the fall of 1995. For a few years prior, he had been very ill. I watched him teeter precariously between life and death on several occasions in hospital beds like mine. But he was a grandfather. I was only 29, and I felt myself drift from anger to depression. Suddenly, something caught my nose. At first, the smell was barely there, but the scent got stronger... it was unmistakably the smell of my grandfather. It was immediately accompanied by that feeling.
The feeling of a presence in the room.
I tried to keep my heart rate down, took a deep breath and eyed the monitors to my left - just to make sure I was still functioning. I felt the hair on my arms stand on end...and I swear to God, I felt like someone was standing just to my left. I started to panic...was I dying? I couldn't conceive the notion that my grandfather was at my bedside.
Baseball! I kept my eyes straight at the television screen. Ok, it's now 10-2. My mind began to concentrate on the sports announcers on TV. The scent was still strong, and my eyes wanted to turn to my left, half expecting to see the ghost of Grandpa Lopez. I was just going to ignore all this nonsense until it went away. Martinez was being pulled from the game. Ha, serves him right...the guy sucked eggs.
The more I tried to ignore the presence in the room, the more I could feel it assert itself. Like a strong emotional tugging. OK...I want to believe you're here, Grandpa, I do. But I need proof. Don't do something freaky like make my plastic cup of jell-o fly across the room. And certainly do NOT show yourself. I have a weak heart, and that could just push me over the edge.
I held my breath and waited...waited for a sign from the afterlife, from Grandpa Lopez. But nothing happened. I decided to try to watch baseball to forget about all of this ghost stuff.
The relief pitcher was jogging towards the mound as Martinez was leaving. He's totally pissing on our family name, I remembered joking with my brother as the fat pitcher was loafing towards the dugout. The new pitcher took the ball from the coach and turned around to begin his warm up. As he did so, the last name on his jersey came into plain view. In stark blue letters against a grey jersey was the name:
I had the proof I needed. At my absolute weakest, my "relief pitcher" was there with me.
Currently, Dan is doing well - thanks to good medicine and a good cardiologist. This cardiologist had been randomly assigned to Dan because of sheer availability - he was able to come to the hospital on short notice.
By the way - Dan's cardiologist also happened to be Grandpa Lopez's old cardiologist from years ago. Dan didn't learn of this until a couple months after leaving the hospital. This cardiologist was a young doctor and helped perform a quadruple bypass surgery back in the early 1980s on Dan's grandfather.
Is all of this just a mix of fancy and coincidence? You be the judge.