Voice Transmissions With The Deceased
by Friedrich Juergenson
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163 CHAPTER 32
Hugo’s death, commented three times by himself – The age old question about the reason and purpose of suffering – Greetings from Hugo brings solace and promise
The next day, it was Saturday, Hugo’s friends had arrived from Stockholm, and I told Hugo about my dream.
“Curious, very curious”, said Hugo puzzled; “I don’t have any relative named is Hugo F., but I myself was a cavalry officer when I was young…” We also spoke about the dream with Hugo’s friends; however, no one could explain the mysterious relative.
A heavy thunderstorm moved over Moelnbo on Wednesday afternoon. I often lived in the cottage during the summer, and since it didn’t have a lightning rod, I got up and woke my sister up who was sleeping downstairs. The thunderstorm lasted for a couple of hours and was accompanied by a violent downpour. The next morning Hugo stood in front of my door. He looked troubled and suffering, his forehead was covered with beads of perspiration.
“I had a terrible night”, he said with a hoarse and a tortured voice. “I think I have angina pectoris, for my whole chest and heart seem to want to explode with pain. It was frightening, terrible! I don’t know what to do with myself…”
I was horrified and recommended that Hugo should drive to a doctor immediately. “Every time lightning flashed”, Hugo continued, “my heart cramped together and a searing pain tore my breath away.”
164 I believe it had something to do with electrical discharges into the atmosphere. After a lengthy discussion Hugo decided to call a well-known doctor.
The next day he felt much better, so good actually, that he started to work in the greenhouse again. This time however I stepped in to help. I sent Hugo into the city and asked him to get a thorough check-up. I was very worried about Hugo’s health, mostly because I knew that he always ignored his physical complaints. As soon as he was feeling a little better, he would forget all about his pain and show no concern for his body.
On Saturday night Hugo was supposed to come with his friends to visit us in Nysund. The day was humid and moist, and fog started to appear around evening. I had thoroughly heated Hugo’s cottage, for I wanted to spare him from having to chop wood.
It was a little after nine in the evening when Hugo arrived with his friends. He was lively and in a good mood. I called out to him that the cottage was well heated, and then I went to bed. I was tired and fell asleep immediately. Though I have a very light sleep, I mostly sleep relaxed and calm.
This time however, something wasn’t right, instead I felt a tortured unrest that in some semi-conscious state was pulling at me as if from a distance. It was a frightening, alarming feeling, I wanted to wake up, but was constantly overpowered by leaden sleep.
Suddenly I awoke. It was my wife’s voice calling me from outside. It was an anguished awakening, for I knew instantly that Hugo was dying.
165 Without waking my sister, I hurried in my bathrobe towards the large house, from which my wife and Birgitte R. had just called for an ambulance from neighboring Soedertoelje. Outside was thick fog, and my wife decided to drive to Moelnbo and to meet up with the ambulance along the way. Hugo was sitting on the edge of the bed with a blanket wrapped around him. His eyes shone feverishly and his forehead was covered with perspiration. A frightening rattle came from his chest. Yet Hugo was fully conscious. When he saw me coming, he stammered: “I can’t talk…”
I opened the window immediately, sat by his side and fanned some air towards him with some magazine. Hugo’s friend, Gunnar R., was pacing restlessly back and forth in the room. He had a heart problem himself and looked very concerned. ”We gave Hugo my nitroglycerin tablets,” he said, ”but they didn’t help.”
Birgitta came later; we sat next to Hugo and supported him from both sides. I checked Hugo’s pulse, which was beating rapidly. My whole attention however was directed to Hugo’s groans. I was suffering terribly from his breathing difficulties, but I just couldn’t help him. For a short while he seemed to be doing a little better, and he even told Birgitta a few gentle words, but then began his final fight with death. People who have witnessed their loved ones last struggle with death know what that means. They also know how helpless we humans are when we stand before the force of death.
Only once more did Hugo speak, and he said short and matter-offactly. “It is easier now…” A thought flashed into my head: “Hugo is leaving his body, so the pain will subside…”
Twenty minutes past one the ambulance arrived. All attempts to revive him were in vain, for Hugo had stopped breathing ten minutes earlier.
166 After Hugo’s lifeless body was carried to the ambulance, and the paramedic was about to fix a roll of gaze bandage under his chin, I experienced something that was very curious. I felt split internally, due to the shock of death, as if I was present in two worlds, which is why I wasn’t surprised when I heard Hugo’s voice say contentedly: “That went well” However, I don’t recall if I heard his voice within me or if it was outside in the open.
There was thick fog. Hugo’s cottage was brightly illuminated, the ambulance had all its lights on, and long shadows were lost somewhere within the mulchy mass of the forest. Then came Hugo’s voice again: “Too late, too late!” he said amused, and I heard how he was trying to suppress his laughter.
As I went tired and dazed to bed at 5 o’clock, I heard Hugo speak for a third time, which was right before I fell asleep. “What a wonderful feeling of deliverance”, he said with relief. I seldom heard Hugo speak with such conviction.
In the three days that followed, I experienced the transforming power of death in a totally new way. The reader may perhaps ask himself here how could the departure of my friend cause me so much pain, when I know that he still lives on and is free of all physical suffering?
First of all, I grasped that in most cases, death is perceived as a terrible brutality. Only with very old and very sick can one speak of deliverance, but even then there remains an emptiness and stillness, which is perceived by family and friends as depressing.
It started in my reliving the death scene with all its gruesome clarity. I would see Hugo’s helpless figure sit hunched and shriveled on the edge of the bed. 167 I heard his terrible groans, felt his pulse racing. A humbling feeling of powerlessness and deep grief tightened my throat. Also the thought that one could have possibly helped him followed me relentlessly.
When Birgitta and Gunner drove to Stockholm in the afternoon, I decided to go into Hugo’s cottage. It was a clear summer evening, and the evening sun was shining warm and friendly into the room. Though Birgitta had lovingly straightened up the room, I was still surprised by the feeling of oppressive abandonment.
Everything was undisturbed in its place. Hugo’s glasses lay on the table, a couple of magnifying glasses and his electric razor. I entered the bedroom. There was the bed, the blue blanket. Everything was painfully close; time stood still here.
It was a gruesome game, everywhere I looked memories came flooding over me. It wasn’t only the past, for suddenly I realized that the future crept into the game as well. Not only were things asking me questions like; do you still remember? Remember, back then? They were actually announcing what will never happen again. The gardening shears, the work shoes, the bathrobe, all of his private things called to me simultaneously: “Never again, never again!”
Yet future and past, were they not pure fiction of my imagination?
When I became aware of this mental maneuver, which was really nothing more than an automatic memory reaction, my grief started to lessen noticeably. This sobering discovery not only changed my mood but it returned my inner peace. Stop! I said to myself, something special is happening here, something that I have to get to the bottom of right then and there.
168 I sat down in Hugo’s chair and tried to sort out my thoughts. I asked myself why do we suffer, and how does suffering come about? Were we not being pulled back and forth between the millstones of time, torn between past and future, between two interacting opposites? Our suffering is created by “that’s how it was” and “that which will never be again”. But this condition can only prevail as long as we fail to see through the erroneous bases of this conclusion.
The assertions “that’s how it was” and “that which will never be again” are only accurate in part, only to the extent that they refer to our physical bodies. As every human consists not only of his body, but represents at the same time a spiritual entity that has as yet barely been mapped by us, a mistaken belief could develop here, a half-truth that we accept out of ignorance as the whole truth.
I left Hugo’s hut with mixed feelings of sadness and confidence, for the pain of the great loss just suffered was still with me. At the same time I was filled with a faint presentiment I had successfully survived major surgery on my soul.
It was about eight o’clock in the evening when I again took a seat in front of the recording equipment, which by the way was a final present from Hugo, because my old tape recorder was in very poor condition.
As I turned on the radio, Lena answered right away. I fixed on a wavelength and let the tape run. The message that now resulted was brief, but conclusive. Not only did it contain a greeting from Hugo, but also brief clarifying remarks about to my “visit to the astral reception station”, which happened a week prior to Hugo’s death. 169 A known male voice, which I heard often, spoke with a typical Estonian accent.
The man used four languages; these were English, Swedish, Russian and German. What he said would translate to: “Directly before the base fire”, Hugo comes back sleepily “It is the self-discipline.”
There was a pause here, then I heard Hugo calling out happily and excited; “Freddie!” The rest of the transmission was not intelligible.
Only the words, “Who drives is in base from Churchill…” is what I thought I heard. Right away I had to think of my dream of June 30, one week before Hugo’s death as I had visited the curious funeral chapels and public swimming pools. “Base fire?” I had to think about the charred bodies in those baths that were undergoing some sort of mystical cleansing process. “Base fire”, maybe here could be found the meaning of a long forgotten truth with the age-old name of “Fegefeuer” (purgatory), around whose core so much disagreement has formed.
A question was open however, for it wasn’t so clear to me if this was about a fire on a “base” or if a “base” was a place where pain was removed from the deceased.
And then it came to me like lightning, I had encountered Hugo in person as the faceless man, who introduced himself as Hugo F., and who showed me his curious family emblem, a wreath seemingly made of brass that was supposed to be a crest of his deceased family members. It was obvious that our encounter took place outside the borders of time and space, and that such a prophetic glimpse should not be 170 frightening anymore. Our encounter needed to be kept secret however, until Hugo’s death had provided the answer on its own.
With Hugo’s appearance on the tape my grief faded. Certainly I still miss Hugo, but the certainty that he was present and was able to get in touch with me filled me with peace and a cheerful confidence.
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