Peaceful Passing

The vigil continues. For several months now, a woman, breathing heavily, lays in bed awaiting death. Next to her, sitting bedside and holding her hand, is her husband.

“It’s ok to go, to let the pain go, to finally rest,” he said to her. She looks at him unable to move, then acknowledges with just her eyes. Her eyelids flutter and she slowly closes them. Her breathing relaxes and becomes soft and even. She is asleep.

She is dying of cancer – one that has spread throughout her body, and is now in her lungs. Every breath, every inhaled and exhaled gulp of air is pain.

Alone on the bed, she looks pitiful. While clean, hair combed, and sheets and clothing always fresh, her pallor remains deathly and pale. She is barely moving with her arms tucked inside the blanket tight against her sides. She is lamentable in the dim light, the picture of a death vigil.

This evening, the husband had sat with his wife for hours. He periodically weeps while trying to coax and help her into ‘letting go’ and ‘moving on.’ He had been doing this now for a while and every time, his actions cause him agony. She, herself, is in so much pain since the medication no longer helps. All he wants is for her suffering to end.

Now asleep, he leans over and kisses her cheek. He sits up, brings his hands to his face, and weaps.

Behind him, somewhere near in the dark, he hears footsteps. He turns quickly but sees nothing. He returns his gaze to his resting wife. She looks peaceful, beautiful, even in her deathly state.

He hears a sound and again turns to see who is there. No one. Nothing. He hears a voice in the shadows. The voice is whispering something but is indiscernible. He shivers and the voice stops. He gets up and turns off the bedside lamp. The room goes completely dark and he leaves his wife’s bedside.

The next evening, he is again consoling his wife. Likely imperceptible to anyone else, he sees that she is struggling more so, and that she is nearing the end. Again he gently tells her: “my love, it is ok to go. I am here with you, and it’s time for you to let go – let go of the pain, let go of me. Everything will be fine. It is ok to go.” His wife again falls asleep.

His eye catches movement. What looks to be an apparition of a youth – a young girl – moves across the room. It stops and looks at him. The apparition opens its mouth and screams. The girl rushes toward him with arms extended. He is startled, closes his eyes, and falls back toward his wife. The spirit vanishes. His hand reaches for his neck. He had been scratched.

The room is quiet. He sits up and looks at his wife. She is un-disturbed and continues to sleep. He again kisses her cheek, turns off the lamp, and leaves the room, this time feeling the scratch on his neck.

The following night is the vigil with family and friends. They come to the room one at a time.

A woman dressed in fine clothing enters. It is his wife’s best friend. She is tall, elegant, and had been visiting nearly every evening this week. She sits bedside and holds her friend’s hand. She smiles and the wife looks intently into the woman’s eyes. They seem to have a tender conversation just with their eyes.

After a while, the woman stands and prepares to leave. The husband approaches her and says, “Would you stay for a moment, I have something to ask of you.”

In the next room, he continued: “Would you give me a reading? I have seen something – a spirit.” Agreeing, the woman, a Tarot Reader, went to the nearby table and sat. He joined her. From her purse, she pulled a Tarot deck. She shuffled them, spread the cards on the table, and told the man to pose his question.

He asked, “Why do I have a spirit visitor and what does it want?” He drew a card and handed it to the woman.

On the card – the Page of Cups – is a young man wearing gilt clothing. He is holding a cup in one hand, and a message in the other. In the cup is a fish seemingly speaking to the youth.

“The spirit is a messenger – listen to it,” was all she said.

The man nodded. The woman stood and collected her things. They looked at each other solemnly. He is grateful for the reading. She steps forward, holds his arm for a few seconds, then leaves.

The next night, he is again alone with his wife at her bedside. Her breathing is worse. In agony, he tells her to let go and move on. She looks him in the eyes. This time, she smiles. Her breathing slows and calms. She exhales and dies, all the while her eyes open, looking directly at her husband’s face. Sitting there, holding her hand, he is saddened but glad that she is no longer in pain. Then he again hears footsteps behind him. This time, he does not turn around.

The footsteps come closer. The apparition is of a little girl. She walks behind him and puts her hand on his shoulder. She leans forward to his ear and whispers in an unearthly but clear voice, “Do not let her go.”

The husband, after hearing this, panics. He leans over his wife and shakes her, saying: “Please, please come back. Come back, come back!”

His wife’s eyes move and she begins coughing. She realizes that she’s back from death. She looks bewildered, but then her expression turns into fright and terror when she sees the spirit behind him. She raises both arms and shrieks in a labored, breathless voice, “Why did she bring me back, oh god, no!”


This is Dante P Ramon, your host and author of The Dark Reading, a collection of original scary stories inspired by Tarot cards. I invite you to follow my website as I present new stories on a weekly basis. I also record and distribute my stories via podcast. So, visit us on the web at, and feel free to share The Dark Reading with your friends.

I just drew the Death card, so good night for now.


Season 1 Episode 28.

©2021 The Dark Reading. All Rights Reserved.

This, and all stories on The Dark Reading are original and written by Dante P. Ramon.

All third party marks are the property of their respective owners.


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