I only saw it from the place where the mirror is cracked and only when the light from the morning sun hit it just right. I only heard it when I was wearing one of their old wind-up watches.

I eventually covered up the crack by tucking a carefully chosen photo into the mirror’s wooden frame.Then I stopped wearing the watches and reverently packed them away in soft, velvet boxes.

I had to give myself a break from the sights and sounds. Nothing was particularly frightening but the collective weight of their wordless pleading was overloading my daily responsibilities and my very being. “Tell the story.”

The images were like the ones I’d seen when I had my first, near-death experience. Mostly, sepia-toned stills like the kind you would see in cherished, old photograph collections, only these images would move a bit.

Polite tight smiles would relax into a slight grin. Piercing eyes would pause and twinkle. Everything, everyone would become more inviting and less intimidating than the original view.

I would remember being in that very location and feel the event that was holding them to that space and time. The cry of the dove cooing, or the smell of blooms would penetrate my thin, skin shell.

At first, I tried to not be pulled in their direction. I fought it; frightened that if I went along, I would not be able to find my way back to the life that I’d been living. I had three young children and I did not want to leave them.

A mid-pregnancy miscarriage had caused a frantic rush to the emergency room. No pulse and no blood pressure were the urgent problems for the medical team but I was only aware of a sensation of tumbling through a tunnel and seeing, and feeling the pull of deceased ancestors.

I was somersaulting and each time I came up from one full rotation, I would see another relative’s image. In all, I saw a dozen family members and then I was at the end of the tunnel.

From a crack flashed a blinding light that made me squeeze my closed eyes even tighter. An unrecognizable voice gently whispered, “Sorry, you have to go back. You still have work to do.”

Instantly I was back in my very own 32 year old, human body form. Hooked by lines and wires to the life saving equipment of the modern emergency room; alive but forever changed and charged. Tell the story.