Emotions are unpredictable, which is why there’s no right or wrong way to grieve when a loved one unexpectedly passes away.
In 2011, a Russian mother was blindsided when a woman from the local hospital told her that her mother had passed away. Instead of breaking down in tears, she threw herself into planning the perfect funeral to honor her mother. However, when she went to collect the body for the ceremony, she was in shock by what the hospital staff had to say to her this time…
Better Safe Than Sorry
On November 2, 2011, 61-year-old Lyudmila Steblitskaya started experiencing chest pain. Since she had a history of heart problems, her daughter, Anastasia, decided to bring her straight to the Tomsk Regional Clinical Hospital in Siberia, Russia.
The Emergency Room
Lyudmila was admitted to the hospital and doctors ran a few tests to see what was causing the pain and discomfort in her chest. After doctors checked Lyudmila’s vitals and a few test results came back, it was clear the 61-year-old grandmother wasn’t in any immediate danger…
Staying For Observation
Doctors explained the situation to Anastasia, who had been waiting patiently for any news on her mother’s condition. They told Anastasia they wanted to keep her mother for a few days for observation and to make sure nothing was seriously wrong with her heart.
Time To Go Home
After that, the doctors and nurses insisted that Anastasia go home to her young daughter, Nelli, and get some rest. They assured the worried daughter that her mother was fine and that they would notify her of any changes, so Anastasia went home…
Checking Up On A Patient
The following day, Anastasia called to check up on her mother and was told everything was fine, which is why the mother of 1 was completely blindsided when she called back the following day on November 4 and was told that everything was not fine.
“Who are you to Lyudmila Steblitskaya,” the nurse asked Anastasia when she called them and asked if there were any changes to her mother’s condition. “I am her daughter, Nastya,” she told the nurse. “Accept our condolences. She died 17.40 p.m.,” the nurse replied…
Processing The News
“My world just went blank. I knew she was ill but I was shattered. I don’t remember my father, and my elder brother had tragically left us, so mum was the only relative on the planet, the only close blood. And now she was gone,” Anastasia said about the moment she learned about her mother’s death.
A Welcomed Distraction
Anastasia was stunned by the news, but instead of falling apart, she distracted herself by focusing all of her energy on telling other family members about what happened and started thinking about organizing a ceremony in her mother’s honor…
A Weekend In The Morgue
“Still in a daze, I got to the hospital about an hour later, and went to ask about the formalities I needed to go through before I was able to take my mother’s body,” Anastasia said. However, by the time she arrived, her mother’s body had already been brought to the morgue, which was now closed for the weekend.
“I was asked to call the morgue, and there people said it was too late, it was Friday evening, and I could only get back to pick up the body on Monday. I decided to make Monday the funeral day,” Anastasia explained. “Then the money issue arose…”
Planning The Funeral
Anastasia was busy running around trying to get about 60,000 roubles, or $1,950, together for the funeral, flowers, a coffin, and food to feed approximately 50 people at the gathering after the funeral. There wasn’t a lot of time to get it all done, but by the time Monday came, Anastasia only had 1 thing left to do.
The Morning Of The Funeral
“On Monday, early in the morning, the grave-digger called to confirm that he was about to finish her grave,” Anastasia said. “I had hardly slept since Friday. I cried so much, getting everything organized for my Mama’s last party…”
The Last Thing Left To Do
“In the morning, I went first to the chemist’s shop, and bought a bottle of calming medicine, and drank it almost completely, before going to the morgue, which was in the hospital,” Anastasia said. “It was 9 am, and there was already a queue of people by the morgue door. I was standing there with a bag clothes for my mother, waiting my turn. Then the woman opened the morgue doors, and told me ‘Please wait a bit longer.’”
About 20 minutes later, the woman came out and said she needed to speak with the doctor since they hadn’t had time to do the autopsy yet and the funeral was about to begin. When Anastasia found the doctor, she was told she needed to wait yet again…
“Then some new woman came along the corridor and asked me if I was Lyudmila Steblitskaya’s daughter. I confirmed I was, and said that I needed to pick up her body, rather urgently now. She looked really perplexed and said: ‘But Lyudmila Steblitskaya is alive. I’ve just seen her.’”
A State Of Shock
When Anastasia heard the woman say her mother was alive, she went into shock and thought someone was playing a cruel trick on her. “I felt like I was going mad, my hands started to shake. She said something like ‘follow me’, though I’m not at all sure now about what people were saying, and what was happening during those minutes. I was just so, so shocked…”
No Need For A Funeral
“Nothing prepares you for being told that your mother is alive after you’ve been assured she is dead. ‘My mother died on Friday,’ I stuttered. ‘People have gathered for her funerals. The grave is ready…’,” Anastasia said. “Well I don’t think so, I’ve seen her alive some minutes ago. Come, we need you to identify her,” the woman replied.
Seeing A Ghost
When Anastasia walked into the room, she saw her mother in a bed. She was breathing, moving, and even called her name. Rather than run over and hug her mother, Anastasia screamed and ran out of the room. “It must be the shock, I don’t know why I did that. I guess it was the image of her grave in my mind, and the coffin, and then her, smiling, which just sent me into a kind of madness,” said Anastasia, who could only think to call everyone and tell them the funeral was canceled…
From Grief To Relief
“Actually, the feeling of joy only crept in weeks after I took Mama back home. I think the grief I felt, mine and my daughter’s tears, the condolences from so many people, all got so deeply into me, that it took me all that time to celebrate her return to life,” Anastasia said. “On the day, we put all the flowers on my brother’s grave, and other graves nearby.”
Lyudmila was equally as shocked when she heard what had happened as she had no memory of anything since she lost consciousness in the hospital. “I am still in the dark about what happened,” Lyudmila said. “I’ve been told I was in the morgue from Friday until Monday, and I have a vague recollection of real cold. When I came round my skin was peeling badly, round all my body. There is no other explanation, but that I was left for some time in the freezing conditions of the morgue.” Doctors have no explanation for what happened since they witnessed her die in the hospital. “But the main thing is I am happy to be alive. It is a miracle that I’m still here.”