When I worked as a reporter, my news director’s best advice was to “go” with the story that affects the most people. The story I am about to share is one that touches everyone. Because everyone has dearly departed family and friends, we all have loved ones we have lost at one time or another.
This is about deceased parents actually visiting their son before his death, and telling him that it was his “time to go.” We Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, know it is He who brings life after life and He who opened the gates of heaven. Catholics also believe in the Communion of Saints; that is, Christians – now in heaven – helping Christians here on earth. It's like asking a friend to put in a good word for me with God for an intention.
I recently met a patient whom I will never forget, whose story seems to show that all our holy departed are alive, among us and communicating with us. His name was Al, and this is about Sam, his dad. It is about how Al’s deceased grandparents visited Sam the night before he died.
The story goes like this. Early one morning, Sam calls Al and asks him to take him to the hospital. When Al arrives to pick him up, Sam is dressed in a suit. Al figures his dad is going to the hospital to see a friend, since as a barber, Sam was not often seen in a suit.
On the drive over, Sam starts telling Al how much he loves him, something Al had not really heard before. He tells Al he has always been his favorite son.
At the hospital, Sam is not there to visit anyone after all. Instead, he wants a checkup, to get a physical exam. So, the doctors run initial tests, and after seeing the results, they decide it’s best to keep him in the hospital overnight for observation and possible further tests.
So, Sam is admitted. In the evening, Sam and Al are conversing. Sam is in bed and Al’s arm is around his dad’s shoulders.
Sam says, “You know, son, I am not leaving this hospital.”
Al is taken aback and responds with, “What are you talking about, Dad? You’re 87, but you’ve never been sick a day in your life. They are keeping you here overnight, but you will be out in the morning.”
“You don’t understand,” Sam says, “Mom and Dad came to me last night, one to the right of my bed, the other on the left. They told me that it was my ‘time to go.'"
Seeing Al's disbelief, Sam says, "You'll understand when I come for you.”
Although Al doesn't believe it, that’s just what happened. Late in the night, Sam begins having difficulty breathing. He struggles and, before they could call a nurse, Sam rolls his eyes back…and he is gone.
Doctors rush in, send Al out of the room, and begin to work on Sam to try to revive him, to no avail.
Later, one of the doctors approaches Al and shaking his head, says, “Sometimes a body just shuts down.”
Al’s dad died that day, just as his deceased parents had told him he would the night before. Our dearly departed are in heaven and they are here with us.
On All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1, we pray for all those who have left this life and are now in heaven with God ― the ones whose names we know, and the ones whose names we don’t know.
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