59: One Last Visit Before the Light

59: One Last Visit Before the Light

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

One Last Visit Before the Light

Life is eternal and love is immortal;
And death is only a horizon,
And a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

~Rossiter W. Raymond

I was driving home from work and I felt troubled. I was thinking that we should have gone to Phoenix on Memorial Day, but I had just started a new job so we hadn’t gone. My mother-in-law had been diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after our wedding and given six months to live. But with good doctors and care in Phoenix, she was still alive three years later. Natalie, at sixty-three, was a tiny four-foot-something, gentle, loving woman. Her favorite poem to quote ended with, “Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love ’till you give it away.” She loved her three grandchildren with every fiber of her being. She was thrilled when I had Nicholas; she just couldn’t get enough of him.

My in-laws made a habit of summering in San Diego to escape the Arizona heat and to be near us, except this summer. Natalie instead asked us to bring Nicky to Phoenix over Memorial Day weekend. She didn’t tell us how sick she was, not wanting us to worry. But if we had known, we would have gone.

It was 4:45 p.m. I had stopped briefly at home and was about to go to the sitter’s house to get Nicky when the phone rang. It was my sister-in-law.

“Lisa, I’m glad I caught you,” Helaine said in a voice choked with grief. “Mom just passed away at 4:30. Marcia and I were with her at the hospital. Can you guys come?”

“Sure,” I reassured her. “I’ll call the airline and get the baby. We’ll be there as soon as we can.”

Minutes later, I arrived at the babysitter’s house. Dee-dee, a Navy wife, ran a home day care to keep busy while her husband was away at sea. It was a perfect place for Nicky. Dee-dee was sensitive and caring, treating her day care kids as her own. But today, Dee-dee was pale and visibly shaken when she answered the door.

“What’s wrong, Dee?” I asked as I stepped inside. I felt an immediate tingling of panic for my son.

“It’s Nicky. He did something strange a few minutes ago,” Deedee replied nervously. “He was sitting out back in the sandbox, playing with his favorite truck. All of a sudden, he dropped it and looked up — at nothing, just up at the air, the sky, for a minute. And he said, ‘Bye-bye, Grandma. Bye-bye, Grandma. Bye-bye,’ three times, just like that.

“Then, I got the eeriest feeling,” she said, rubbing her upper arms with her hands. “I felt like I was being watched by something. I ran out there and picked him up and brought him inside.”

I felt a flush of heat rush over my body and face.

Dee-dee continued, “I knew you were probably on your way because I looked at the clock there in the kitchen and it was 4:30. But why he was saying ‘Grandma’, I don’t know.”

“Oh, Lord,” I said, rushing over and grabbing Nicky off the floor. “My mother-in-law just passed away in Phoenix. I just got the call before I drove here.”

Dee-dee put her hand on the wall to steady herself. She was a devout Baptist and regular churchgoer. “Praise Jesus, Amen!” Deedee shouted. “Praise the Lord, Jesus! It was her spirit!”

It was obvious early on that my son was gifted. I know most parents think their kids are gifted, but Nicky always hit his milestones before he normally should. By eighteen months old, he was fully conversational. You could ask him questions and get complete, coherent answers.

I sat the tiny boy on the sofa in the living room. Kneeling beside him, I asked Nicky why he said goodbye to his grandmother. He matter-of-factly explained that she had come to see him because she was going away. He said that she told him she loved him very much and wanted to see him.

I asked him where Grandma was. He pointed, indicating the backyard. “She was outside, over there, floating in the air.”

Then I asked if Grandma did anything. Nick said, “Grandma talked, but not out loud. She talked in that little voice inside my head. She said, ‘I love you,’ and she wanted to kiss me, but she couldn’t.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because, she had blood on her mouth,” he said. “And then she went up to the clouds.”

Dee-dee blanched. I tried to keep a calm exterior, not showing the alarm I felt. I didn’t want Nick to cry; I wanted answers.

“And what did Grandma look like?” I queried further.

Nick explained in his “big man” voice, “She was wearing a dress with little flowers all over it and she had wires on her arms.”

Dee-dee and I were dumbfounded. Natalie so much wanted to see him before she passed over that she came to him before going to the Light. I believe that distance and time are immaterial for the spirit once it leaves the body. She wanted to see her grandson and let him know of her love.

My husband and I got to Phoenix later that night. We were at my father-in-law’s home with my husband’s sisters. I recounted the story about Nicky and Natalie. A stunned silence fell over the family. Helaine said that at the time of death, her mom was wearing a hospital gown with tiny blue flowers on it and she had intravenous tubes in her arms. A therapist took her respirator out, tearing her lip slightly in the process. “She had a little trickle of blood on the corner of her mouth,” Helaine said, stunned. “But how…”

My father-in-law realized how Nick knew. Nine years earlier, Bob had a massive cardiac arrest and near-death experience. He spent years reading about and researching these experiences, and taught us all about the spirit’s ability to travel and the Light of God that one crosses into at the time of death. Bob made us firmly believe, “Death is the gate of life. It’s not an end. The soul goes on.” And Natalie showed us that.

~Lisa Wojcik

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