I’m admittedly a little obsessed with the afterlife and the transition from this life into the next. One of the common themes I have heard about is that the person about to pass will look up and reach out, as if to grasp an extended hand – presumably a “welcome” from a loved one or angel from the afterlife. I believe this wholeheartedly. I’m as certain of it as a person can possibly be who has never experienced it first-hand.
My husband witnessed it when his mother passed away. She raised her hand three times before it fell to the bed, lifeless, for the final time.
Recently, as I sat beside my dying father, with the hospice lady at his other side, he was clearly in distress. The medical staff increased his medications to try to calm him and ease the pain.
His cloudy eyes opened as he looked up at the corner of the ceiling and raised his hand several inches into the air.
This is it, I thought. My brother, who had passed away in his youth, or my grandmother, must have arrived to lead Dad into the next world.
Except he didn’t die.
“Is he waiting for someone?” the hospice lady asked me. “No, he’s seen all of his kids. We told him we would take care of our Mom,” I told her.
The next morning, Dad was still hanging on somehow. The hospice nurse was amazed. I was saddened. He was completely unresponsive.
What was he waiting for? Why didn’t he seem to want to go? I believed he had glimpsed the afterlife and someone he loved was beckoning him.
Every account I read of people who experienced the afterlife, they had all wanted to join the heavenly ranks. The peace and light and love they experienced were more powerful than they ever imagined.
By the time my Dad finally did take his last breath late that morning, he was at peace. I wasn’t.
Why had he been resistant to leave this world after we’d all given our permission and told him we’d take care of our Mom?
My sister surmised he was reluctant to leave his wife of 61 years. That explanation gave me some consolation, but I needed more.
In the coming weeks, I was listening and waiting for a sign, from my Dad or from God, hoping for reassurance that all was well in the afterlife.
I wasn’t feeling any presence or message, until a few weeks after the funeral. Suddenly, I realized that a song lyric had been replaying constantly in my mind for several days. In fact, I’d been bellowing out the refrain without giving it any thought.
It was Shep & The Limelites’ “Daddy’s Home”. I didn’t know any more of the song than the refrain. “Daddy’s home. Daddy’s home. To staaaaay.”
The song wasn’t from my era and never had any meaning for me, up until that point. It was my sign.
“Okay, thank you, Lord,” I said. Now I could breathe easy. My dad was home in heaven, enjoying eternal rest.
“You really have faith to believe that was a sign,” my husband told me.
Yes. I do.