Yes, I am wondering if anyone has ever wondered whether a loved one has not moved on after death, and is instead staying present here on earth where he or she was.
Years ago my when my father’s father died suddenly, not quite 60, we all grieved. It was a grieving that seemed to me to go on and on and on. A heaviness in my heart always was there when i though of him, and when we’d visit my grandmother in her home, out of state, his presence there would be so strong; you’d feel so sad.
Ten years later, as an adult, my parents and I visited their house for an overnight on a journey while my grandmother was away out of the country. I could feel his presence as we even approached the house, and once inside, it was* so strong!* I knew my father felt it too, because we all got silent and went our separate ways and went exploring.
That night when i went to bed, and could not sleep as I was over- tired from the oppressing feeling of his sad presence, and most of all from the worry I had had for some years since I had become a born-again Christian. My grandfather had stopped going to church before my father was born, because he was mad at the Church. As far as I knew, he never talked of God at all. What made me saddest is he might be in Hell, because he probably didn’t “accept Jesus” and I so would never see him again. I was sadder and sadder, but in this a hope was born, and I began to pray.
I said, “Jesus, you said we could pray and ask you for ANYTHING in Your name. Now I know we are not supposed to pray for the dead * but I can’t think of anywhere in the Bible it says that and You did say ANYTHING and not ‘except this’. And for You time is nothing, so if I pray now You CAN go back in time and answer prayer. So I pray that Pop-pop would have the chance to accept you, because I know he would if his parents had showed him right, or if he wasn’t mad at the Church, I know he would pick you if he could know you. Please answer this prayer God, i the name of Jesus, who promised I could ask things in His name.”
I felt an amazing whoosh of peace - immediate. I went from oppressing sadness to immediate peace and joy. I could feel great happiness from Jesus and closeness, and like angels and much of heaven was there with me giving me peace to fall asleep happily and immediately. And I awoke next morning in perfect peace, and great joy, knowing God answered my prayer.
I felt light as a feather as I proceeded to the bathroom. But then I also noticed something strange and different about the house. My grandfather’s presence was no longer there. No, not there in my room, not there in the hall, not in the bathroom. I peeked into his room - not there either. I went to his dresser, where all his things still were. Not even there with his things. No upstairs anywhere, not downstairs. I even checked the basement and attic. Gone. It felt peaceful, and strange to have him gone, like it was a different house.
I knew my prayer had had some powerful effect, and I knew I would see my grandfather in heaven. It was an amazing experience that I understood little of until years later I became Catholic, and then I understood a little more. All I knew was that I had prayed for the dead, and Jesus did not mind, in fact He was glad I did. I knew heaven approved, even though I could not explain what seemed to be a contradiction of all the Church teaching I had ever learned. So it was a validation when I became catholic and learned that definitely, God wants us to pray for the dead.
It seems to me there is a precedent of catholic teaching that says some of the dead sometimes choose on sticking around earth for awhile. In other words, like ghosts. It feels so strange to say this after growing up being told there is no such thing as ghosts.
Well, my father died this summer. He suffered long but fought, fought, fought to get better and never gave up hope of coming home with Mom. I was with him in the end, and I know there was surprise at the end - that he wasn’t ready. I won’t get into that detail because its hard.
Also Dad was very earth-bound. He never prayed, far as I know, and was not open to talking about God. Even at the end, I kind of had to impose any talk of God on him because he was not interested, not “ready” to talk about that, he said (as he lay in bed, tube fed, can’t walk, can’t swallow, can’t hardly talk).
He and Mom were so attached, so much a part of each other and such homebodies. I have been visiting Mom a whole lot to support her in various ways especially those ways Dad did up to the very end. It has seemed normal to feel his presence in the house, but this last time it felt slightly intrusively sad, especially when I went down to his workshop to find something Mom needed, opening drawers and seeing how he’d organized things. I didn’t find it, and asked my son to look while Mom and I walked.
I came back and my son hadn’t found it. Later on the way home, he told me when he went down there he felt Dad’s presence so strongly it felt creepy and he didn’t want to stay down there. So he came back up to read, and he felt Dad’s presence next to him, and then he felt a soft but “real” touch on is head, “like this”, and he showed me.
My son is not one to have an overactive imagination in these ways and he does have a strong spiritual sense at times. Dad and he had a special connection, with Dad being extra understanding because they were both only children…
[This has to be finished on the next post since it has been deemed too long]*