My dad, diagnosed with lung cancer four weeks earlier, has been in a coma for days, struggling for breath. My family takes turns caring for him at the hospital. I want to stay at his side today because I sense he’s leaving. Yet it’s my turn to babysit his five grandchildren—including my three-year-old daughter.
I kiss my dad on the forehead, tell him I love him and will see him soon. Back at Grandmother’s house, I put the kids down to nap. Finally, they sleep. I’m free to meditate as I’ve done every day for thirty years.
Sitting on the couch, I close my eyes and repeat a mantra—an ancient Sanskrit sacred sound. Right away, my mind settles down. Instantly, my father is vividly in front of me, laughing and being goofy. He’s young and healthy. I’m delighted to see him happy and animated. This image is so real and tangible, that I smile and say playfully, “Dad, what are you doing here?”
“DAD!” I repeat out loud opening my eyes—realizing that I’ve just clearly seen my dad who’s in a hospital miles away—dying. I pick up the phone to call the hospital room. My brother answers.
“Jim, what’s happening? I just saw Dad.”
“He’s had a heart attack. We’re trying to stop the CPR efforts. It’s chaos.”
“I was meditating and he appeared in front of me—alive and happy.”
“That’s amazing, Sue. You’re psychic,” he says sweetly but sarcastically. “Now put the kids back in the car and come down here.”
By the time I reach the hospital with my entourage of cranky toddlers, Dad’s body is laid out peacefully on the hospital bed and my family is gathered around crying. I’m upset that I wasn’t with him.
“He’s gone,” Jim says as I enter. “But you were with him more than we were. It was chaos here when it happened. You saw him as soon as he crossed over.”
I’m still upset that I wasn’t at his side to help him. But eventually I realize that Dad’s spirit wasn’t caught up in the crazy chaos going on in the hospital room. He was with me, and he was clearly happy and free! I’m grateful that I was sitting in meditation and able to see him so clearly.
Days later, as family gathers in the living room to discuss funeral arrangements, my three-year-old daughter runs into the room and stops suddenly. “Why is everyone crying?” she asks looking around at our sad faces.
“Because Grandpa died and we miss him,” says my brother Tom.
“I just saw him fly past the window and he looked happy,” she says with absolute innocence—looking at us confused, as if we’ve got it wrong.
My brother kneels in front of her and says gently, “Tell me what you saw, Sarah.”
She describes my father looking young and happy—flying past the window and waving to her. It makes us all smile to imagine it. We believe her. It helps us.