“… If we have died with him, then we shall live with him.” 2 Corinthians 1:11
On my first day as a reporter with a major affiliate in town, my news director gave me his best and only advice, “Go with the story that affects the most people,” he said. Words to live by, even today, since this story affects just about everyone.
We have all known family and friends who have died; we have all been affected either as kids or as adults by the passing of a loved one.
This is about deceased parents visiting their son before his death, actually telling him that it was his “time to go.”
Christians who celebrate the resurrection of Christ know that it is he who brings life after life and he who has opened up the gates of heaven. We Catholics also believe in the “Communion of Saints.” These are people who have died in God’s grace and can help us because they are with him. Like asking a friend for a favor, these friends can put in a good word with the creator for someone’s needs.
Doing my rounds as a chaplain, I visited Al in the hospital. He was not a religious man and he told me a story he said he had never shared before. It was about his deceased grandparents visiting his Dad, named Miguel, the night before Miguel died.
Early one morning, Miguel called Al, and asked him to take him to the hospital. When Al arrived, Miguel was dressed in a suit. It was odd because he didn’t often see his dad, a barber, dressed in a suit, but Al figured Miguel must be going to the hospital to visit a friend.
On the drive over, Miguel starts telling Al how much he loves him, and how Al has always been his favorite son. Al was touched by this unexpected and unusual display of verbal affection from his dad.
When they arrive, Miguel tells admissions that he wants to have a physical. So, he is admitted to the hospital, and doctors run tests. Looking at preliminary results, doctors tell Miguel they’d like to check him in to the hospital overnight for more tests and observation.
That evening, Miguel is in a room. Al has his arm around his dad, trying to help him feel comfortable and settle him in for the night.
Suddenly, Miguel says, “You know, son, I am not leaving this hospital.”
Al was stunned. “What are you talking about, Dad?” he said. “You’re 87, but you’ve never been sick a day in your life. They’re keeping you here only for observation. You’re going home in the morning.”
“You don’t understand,” Miguel said. “Mom and Dad came to me last night, one to the right of my bed, the other to my left. And, they told me that it was my ‘time to go.’” Seeing Al’s response, he continued, “You’ll understand, son, when I come for you.”
“And,” Al told me, “that’s exactly what happened.”
Late that night, Miguel began to experience difficulty breathing. They summoned the nurse, but as she arrived, he simply rolled back his eyes and died.
Doctors rushed in, quickly ushering Al out. They worked on Miguel to try to resuscitate him, but it did no good. Later, a doctor came out, shaking his head as he told Al, “You know, sometimes a body just shuts down.”
“He sends his word to the earth, his command runs quickly.”
“And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.”
“Trust … in God, who raises the dead … Your prayer for us will contribute to this.” 2 Corinthians 1:12