One morning recently, Cathy, a friend of mine from St. Martha’s, woke up from a very vivid dream with both her parents in it. Even though her dad died 10 months before her mom, in this dream, Cathy was talking to her dad and her mom had just died. Cathy experienced very real feelings.

When she awoke, she told her husband and he said, “I wonder why you dreamed about them.”

Cathy looked at her watch, saw the date, and smiled. “I know why,” she told Ken. “Today would have been their 59th wedding anniversary.”

“Unfortunately,” Cathy said, “the last jubilee my parents celebrated together, this side of heaven, was in 2007.”

Cathy wished her mom and dad a happy anniversary and told them she loved and missed them both so much. And she thanked them for visiting her dreams to remind her of their special day.

Christians believe that those who die in grace remain close to us.

Jan Wakelin at “Catholic Answers” explains that we form a single body, in heaven and on earth, the living and the dead in the Eucharist. “Many who have lost a loved one may experience closeness to that person after receiving Communion … those who died in grace are alive in Christ; thus our nearness to Christ in the Eucharist brings us nearer to them as well.”

Elaine, my friend at St. Mary’s in Plantersville, was also visited by her dad after his death.

“Have I got a story for you!” Elaine said to me after learning about this column. “It’s about Daddy. He was my best friend; I loved talking to him. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him, I begged him that we stay together.”

Her dad, Francis, was rugged, tall and handsome. He was gorgeous, she says, a drum major in high school, a lifeguard and diver. His Mexican fishing and hunting buddies called him, “Pancho,” as they traveled all over Texas and Canada.

Elaine had seven siblings. With Dad, they all water skied every lake in Texas. His motto was always, “Just have fun!”

Elaine shared with him a love of Texas. He bought boots and ornaments for her, and together they rode horses in parades. She was the only of child of his who could easily talk to him. Francis was strict and demanding. His discipline and patriotism served him well as Scout leader to produce exceptional Eagle Scouts. He was tough, and those boys later became Marine Corps generals.

Francis was 87 and dying when Elaine said to him, “Daddy, I want to ask you something. If you can, someday, when you pass, could you come back and let me know that you’re OK?”

About a month after he died, Elaine felt something pressing on her in the middle of the night. When she opened her eyes, she saw Daddy’s face 10-12 inches above hers! Not with his usual huge smile, he instead smiled softly as if pleased or proud. After several seconds, she wondered whether he might kiss her or just look closely at her. Then, like smoke, he disappeared.

The following month, Francis appeared to her again, this time at the foot of her bed, his full body leaning on one hip with his arms crossed. He wore fishing clothes Elaine knew so well: the red-checkered shirt with the “Pancho” tag across his left shoulder, khakis, fishing belt & buckle, a towel hanging over a belt loop, and a topper under the belt that the maid made him so many years ago.

Both times he looked young again, his dark butch cut without the gray, and a confident smile. Elaine knew that he was OK, and again he disappeared.

Terice Richards
Author: Terice RichardsEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
I am a hospital chaplain with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. I have been writing professionally since 1981 as a radio and television news reporter, anchor and producer. I earned an M.Ed. from the University of Houston and a B.A. from UCLA. I am a certified teacher for Pre-K through 12th grade and completed the practicum for pastoral care ministry certificate from St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. I live with my family in Kingwood.

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