Nonbelievers may call it “bereavement hallucinations,” but Christians see a merciful God using life after life to help us heal.

Romans 8:6, “The Spirit looks forward to life and peace.”

Katherine’s dad had been so full of life. He was only 64 when he died five years ago. “It seems like only yesterday,” she says.

Still not over it, she believes she even suffers some form of PTSD. She gets upset when anything reminds her of him. Vivid memories and flashbacks make her feel like his death is happening all over again.

She and dad were close; he was the best to her and her sister.

When he went in for triple-bypass surgery, Katherine, just 27, was not expecting nor ready to live life without him. They chatted before surgery, exchanged perfunctory goodbyes. It was never intended to be their final one.

Surgery went well, but there were problems in recovery. A mild heart attack, then a second more severe one, followed by a series of other complications.

The girls were there through the entire ordeal. A couple of weeks later, they helplessly watched their dad take his last breath.

On the day of the funeral, as Katherine walked into church, something made her look up. She knows it was her dad, because she couldn’t believe what she saw. It was a cloud perfectly formed in the shape of Dad’s face! Her mom still has a picture of it.

Since then, Katherine has known Dad is constantly by her side. Once, when she was driving, she sensed that he was with her in the passenger seat. She also had a strong scent of his Aqua Velva aftershave.

Katherine’s eyes so filled with tears that she could no longer see traffic ahead of her, and she plowed into the car in front of her!

Her anger and helplessness surfaced. While in shock still in her car, she scolded Dad, whispering, “See what you’ve done! Now, help me!”

A similar story is told by a young lady named Cindy. Her dad owned a roofing company and she says that he had a distinct scent. She knows he is often with her, because she frequently smells that scent that she knows is only his.

Cindy’s mom has actually come to her in dreams several times since her death.

Mom lived with Cindy after Dad died and suffered a stroke at age 68. It affected her speech; she couldn’t speak or communicate. Her decision-making ability was also altered.

One day, Mom stopped eating and drinking; she had lost her will to live. Taken to the hospital, an IV was administered. An MRI and other tests revealed nothing to help with treatment. It became clear that her body was just shutting down. She died a few days later at age 70.

She had been a wonderful mom, totally dedicated as a housewife, except for the short time she worked as a bookkeeper for her husband’s company.

About a month after her death, in a dream, Cindy’s mom opened a door. And there she was, standing in front of Aunt Claire, who had died a few years prior to her. Mom had a glow and soft smile and was dressed in a beautiful nightgown that seemed to be illuminated. Cindy says it was so like Mom to appear in a nightgown, since that’s how she liked to spend most of her day. Neither Mom nor Aunt Claire said anything.

Cindy has not been particularly upset about her mom’s death, but thinks Mom wants her to know she is happy.

“Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26

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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