Would my dying friend deliver my message to heaven?
Posted in , Feb 19, 2013
My friend, Loretta, was dying of stomach cancer. She had undergone a debilitating round of chemo that hadn’t worked. But she was so brave, even in the face of death. That didn’t surprise me. She was the friend who’d comforted me two years earlier, after my 21-year-old daughter, Nancy, was killed by a drunk driver.
I’d never gotten over the pain of being unable to say goodbye to my daughter. As I thought of Loretta going to heaven, I wondered if she could give Nancy a message. But what would I say? Nancy knew we loved her. To say how much we missed her would make her sad. Maybe when Loretta’s in heaven, she can just give Nancy a hug for me.
It was a crazy notion. How would I even know if Loretta could fulfill my request? It seemed inappropriate to even ask. I waited and waited, hemmed and hawed, unsure of how to even bring it up. Finally, I phoned Loretta and asked, “Can I come over?”
I could tell from Loretta’s voice that she was glad I’d offered. “Yes, please do,” she said. “I’m having a good day today.”
I saw Loretta through the storm door when I arrived, and was shocked by how thin and feeble she was. “Come on in,” she said. As I made my way to the living room, I began to have second thoughts. It would be in poor taste to ask for such a favor, I decided.
Before I could say a word, Loretta turned to me. “I have something to tell you,” she blurted, as if unable to keep a secret. “I don't want to upset you, but I’m going to see Nancy.”
I took her hand gently and smiled. ”Give her a hug for me?”
"I will," Loretta promised.
One night a few weeks later, I had the oddest dream. A young woman, dressed in blue, was walking in the countryside. She turned to face me. Nancy! That’s when I woke up. But in the darkness of the bedroom, I felt something grip my body–gently, but firm. A bear hug that warmed me from head to toe.
In the morning I got a call that Loretta had passed away in her sleep. Only then did I understand what had happened in my bed that night.
Loretta did what she promised, that didn't surprise me. Feeling Nancy hug me back? That did. The Lord knew how much I needed it. A feeling to give me comfort until I'm able to embrace Loretta and Nancy again.