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When I was twelve years old, my father, Paul walker, passed away after being ill for many months. The first night after his death in October 1941, my mother suggested I sleep with her. She did not want to be alone and I, too, felt the need of companionship and comfort.
After Mother finally had fallen asleep, I lay staring into the darkness, trying to understand what had happened, and why.
Suddenly I felt the presence of my father so strongly I sat up. He was standing at the foot of the bed. He smiled and said, “Don’t let your mother cry. Make her understand I am much better off where I am now. I have no more pain, and although I no longer will be with you physically, I shall watch over you as long as you need me.”
I started to get out of bed but he held up his hand and said, ” No, you cannot touch me. Just know that I am here. Help your mother to understand. I lay back down and fell asleep.
At the funeral, and later, as the casket was lowered into the grave at Grangeville, Idaho, I watched friends and relatives crying. I wanted to say, “Don’t cry, he isn’t down there. He’s right here! “Later that Fall, when I rode home from school one day on my bicycle, I saw my father sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch.
I jumped from the bicycle and started to run toward him. Once more he raised his hand and said, “No, you cannot touch me. Do not try; it would only disappoint you and make you sad. I’m just visiting a few moments.”
He smiled and was gone. During the next eighteen years I grew up, got married, and had three children. My father helped me overcome many problems during these years, and when I would feel a little sad because he never had met the fine man I married, nor seen his only grandchildren, I would feel him near, and he would whisper, “I know. I see them.”
In January 1961, my mother visited us unexpectedly because she ” had a feeling” she must see me right away. One evening we talked about Dad, as she was thinking sadly of all the things she could have done to make his life a little easier and more pleasant.
As I had done many times over the years, I assured her she had made him happy and in no way could she have changed things. Finally, I told of seeing him and the words he had said to me . To my surprise she did not disbelieve me.
She wiped away her tears and said she felt relieved and happy. That night I again lay thinking long after everyone was asleep. Suddenly there was an urgent rustling in the room, and someone shook me. Frightened, I sat up. There was my father!
He said, “You can’t go to sleep yet! I must tell you-I cannot stay any longer; I must go now. I have other work to do, and my work here is finished . I love all of you, but I must go on! With that, there was a blinding white flash, which turned to sky-blue, and he was gone.
He had stayed with us, helping us all the years we needed him. I do not know what “work” he has yet to do, but I do know there is life after death. My father told me.
Joan L. Matthews
Garden Grove, California