What I am about to relate is not a product of belief. It is a product of experience. I present it to you as pure unadulterated fact.
My first son Tommy was twenty-three days old when my father Thomas Orkney was killed. He fell from a truck in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, on May 11, 1956, and was instantly killed. Six months later, when my husband Milan Pecka was working the 12:00 to 8:00 A.M. shift, I was awakened at three o’clock one morning by my infant son’s crying.
Assuming he was wet or hungry, I arose and stumbled toward the baby’s crib across the room from my bed. To my amazement I saw that the old-fashioned, black, enameled, wooden rocking chair at the foot of my bed was rocking to and fro. I wondered if we were experiencing a minor earth tremor.
As I approached the crib I distinctly heard my father’s voice say, “Don’t pick him up, Barbara you’ll only spoil him. He’s neither wet nor hungry. He’s teething and that makes him fussy, Let him cry a little and he’ll go back to sleep.”
This scared the daylights out of me. In one leap I was back in my bed with the cover my head. Was I losing my mind? But that was my father’s voice-as clear and normal as if he were physically alive and in the room with me. In the years that followed I had two more children, Charlie and Therese, and then on November 22, 1967, my husband Milan Pecka died.
In March 1968 I remarried and then had, in addition to my own three children, three foster children.Gary Rose and Connie and Lori Sidwaski. We rented an old farmshouse on the highway between Raymond and Pe Ell, Washington. The house had not been occupied for fifteen years when we moved in, and we spent time fixing it and putting in a garden.
One evening when the garden had been in about six weeks, the children and I were home alone; my husband was working the swing swift, At about nine O’clock Gary, fifteen, went into the darkness of the kitchen for a drink of water.
“Mom, come quick! Hurry!” I heard him call. I put down my knitting and went to where Gary stood transfixed by something he saw outside the window. We had a lot of wildlife around the old farmhouse and I assumed he was watching a coyote, a deer, an elk, or something of the kind. “Look, Mom,” he whispered,” out there by the garden.” As I peered out I could see the moon shining through the tress in the orchard.
And right at the end of the new garden stood the form of a man, wearing a robe. It appeared translucent in the moonlight. “That’s just my dad, Gary, come to see how the garden’s growing ,” I said. The apparition immediately disappeared and as I turned to leave the kitchen I wondered why I had said that.
For several months following that incident the other five children made it a practice to get out of bed after dark and traipse down to the kitchen for a drink of water, hoping to get a glimpse of “Grandpa” in the garden , but he never returned.
The following year we bought a thirty-seven-acre farm closer to the town of Raymond where my husband worked. One July evening in 1969 after my husband had gone to work and all the chores were done I was playing the game “ESP”
with the children. My younger son Charlie suddenly rose from the table and walked to the center of the living room. After standing there for a few seconds, he asked, “Mom, where’s Grandpa?”
I explained for the umpteenth time that his grandpa had died before he was born and, as far as I knew, was in heaven.
“But you say he’ll be with us always,” he retorted. “Could he be right here in the room with us?” “I really don’t know, son, I replied. “I suppose he could.” “How would I know if he was here in the room?”
Becoming impatient with his line of questions, I retorted , “Well, Charlie, I suppose you could ask him if he is here.”
And he did, Gathering all the courage he could muster, eight-year-old Charlie, Hands on hips, asked, “Grandpa, are you in this room with us?”
Nothing happened, except a chill seemed to pass over us.”Grandpa,” Charlie demanded, “if you’re in this room with us I want you to prove it. Now!”
At the opposite end of the living room was a plate glass window, eight feet wide and four feet High. I had hung curtains, with a ruffle across the top, at the window. As soon as Charlie had uttered his challenge the ruffle began to quiver.
It quivered progressively across the window from left to right. Instantaneously there were five children in my lap. The card table lay on its side, having been knocked over in the melee. All six of us witnessed the answer Charlie’s grandpa have him.
He was there! I do not know what to expect in the future. But I do know there is life beyond the end of life here on earth, because I have had experiences that proves it to me. And I even have five witnesses to one of these experiences.
Barbara L. Pecka