As a hospice nurse, I was at the bedside of many who crossed over to the other side.
There were more than a few who spoke with joy to those who had gone before them. I remember well the man who, in the midst of intense suffering, looked up, smiled and said, “Joe! What are you doing here?” He died shortly afterwards.
Joe was his brother, who had died several years earlier.
My cousins, John and Connie, had shared a long happy marriage. John died before Connie. Connie lived on until she was almost 100 years old. She often reflected on her memories of her life with John.
When Connie was near death, she said, “Oh I see him! I see John.” She was so happy, how could we do anything but rejoice with her!
When my sister in law died, my nephew puzzled over how she could be happy in Heaven without the family she loved so much being with her.
God then called his attention to 2 Peter 3:8, which says, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
He said, “So maybe Mama knows we are still here, but she knows we will be there in a minute.” We all experienced great joy in that revelation!
My father grew up on a farm. When he was grown, he moved to town. But he went home every week to have supper with his parents.
He had a car that had a horn that was called a “mile away horn.” He could blow the horn when he was a mile from home and it was so loud his parents could hear him coming.
He said his mother would be waiting at the gate, so glad to see him. I told him I imagined she would be at The Gate Of Heaven, waiting for him when he got there. He liked that thought!
I believe those who have gone before us are still very near, but we do not see them in the same physical way as we did. They have changed form.
We find they are within us. When I say, “As my father or mother used to say …,” their words bring them back to life.
When I pass the mirror, and I look at my reflection, I sometimes catch a glimpse of them.
When I share memories with people who made those same memories with me when we were together with my parents, they are still in the midst of us.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.” I believe those witnesses are those who have gone before us.
And I believe those “witnesses” will be eagerly waiting for us at The Gate Of Heaven. And we will be very visible to each other.
Perhaps, just as my grandmother heard my father’s mile away horn, they will hear the sound of the trumpet, announcing our approach, and they will rejoice in our homecoming.
1 Corinthians 15:51-54 says,
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory!”
And all the “witnesses” will say, “Welcome Home!”