Today my father, Joseph L. Collins, passed away, but just moments before he did, I had a great and rare blessing, and I would like to share it with you.
My father was 84, and had been in the hospital a week, before being moved to rehab. However, he took a sudden turn for the worse early yesterday morning, with pneumonia and organ failure.
I spoke to him yesterday, and told him goodbye, and that I loved him, over the phone. I could hear him trying to reply, thru his oxygen mask.
My brother, Clay, flew down yesterday to be with our father, in Tampa, and hold vigil.
I spoke to my brother about 10am this morning, and he said that my dad wasn’t really conscious, but the nurses said that my dad was aware of those around him, and to keep talking to him.
I asked my brother to hold the phone to my father’s ear, intending to tell him that it was okay to move on, and that I loved him. The arrival of doctors & nurses interrupted this, and my brother said he would call me back.
The minutes turned to hours, and I heard nothing.
But, I felt a strong call to the porch, to sit & rock & survey the Woods.
Almost immediately, I very strongly felt my father’s presence. I didn’t know if he had passed away already or not, but I could feel him standing there in front of me, and that there was a Divine Presence there with him, as if it was behind him. He was just radiating great Love.
I could not exactly see my dad… it was as if he stood in front of a very brilliant Light, so I could only see my father’s silhouette. That Light, I knew with absolute certainty, was the Light of God, and it was so bright I could not look upon it. But it was much more than Light… it was tremendous Love, Joy, and Peace.
My father spoke to me, then. I could hear his words, in his own voice. He said he loved me, and then he gave me an incredible hug: he enveloped me in Love; he wrapped me in Love like a warm blanket on a freezing cold night. It was such an amazing feeling, and really, there aren’t words for it.
We often say, “God is Love,” and the few times I have been so touched in this way, it has brought tears, as it did today… but they were not tears of sadness at the realization that my father was passing away, but tears of overwhelming Joy & overflowing Love. My heart was so full of Love that the extra Love came out as silent, effortless, tears, and I found myself smiling, to see my father with the Divine. I believe, and my experience has been, that God, or the Divine Presence, is Love, is Joy, is Peace… it is all those, and much more, and those were with my father, because God was with my father, when he came to say goodbye to me.
I told my dad I loved him, and always had, no matter the distance that had been between us. He asked for my forgiveness, and I told him he’d had that long ago. He said he was sorry for the past, and I said I was, too. He asked what I’d done to my shoulder, and I told him, and he said I lived in a beautiful place. I told him he was welcome anytime.
Then he scolded me a little, noticing how very ill I am, and saying I hadn’t told him just how sick I am. I asked for his help then, explaining that my work here is not finished yet.
“God is with you now,” I said, and I asked him to touch me with healing & strength. I closed my eyes, and felt him touch me, touch my heart, and my heart & soul overflowed with radiant Love & Joy again. Tears streamed down my cheeks, and I felt myself smiling what I know must have been the most transcendent smile of my life, because when my dad touched me, I felt God touch me, too.
We both said that we’d always Love each other, and that Love never dies.
I could feel him being pulled away then. It was time for him to go Home, to go with God, and I could only feel peace and joy to feel him go.
I was still filled with the “afterglow” of this experience, when, within just a minute or two, my brother called. Our father was still alive, but just barely, and my brother was going to hold the phone up to his ear as he’d said he would.
I hesitantly explained that I no longer needed to talk to our dad, as I already had, and a bit of what I had experienced. I explained that I’ve had other experiences like this, since I was a child, starting with my grandma’s passing.
Within a few minutes, my father passed away. The nurses said they’d never seen anyone go so very peacefully.
My heart aches now for my brother & sister-in-law, my niece & nephew, and all those who will be mourning his passing.
But, because he stopped by here on his way, I got a rare glimpse of the Loving Arms of the Divine that are now holding my father tight. I know that he is now wrapped in that same Love and Joy that brushed me briefly, and he is experiencing it in a much, much deeper way than I did. I cannot be sad for him.
He has gone Home.
– This post is dedicated with great Love to my nephew, Clay, Jr., and my niece, Erin, who are mourning their Pa-Pa very deeply. He will always be watching out for you, and he will never, ever, stop Loving you. Neither will your Aunt Kelly.