My sister and I took turns spending time alone with Dad while he lay in his bed, having just been admitted into home hospice. It was summer, the windows were open, and Dad would often comment about the familiar noises of construction going on at the elementary school next to the house. In his confusion, he thought it was the MacLean Brothers Construction Company he worked for many years ago. When Dad wasn’t paying attention to the noises coming in through the window, he was tapping his foot to the Cape Breton fiddle tunes of Natalie MacMaster on the CD player. He tapped his foot to the music until not long before he drew his last breath.
But now and then, Dad would stare into space. And sometimes, his facial expressions would leave me wondering what was going on, because he looked as if he was deep in the middle of a very meaningful conversation. One afternoon, thinking that since I was alone with him, I would be able to get my own little private “glimpse” into heaven, I softly whispered to him, “Dad?” Although he was able to answer me, he never seemed to leave the encounter he was apparently having. So I just ever-so-quietly whispered and asked him, “What is it you see, Dad?” Slowly he turned and gazed at me as if I had three eyeballs, cocked one eyebrow, and replied, “The ceiling!”
I remember laughing with him, but I also remember feeling as if the Lord was telling me something. I wasn’t invited into that moment. Dad was getting one-on-one time with God, and I was not invited. There must have been some last-minute business God had to do with Dad, and it was simply none of my business. I believe God is just that merciful!
So often as a nurse I share this story with the family members of my patients. So often, my Dad, gone now for 8 years, is still able to make people chuckle. So often, my patients bless me when I remember Dad.
I may not have gotten a glimpse into heaven that day, but I DO believe it was as close to heaven as one can get, without actually going. I truly believe while I held Dad’s hand, God was holding the other. I’ve never forgotten it and I’ve been able to share and comfort others with what I learned that day.
“Do you think my husband can hear me?” I am so often asked. Yes, I answer. Of course he can. But right now, he’s getting one-on-one time with Jesus. I bet he’d love it, if you would hold his hand.”
And THAT is what I believe happens, when your loved one is in a coma.