Double Blessings

Nine years ago today, I was getting out of the shower when I heard a strange sound coming from the bedroom. I hurried in to check on my husband and discovered his breathing had changed dramatically. Once before I had heard his breathing sound like that.

About a week and a half earlier, Jack had been hospitalized but was expected to be released the next day. Our priest came for a visit, and as he reached the door on his way out, Jack started labored breathing, his breath loud and irregular, with pauses that made me anxious to hear the next breath. Father Chip recognized this as a sign of approaching death, and he returned to Jack’s bedside.

“Jack, you’re fixing to take a trip,” he said. “Do you have your bags packed? Are you ready to go?”

Jack nodded and pointed to an empty chair on the other side of the bed. “I’m ready,” he answered. “God has been sitting right there, and we’ve been talking about it.” He was totally calm and at peace. After he said that, his breathing returned to normal.

His breath did not become labored and irregular like that again until the morning I heard him from the shower. I called for my sister to come to the bedroom, then I phoned hospice to tell them about this change. The person who answered the phone said he would send a nurse right away. The nurse called and said she would be there in a few minutes but suggested we give Jack morphine in the meantime. About this time, the hard breathing stopped.

My sister reached behind her for the morphine, filled the dropper, and turned to release a drop into Jack’s mouth. “Lillie,” she said, “he’s not breathing.” He had gone to Heaven in those few minutes, so calmly and peacefully that we hadn’t been aware when it happened.

I remembered back a few days to when he had exhibited the same breathing he did just before he passed. What a blessing God had given Father Chip and me to hear from Jack’s own mouth that he was ready to meet the Lord, and indeed, had been visiting with Him already!

A blessing, a miracle, a sign and wonder of the Lord!

The second blessing came not long after Jack’s funeral. I dreamed that I was standing at the kitchen sink. Something caught my attention and caused me to look over my shoulder. There stood Jack—young, healthy, and strong with a huge smile. He radiated pure joy. Suddenly I was in bed and Jack was standing over me, smiling and handsome and oh-so-happy. He never moved or said a word, but his smile and radiant joy said it all. How can I be sad when he is so filled with joy!

Another blessing, miracle, and sign and wonder of the Lord!

I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.

Ezekiel 34:26

Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Galatians 3:5-6

How great are his signs,

    how mighty his wonders!

Daniel 4:3

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, thank You for blessing me with these miracles, signs and wonders. Although I still miss Jack every day, I am so happy for him to be in Heaven and filled with the joy I saw in him in that dream. His peace and readiness when You called him home have given me so much comfort. I give You praise and honor and glory for all Your blessings to me, especially giving Jack and me forty-five wonderful years together. Keep me always mindful of Your goodness; never let me take Your blessings for granted. In the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, now and forever. Amen.

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