Feature Story

A Grain Of Sand

Me and My Dad
All The Riches Of This Earth
My Heroes
Lake Huron Sunset

A Grain Of Sand

It was another cold day in Michigan and the last thing I wanted to do go outside and do anything. The e-mail on my computer was doing it's best to keep my mind busy, stay warm, even providing a smile every now and then.

The serenity of the moment was not to be long lived and was quickly broken by the ringing of the phone on the desk beside me. Picking up the phone the Caller ID said UNAVAILABLE, which meant there was a good chance it was my younger brother Fred calling on his cell phone.

For the first time in my life I hoped it wasn't my brother calling, it wasn't his voice I feared, it was the message it may carry, a message on the condition of our father and so far hadn't promised much hope for his future.

It had only been two weeks since I left my brother in the 80 degree, sunny weather of Florida, while I made my way back home to my family and to work. The job Fred had stayed to do was one of the most important of his life. He stayed to be there for our Mom and make sure Dad received the best care they could give him while he was in the hospital.

The doctors kept telling us dad's chance of recovery weren't very good. Only two weeks earlier dad's kidneys were shutting down, pneumonia filled one lung and the other had collapsed.

We would never quit, and my brother Fred tirelessly led the charge, getting up to the hospital every day at 6 AM to meet with the doctors, spending most of the day there with mom. then returning at night to be with him as visiting hours ended.

As I answered the phone saying, "Hey Fred!" I received no reply. I asked, "Fred is that you?" With a deep breath, he replied a simple, Yea-----it's me.

"Oh dear God!" I said to myself. I waited, then asked, "Is Dad alright?" The reply came with another deep breath. "Fred, is Dad alright?" Yea Bill, give me a second, as he took another deep breath, "Dad's alright!" "Are you alright?" I asked. I am OK he said, just give me a minute. Please!

As Fred regained his composure, he said, "you are not going to believe this." "What?" I asked. Fred went on to tell me a story that would help to explain the deep breaths he was taking.

Fred asked if I remembered how a few weeks ago dad couldn't even sit up on his own. I said yes, he then detailed how his functions had improved slightly, but they still weren't good. Today, he said, dad was different, and it started when he walked into his room.

When I got to dad's room, there was dad sitting on the edge of his hospital bed, swinging his feet and acting like a happy little kid.

"Bill, I am not kidding! Dad was giggling like a little boy who was just given a new puppy!"

"Why?" I asked.

Dad told me he said he saw God today. God came into his room and told him he was going to be alright!

Tell me the story, I asked.

Dad said this morning he was in his room and a nurse was checking his signs, when all of a sudden there was a bright light, he saw it coming down the hall then it came into his room. He said the light filled the room and dad said it made him feel peace like nothing he had ever felt. Dad said God spoke to him telling him he would be alright. Fred then said there was a nurse with him the whole time, asking him questions about what he saw and heard.

I asked, "Can I talk to him?" Fred walked back into the room and told Dad it was me and said how I wanted to talk to him, asking if it was OK.

Dad picked up the phone, saying, "Hi Bill!" "Wow Dad, you sound great!" I said. "Tell me what happened today," I asked.

He repeated the story about the light, telling how a lady came into his room, took his hand then led him out of his room to another place, he said. I think we went down into the basement, but I am not sure. When we got to the room God was there and beauty of his light filled the room. God never spoke in voice he explained, but he could hear every word in his thoughts.

God then picked up a grain of sand and told how each grain of sand was each moment of his life, telling how each thing he had done in his life was a grain of sand, and each grain of sand led to the next grain of sand, telling both the good and the bad things of his life, not leaving out one detail. When God got done telling him all he had done in life, Dad said God told him, this is where he is now, as he looked down, he was standing on a pile of sand. God told him how each action had led him to where he was right now. Saying he had done all he needed to do and that he would be all right. He needed to do nothing else in life, God told him he had done all he needed him to do.

Dad then told me how the lady took his hand and led him back to his room, he said he could tell she was very beautiful, but he couldn't see her face or her eyes.

As she went to leave him, she turned toward him and he said she was the most beautiful lady he had ever seen. I asked if she was an angel? He said I didn't see any wings, but I can tell you her face carried all the beauty of the world. I have never seen such beauty in my life, he said.

Dad told me, "Bill, my whole life I believed in God, but not seeing, you sometimes have your doubts. But after today, if God calls me home tomorrow, it will be alright. I am not afraid because I know he is always with me.

The day my father talked to God would be a turning point on his trip back home to all of us. Two weeks later he would be given an 80th birthday party by his many nurses, and a few weeks after that he would come home again. Home again to add a few more grains of sand to the many sand castles of our lives.

Wm. J. Garvey

Note: My dad died this spring at his home in Florida.

Please don't be sad for our family, my dad got to live 14 months after we were told he wouldn't make it out of the hospital.

During one of the many trips we had back to the hospital, we found out our dad had lung cancer. My dad Never gave up and in the days, weeks and months before his death he had the chance to say good-bye to many of his friends and family. When it was his time to go, he simply went back to bed and died in his sleep.

He is now, "Home Again"

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8 responses

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (21 Nov 2008):

    Beautiful and thought provoking story and so good to hear your father was able to celebrate his 80th birthday with the gift of the miracle that he experienced. Well done and I will vote!

  • Michael Adams

    Michael Adams gave props (24 Nov 2008):

    Wow! almost tears to the eyes here. Glad that he was content with his life and that he was ready to pass. Good luck to you and your family.

  • Rob Roy

    Rob Roy (Deleted) said (25 Nov 2008):

    Thanks for sharing, Bill! Gripping and inspiring story.
    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (20 Dec 2008):

    Wonderful story...and...Oh...Yeah! It rocks!

  • peggy gardner

    peggy gardner gave props (26 Dec 2008):

    thank you for taking the time to share this story....there is a lump in my heart, not of sadness, but of what a wonderful son you were to him....and now what a wonderful father you are to your son....kudos...and thanks.

  • Janice Mezzacappa

    Janice Mezzacappa (Deleted) gave props (1 Jan 2009):

    Thanks Bill for sharing an empowering story and it hit home with me. He is also smiling down upon you and your wonderful images!

  • Donna Mullins

    Donna Mullins   gave props (20 Aug 2011):

    My Dad also had a "visitor" 3 days before he passed away. It was a wonderful time to share with him. Wonderful story. Brought back great memories of my Dad. Voted.

  • Betty Maxey

    Betty Maxey   gave props (22 Aug 2014):

    For sure, inspiring !!!

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