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Visitation Brings Comfort After a Son’s Death

They comforted each other for as long as they could. And then one night Jack went on to heaven.

Trudy Harris

One morning, very early, the father of a child in our hospice program came to our office. He was frightened, agitated and confused and wanted to talk to someone right away. He had something important to share.

We had in our care at the time his six-year-old boy, Jack, who was the apple of his daddy’s eye. As much as everyone prayed and wished, this little one was very sick and would soon die. His mother and father, as well as his eight-year-old sister, dealt with this reality as well as they possibly could, but it was hardest for the dad.

They all talked and laughed and played board games in the bed together, and they comforted Jack and each other for as long as they could. And then one night he went on to heaven, without a whimper. His dad was more than heartbroken. His mom and sister were, too, but they dealt with it differently.

This dad had big plans for his boy. They would go to games together, play ball; he would teach Jack how to do everything and watch him grow into the man he dreamed he would become. There was no consolation for the dad. He simply could not believe his son was gone.

Jack’s sister slept on the floor in her parents’ bedroom at first, not wanting to be away from them all night long. She felt safe there. She awakened suddenly one night, the week after he died, to see Jack standing at the foot of the bed, smiling. She jumped up to awaken her father. He clearly saw Jack standing there and smiling. In some way, he understood that he had come to say goodbye and let his dad know that he was all right.

When his dad arrived at the office that morning, he wanted to tell us all about his son’s visit—and to make sure he wasn’t crazy. We assured him that he was not. He said he saw him so well and that he looked very happy. He left feeling relieved and at peace.

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