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“He Came to Comfort Me”

She felt her grandfather’s presence from far away, and she knew—without having to be told—that he had died.

Dear Trudy,

When I was a freshman in college, I would sometimes go to my father’s office in the English department—he was a professor there—to do my homework.

On October 23, I was doing my homework when I suddenly smelled my grandfather. I remember thinking that it was two months to the day before his birthday, December 23. A little while later there was a knock on the office door and I got up to answer it.

It was the campus operator. She said that my father had an emergency phone call from Savannah, Georgia, where my grandparents and uncle and aunt lived. I immediately sensed that my grandfather, who had previously suffered a heart attack, had died. My father came into his office shortly afterward and I knew.

My grandfather, Pop, and I had always shared a very special relationship. I was his daughter’s daughter and the youngest of four grandchildren. He always spoiled me, and I doted on him, especially as he became somewhat frail with advancing age.

As a child, I often traveled with my mother down to Savannah to visit my grandparents, and Pop had always given me his unconditional love.

On that fateful day, October 23, when we got to my grandparents’ house, I saw that Pop had moved my picture, placing it in such a way that it was facing him as he sat in his favorite chair. I believe he knew his health wasn’t good and that he was not going to be around for long. 

I firmly believe that Pop came to see me and maybe even to comfort me that morning so many years ago. I have never forgotten the events of that morning, and I have always cherished them. I have told others about his visit; some people have been amazed, while others have scoffed at me. But I am convinced that I will see him again someday.

Gail Shelley Duncan

Hi Gail,

Thank you for the beautiful letter about your grandfather. Your love for him comes straight through.

God often tends to our hearts by allowing us to experience that which He knows will bring us the greatest comfort. I have seen this time and again at the bedside of patients preparing to go home to Him. Just the right person stops by, or someone will speak a word of comfort that they had never used before and it is the perfect thing for the dying person to hear.

Our creator knows and loves us so well, and when we are walking with Him, we hear His voice and experience the things He places before us to bring us peace.

The aroma of your grandfather was your gift; how wonderful for you. I often stop at a tobacco shop, step into the back room where men are trying different tobaccos and search for the old-fashioned Beechnut blend my Dad used. It brings back wonderful memories of him.

There is a very special relationship between a granddaughter and a grandfather, and it is evident he had that with you. He turned your picture toward his chair so that he could see you all the time, soak in your love for him and, I’ll bet, pray for you and the future he knew he would not be here for. I am sure he knew you would understand just that.

Hold on to the events of that morning and thank God for them; you just may experience them again one day.

Blessings to you and yours,
Trudy Harris

Trudy gets so many questions and stories of end-of-life experiences from Guideposts readers, we decided to make her responses a regular feature on her blog. If you have a story about a “glimpse of heaven,” please share it with us. Send it to

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