Rev. E. Anderson
SNAPSHOT FROM THE OTHER SIDE
Judy Lee Green
And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me” – Hebrews 2:13
My granddaddy came to see me the night before my mama died. I was so happy to see him that I gushed like the pump in the yard of the tenant house where he lived in Georgia when I was a little girl. It had been years since I had seen my granddaddy not since his funeral.
“Granddaddy, what a surprise!” I called out to him. “Where have you been? You must be doing well; you look great!” He looked rested, relaxed, and young. “I’m so glad to see you. I can’t believe it’s you. Is it really you?” I prattled on.
Granddaddy beamed as though he couldn’t smile big enough. I sensed his presence, as if I were standing next to a warm heater on a cold day. He hugged me close, and I felt sheltered in his loving arms.
“Granddaddy, why are you here? You’ve been gone so long.”
“I wanted to tell you that everything is going to be all right,” he said.
“Of course, it is,” I agreed, always the eternal optimist. “Everything’s great, even better now that you’re here.”
He glowed with delight. “It’s going to be okay,” he soothed.
“Everything’s going to be okay.” Over and over he assured me while he petted me like a child. “Everything’s going to be all right. You’re strong,” he insisted. “You can handle this, and I’ll be here with you. You’re a strong woman.”
I was so happy to see him that I didn’t ask what he was talking about. Still smiling blissfully, he said, “We’ll all be here with you.”
I suddenly realized that my granddaddy was not alone. My grandmother, who died when my mother was seven years old, was with him. My daddy, who had been dead for eleven years, was there. Sick when he died of cancer, he now looked young and healthy. My great-aunt and uncle and other aunts, uncles, cousins, and people familiar and unfamiliar were crowded around. All were joyous and wearing idyllic smiles of eternal blessedness.
As my eyes scanned the relatives who crowded around my granddaddy as though they were having a snapshot made at a family reunion, I saw my mama on the edge of the crowd. I woke up instantly and looked at the clock. It was 2 a.m. I felt wonderful, totally wrapped in love and extremely blessed that my granddaddy had paid me a visit. I did not allow myself to question, nor did it register, that everyone in my dream was dead, except my mama.
I later learned that at the same time that my granddaddy came to see me in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, my mama, who lived on an Alabama mountaintop and had no apparent health problems, sat up in bed, turned on the light, and insisted on planning her funeral. Though Ben, her husband, objected and grumbled that he didn’t want to talk about it, especially in the middle of the night, she was adamant that he listen to what she wanted done upon her death.
She told him where she wanted to be buried, what she wanted to wear, who she wanted to speak, the songs she wanted sung, and those she wanted notified. She even made him promise to put hay bales around her grave so that her funeral would be like a family reunion and everyone could sit and talk and laugh and visit with one another. She cautioned him not to waste a lot of money on flowers.
When she was sure that Ben understood her wishes, they lay down to sleep. When my brother Ronnie called later that day to tell me that our mama had dropped dead of a massive heart attack while frying cabbage and making cornbread, I suddenly realized that the dream had been a premonition. “I know,” I said, when he shared the shocking news.
“Granddaddy was here. He told me.”
I knew her spirit had been whisked away for a family portrait to be sent to me in a dream, then returned for a few hours until the exact time of her departure.
I knew why my granddaddy had come, why all my relatives had appeared in my dream, why they were so happy. They were anxiously awaiting the arrival of my mama. They were ecstatically looking forward to seeing her again after many years.
My grandparents were going to be reunited with their baby daughter, my grandmother with the child that she left at a young age, my aunt with a sister that she never met on earth, my daddy with his sweetheart of forty-six years. He had loved her since he first saw her playing paper dolls in a dry creek bed when she was a little girl. My mama’s people were gathered to joyfully escort her to her heavenly home and celebrate her homecoming.
My relatives wanted me to know that they loved me, and that they were with me, surrounding me, supporting me. They wanted me to know that everything was going to be all right, that they would comfort and console me in my grief.
To this day I have not lost sight of their loving message. Often I replay the video of my dream and gaze upon the family snapshot that my granddaddy sent to me. It brings me comfort to know that someday we will all be reunited, and I too will be included in the picture from the other side.