Just like many of you reading this story, I always thought I believed in heaven, hell and an afterlife of some sort. It wasn’t until my grandmother passed away that I can say I am sure there is a heaven, and afterlife!
My grandmother lost her battle with cancer on December 17, 2004, 6 1/2 years after her diagnosis. I can still remember driving in bitter cold December to the Altoona Hospital to see her the Sunday before she passed. I’d just gotten out of the hospital from giving birth to y son via a c-section on November 29. I’d only been out of the hospital fifteen days. When my husband, son and I arrived at the hospital, Gram was in and out of consciousness. As she lay in her hospital bed awake for a brief moment, she held out her arms as if to hold my son. Knowing she wanted to hold him but was unable to, I held Bobby out to her and suggested she hold his foot and she did until she fell back to sleep. We didn’t stay long. When my aunt and uncle arrived, I said goodbye to her. She hugged me and ran her hand through my long hair. That’s the last time I saw her alive.
Fast forward to October of 2005: My parents were both about to turn sixty. I came up with the idea for a surprise party at a local restaurant. the dinner was held in October, one month after Mom’s September birthday and one month before Dad’s November birthday. I made sure to bring my digital camera and took pictures of everyone seated at two long tables. I came home and downloaded the pictures to my computer, and took the digital card to be developed at a local photo shop. When I reviewed the photos on my computer I noticed something unusual in the background of one picture. It looked like the image of something or someone in the background. I emailed the photo to my sisters, my mom and my aunts to ask if anyone else saw it and could figure out what it was. It wasn’t until I picked up the prints and laid them on my kitchen counter that I saw her. The image of my grandmother, facing the camera, her short salt and pepper hair framing her face, she was seated with arm bent, hand on her chin the way she always sat for a photo.
For me, seeing her smiling face on the wall of that restaurant affirmed my belief that there truly is life after death. She was there for our family celebration. I know she is with God and she is happy. I saw the smile on her face.
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