My Father's Story - Part 5
July 5, 2020
A little later in the morning, my mother's brother Gilles - who is close to 95 years old - called her, wanting to share a dream he'd just had which left him a bit shaken up. As with my mother, this uncle is not in the habit of remembering his dreams, but this one was impossible to ignore since it was filled with God's presence. This is his account of the dream:
Pierre and I are standing on a kind of promontory, admiring an incredible panoramic view of a lush, green forest spanning as far as the eye can see, with a great river flowing from north to south.
There are other people around us sitting on a thin layer of moss covering the rock. I point out to Pierre that if there were to be a landslide, all these people would be plunged over the edge into the void below.
We then come down from the outcrop and begin to make our way up a great meadow covered with snow. The snow was dazzlingly white and the sky was the most incredible blue. Remarkably, the light emanating from the sky, and the snow did not blind us.
Pierre, who at this point looked like a silhouette or a kind of shadow, suddenly jumps astride a ski-doo, fires it up, blasts off full throttle, and soon disappears into a surreal, unearthly kind of light.
I woke up with a start around 7:05 am with the vivid impression that Pierre had just died. I got up bleary-eyed to join Suzanne [Gilles' wife] who was reading in the living room. I told her that Pierre had probably just passed away.
About 20 minutes later, I received an email from Agathe [my mother] that she had received a call at 7:00 am to inform her of Pierre’s death.
What an incredible dream! The pictures above can't possibly do justice to it! Marcel and I still experience the presence of God every time we think about it. It is so consoling and has given us complete assurance that my father is on his way to the beatific vision. There is no doubt about it at all! And the dream shows God's delicate touch towards my mother by having her own brother - and one of my father's favourite brother-in-law - be the recipient of this heavenly message. I don't believe it would have had the same impact on her, or any of us, had I been given the dream.
So, what does the dream tell us? It is clear that my uncle Gilles and my father are standing on the Mountain of the Lord, which is the meeting place with God. The view is breathtakingly beautiful, green, vibrant, and full of life. The flowing river is of course the River of Life, because "There is a river whose streams bring joy to God's city." (Psalm 46:4)
Then there is the snow-covered meadow. Gilles and my father walk there, so there is a sense that they are being led to that place. Snow will often represent purity, righteousness, and God's holy presence, but it can also represent God's grace and mercy as we find in Isaiah 6:18 "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." The snow therefore, symbolizes that my father is being offered God's mercy. At this point, my uncle notices that my father is but a shadow, which points to his life having come to an end. This also echoes C.S. Lewis' outlook that our whole life here on earth is lived in the "shadowlands" and that only in heaven can we find the really Real and Solid. Then my father gets on a snowmobile and just takes off. The funny thing here is that I can't recall my father ever having been on a ski-doo and least of all driving one! It was never "his thing". But in this case, he very deliberately jumps on and takes off into the dazzling light, which is the light of God and His Kingdom. This means that he has "chosen" the snowmobile, a powerful "vehicle" to get him from one point to another. The symbolism indicates that my father is now moving forward with great ease and speed by a supernatural power, in a new, refreshing season of purity and clarity, which is also filled with God's grace and mercy. And, not surprisingly, that is what purgatory is all about! He made a choice for God and he is now journeying into the very fullness of eternal life towards the pure light of Paradise.
Later that same day my mother received a call from my father's other favourite in-law. Every morning upon awakening, Hector is in the habit of reaching for a prayer-book that he keeps on his night table. That morning, he reached for it as usual and opened it up randomly only to discover that the prayer on the page was a prayer for the deceased. He prayed it, sensing that he was praying this for my father. He said this happened at about 7:00 am. Of course, his sense was confirmed a bit later with my mother's email.
A few weeks later as a beautiful and providential postscript, my mother's granddaughter-in-law gave her the news that on the morning of my father's death, at pretty much 7:00 am, she took a pregnancy test which came out positive! So, as the Lord was confirming the end of one soul's earthly journey, He was also confirming that another soul had begun its first stage in its own life journey.
From all that was related to us, it seems evident that my father passed away at about 7:00 o'clock in the morning. Since the Lord went to such great lengths to ensure that we knew that, it's clear that God was communicating something of importance to us. In the book of Genesis, we are told that God took 6 days to make all of creation but that on the 7th day, He rested from all of His toil and labour. Besides all the graces God wanted to make us aware of, we believe that He also wanted us to know that my father died at 7:00 am, because it was the appointed time for him to begin his own eternal rest.
It's been quite a journey for Marcel and I. The graces have been so abundant. None the less the journey has been one requiring much faith; one that was far from easy. We are at peace though, knowing that my father is now living in the fullness of the truth and that we will one day see him as our turn to leave this world comes. It is beyond doubt that God brought us to Ottawa to fulfill a purpose, with respect to my father's spiritual journey. We realize that that mission has come to an end. But of course, we still pray for my father, sometimes joking that with every Divine Mercy chaplet or mass that we offer up, we are putting another tank of gas in his snowmobile, helping him along towards the beatific vision! He is now safe and happy and full of joy.
What 30+ years of discussions and evangelization and apologetics between my father, Marcel and I couldn't do, the Lord accomplished in a relatively short period of time. My father was never an unbeliever. He believed in God, but as so many of his generation, he was profoundly affected by all the turmoil and abuses in the Church. He was more of an agnostic and couldn't understand how Marcel and I could claim to know without any doubt and have such a strong belief in God and in His Church. But now, my father understands everything and sees everything in the pure light of Absolute Truth and Love. He has seen Jesus face-to-face. I do wonder what they talked about...