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The Night Visitor


When I was a kid, I overheard my mother and aunt talking about seeing ghosts and other strange phenomenon they had experienced. At first, I didn't really understand it, but as the years went by, I began to sense things whether it be a flash out of the corner of my eye, hearing footsteps on the porch, or seeing my two-year-old daughter talking to "a woman in a long black dress with lots of buttons" that wasn't there. But nothing prepared me for what happened when my father-in-law, Dean, suddenly suffered a heart attack at his home in Piedmont, Ohio in 1981.

Dean's wife, four sons, daughter and their families couldn't see the world without this vibrant man, always the life of the party, always telling jokes, always pulling pranks and just being plain ornery. He made each of us feel special. My husband, Denny, the oldest son, desperately wanted to spend time with his father in the hospital. Unfortunately, he had a bad cold and couldn't see his Dad for a week. When I followed Denny into his hospital room, Dean greeted us with jokes about the cute nurses. Maybe he would be alright, I thought.

I didn't look at Dean as I sat down in the chair at the foot of the bed. It was only after I looked up did I see the purple cross on his forehead. I sat transfixed staring at it while he laughed and talked to Denny. Suddenly, this irrepressible feeling of grief engulfed me. I knew he was going to die. I could no longer hold back the tears and lowered my eyes. When I finally looked up again, it was gone.

The next few days passed quickly and the rest of family watched as Dean got better. There was even talk of him coming home from the hospital. Then it happened. The fatal heart attack hit Dean around 2 A.M. On a cold January night. I got the call before Denny got home from his afternoon shift at the local coal company. I hated to tell him the awful news and I watched as the color drained out of his face while he got ready to go to the hospital with his family. I stayed home with our 4-month-old daughter, Faith, and asked myself over and over - why me? Why did I have to know?

But I knew the answer to that question. I felt guilty for not being able to share what I knew with my husband and his family, but they didn't believe in that sort of thing. Then the unexpected happened again. One evening, after the funeral, around 9 P.M., Denny said he was going up to bed. As I sat in the chair watching television holding Faith, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. When I turned my head, I saw Dean, wearing his familiar plaid short-sleeved shirt, standing at the foot of the stairs in the other room.

I stared and for a minute my heart burst with joy - he's back! But I knew better and grief washed over me in waves. As quickly as the grief came a tremendous feeling of peace took its place. I felt no fear at all. He stood with his hand on the banister and smiled at me. Then in my head, I heard him say, "I'm just going to say good-bye..." Then he started to walk up the stairs and out of sight. I sat there for a good while unable to move holding my daughter close to my heart. I could feel love all around me.

Time seemed to stop for a while. When I finally got up, I put Faith to bed and went to check on Denny. He looked so peaceful. After I came back down stairs, I sat down in the chair, trying to make sense of what had just happened. I kept looking in the other room at the stairs, hoping to see him again. I never did.

Twenty years later, I once again experienced an unexplained phenomenon. My mother and I received word from the hospital that my father had suffered a debilitating stroke that morning in February 2001. We rushed to the hospital to find Dad unresponsive and dying. As we sat in silence, heads lowered in prayer beside him, he suddenly sat up in bed, holding out his arms, as if reaching for someone. His eyes reflected the sheer joy of seeing someone he longed to see. At that moment I wished I could see who it was. Then he began calling my dead brother's name, Tim.

I knew he had come to take Dad to heaven. He would suffer no more. I told Dad to lie down and as quickly as it happened, it was over. Mom said she heard me tell him to lie down, but wondered what I was talking about. She didn't see it, but she felt strange none the less.

"I believe you, honey," Mom said sadly. "I just wish I could have seen Tim, too..."

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, BYLUYSTER, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments but I won't participate in the discussion.

Athena (9 stories) (222 posts)
17 years ago (2007-08-17)
Brenda your story comforts me and strengthens my conviction in our souls completeness after death! 😁I often wonder if the dead are really bound by how they looked in life. It seems that even when they show themselves to strangers it is important to look the way they did in life. Why do you think this is?
Abby (710 posts)
17 years ago (2007-08-14)
Dear Brenda,

I do take into consideration and also respect that you have chosen not to participate in the discussion.

I appreciate you taking the time to write and submit your lovely story.

According to your story it appears that you are sensitive to those who are about to pass or cross over. As for the purple cross that would be an interpretation that is best left up to you. I do believe each person possesses their own way of decoding messages or what others may call paranormal messages. The decoder to the interpretation of these messages is based on the individual's own belief system and life experiences. Each symbol and sign has a different meaning to each individual, unless they have same or similar belief systems and life experiences.

As Martin brought up the purple cross may mean something to a catholic. While a purple cross may mean totally something different to me or someone else.

The more you learn about yourself and your symbols and/or signs the more you can be prepared and helpful to self and others when such messages do arrive again.

It is my belief that we are all in service in our own ways and are chosen to serve because of our unique ways. Together the differences join as a whole part of the picture. It is up to each and every one of us to find out our own code and how to decode the messages meant for us and to help ourselves and others remember.--Abby
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
17 years ago (2007-08-14)
thank you for sharing your story. It was beautiful. It must be very comforting to know that loved ones are at peace and with othe loved ones who have gone on before them.

God Bless!
Shane (13 stories) (1258 posts)
17 years ago (2007-08-14)
Very touching indeed. I have always said that our loved ones often times return to let us know that they are okay and that they love us as much as we do them. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Peace, Love, and Luck be with you.
Martin (602 posts) mod
17 years ago (2007-08-14)
Very touching story, Brenda. I wonder if other people ever had that purple cross vision also, it sounds like some archetypal angelic symbol or something. I know purple is an important color for catholics, and well, the cross also, obviously. Interesting vision to see the least, sounds like you have some psychic blood running through your veins.

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