The Saturday before Gloria died, she checked herself out of the hospital against medical advice to attend her first granddaughter's wedding. As her husband, Terry, was wheeling her into the sanctuary, she stopped him and said, "This is my grandbaby's wedding. I'm walking!"
With Terry's help, she gathered her dignity and the oxygen apparatus that was keeping her alive and walked to the front pew taking the place reserved for the mother of the mother of the bride.
She died on Thursday of the next week. Twelve days later, these vivid images comforted me as I grieved the loss of a dear friend's mom.
Three months after that, my own mom died, and these images have comforted me ever since.
When Gloria arrived on the shores of Eternity, all the hosts of heaven were there to greet her. The air was filled with music – all kinds of music. The air was also filled with voices -- thousands of voices -- millions of voices – and compliments everywhere she listened.
“Well done faithful servant!”
“Woo hoo! Way to hang in there!”
“We LOVED the wedding. You were so awesome!”
As Gloria was trying to take this all in, her spirit grew and grew. It was all so beautiful. It was all so cheery and bright. It was all so joyful -- and yet profoundly restful at the same time.
am really going to like it here” she thought quietly to herself.
Then the spirit of a woman came upon her. The woman asked, “Gloria. Do you know me?”
Gloria listened. She heard her own rosaries from her Irish Catholic faith echoing back to her. She heard a thousand “Ave Maria’s” in the background. She also heard the words of a “Magnificat” being sung in Latin by the most beautiful soprano voice she has ever heard or could possibly imagine.
“HAIL MARY! MOTHER OF GOD! IT’S YOU!” Gloria proclaimed in a very loud voice which resounded and echoed through all of Heaven.
Mary smiled lovingly, “Yes, Gloria. It’s me.”
“So … did you really pray for me?”
Mary assured her, “Every day. Right up until the hour of your death.”
Gloria instinctively whispered “Amen” and smiled, “It all makes so much sense now.”
Gloria rested some more.
Another spirit came upon her. This one was of a man. He, too, asked, “Gloria. Do you know who that I am?”
She felt a presence, a very large presence. She looked up and saw the kind face of a loving man. There were gigantic, powerful angels -- flaming angels -- in the background. The floor looked like opal or golden topaz only that it was constantly changing color. She could see the edges of a flowing purple velvet robe filling the room everywhere she looked. The translucent emerald green rainbow arching over the man’s head had a crystal-like appearance. The images stunned her for a moment. Then she turned slowly, reverently back to the man and replied:
“Yes. I know you. You are Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God. You are and have been my Savior.”
“Yes, Gloria. I am.”
As Gloria looked again at all the fantastic images around her she asked, “What room is this?”
“This is the Throne Room. This is the Room which Daniel, and Ezekiel, and the Apostle John were shown when they were still on Earth. This is where I sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”
“This is a room of judgment, too, right?”
“Yes, at times.”
“Are you going to judge me? Is that why I am here?”
Jesus laughed. “Oh, no, dear Gloria. You have already been judged and your slate is clean. No. I am not here to judge you. I am here to ask you for this first dance.”
couldn’t believe it. She could distinctly hear Joe Cocker music,
and least she thought she did. As she fell into His arms her spirit
continued to grow and grow. They flew from the Throne room and danced
into the clouds. They danced through the ancient Irish castles of her
heritage. They danced through and around rainbows. They even did
a few jigs upon the raindrops. She had no reason to wonder why ... or how.
Then the music dimmed and melted into a chorus of Celtic harps. Gloria, with her head on His shoulders, started humming “Danny Boy.” She liked that song. Her voice mingled with a choir of angels which seemed to be all around her. Jesus hummed along in perfect harmony.
After several verses Gloria was remembering her last dance with her husband, Terry, at the wedding a week before she arrived here. She remembered telling Terry to let her walk up the aisle. She didn’t need a wheelchair. It was her first grandchild’s wedding and, by God, she demanded, “I’m walking!” She also remembered the reception. She remembered dancing to "You Are So Beautiful" in Terry’s arms as he held the oxygen apparatus that kept her alive. The doctors said it was impossible. They underestimated the strength of the Irish. They underestimated the will of God.
Gloria rested in the arms of her Lord, the two of them humming the last refrain of "Danny Boy" over and over.
Then she looked up and asked, “Can my daughter hear us singing?”
Jesus assured her, “Yes she can. And so can Terry for they both are listening in prayer.”
“Can you tell them how much I love them?”
Jesus replied, “You just did.”