My dad, Daniel Rab, was best friends in high school with Jimmie Jones, who lived right across the street. Dad was the fifth of 9 Rab children and Jimmie was the oldest of 8 Jones kids. Needless to say, under those circumstances, they were always at each other’s house and there was always something to do.
Dad got to where he would go over to Jimmie’s house, but not so much to see his best friend, but rather Jimmie’s younger sister, Jo Ann, my Mom.
And so it was over time Mom became a Rab.
Because they were now brother-in-laws, Dad and Uncle Jimmie were friends for life, until my Dad suddenly, and completely unexpected, literally dropped dead in 2001.
Uncle Jimmie had been in very poor health for several years. My Aunt relayed a story to mother, one she has since told me, that happened in April, 2010.
Jimmie had had a major heart attack and was hooked up to life support systems. Without a doubt, the medical staff were certain he wouldn’t live.
One evening during this time, Jimmie opened his eyes and laid staring intently up at the corner of the ceiling. My aunt looked to see what he was looking at, but there was nothing there. Jimmie’s expression, however, was one of warmth, awe and totally absorbed in whatever he was seeing.
She asked what he saw. Jimmie said his grandfather and grandmother were up in the corner of the room smiling at him. She asked what else he saw. Jimmie smiled weakly and said, “I see Daniel”!
He stared up at the corner of the room for a long while before drifting back to sleep.
Jimmie quickly began to dramatically improve that night, and several days later asked my aunt how he was doing. She was honest. She told him the doctors didn’t think he was going to make it at first, but she assured him that now they were very pleased because he was getting better every day.
Jimmie shook his head affirmatively and said, “Daniel told me I was going to get better for a little while longer.”
Uncle Jimmie died quietly eleven months later.
I think Dad, and other family members who have already crossed the river were all there when he died. In what shape, form or fashion I don’t know; I really don’t know. But somehow I know they were there… and that Dad showed Jimmie to his new home at a house across a golden street.
It’s odd. This morning, when I looked into the eyes of the guy I was shaving in the mirror, for an instant, just an instant, I thought I saw Daniel.
I don’t know, maybe not.