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A Comforting Message…

It was a station their radio wasn’t programmed to receive, but the connection was made, loud and clear.

By: C. Updike


There’s a reason my husband, Eric, and I got satellite radio. It’s reliable. We live in a woodsy, hilly area, and just driving around town I used to lose my favorite station. Or the signal would get crossed with one from another station.

That never happens with satellite radio. We have it set to an oldies channel. The signal is locked in, the sound crystal clear.

That day I was especially glad to have music to listen to, anything to take my mind off my terrible sense of loss.

My family and I had just left the nursing home where my grandmother–my beloved Abuela–had lived the last years of her life. We had gone to visit her husband, Jim. He was 94 and quite frail.

When he dies, I thought, there will be no more reason to come here, and my last connection to Abuela will slip away.

I could feel myself starting to cry. As Eric pulled out of the parking lot, I reached for the volume knob and turned it up. I didn’t want my eight-year-old twins, sitting in the back, to hear me.

I’d always thought that there’d be the comfort of knowing Abuela’s soul still lived on. I knew that just as she’d loved the Lord, that I’d feel some tangible assurance she was in heaven. But when she passed, there was nothing. Only an emptiness I couldn’t fill.

We were such kindred spirits, Abuela and I, upbeat, full of energy, every day a reason to celebrate. The happiest I ever saw her was the day she married Jim. She was 86 then but as giddy as a teenager.

It didn’t matter to her that the marriage likely wouldn’t be long. She was in love, and going to live every minute to the fullest.

Now she’d been gone for two months. One moment I’d been holding her hand, feeling her spirit still pulsing through her. The next instant it vanished. Was that it? Was that all? Where did she go?

If my Abuela–so vital, so vibrant–could die and leave nothing of her spirit, then what was the point of believing? I felt like a part of me had died with her, the part that had faith God was with me.

“What’s upsetting you the most?” Eric asked. He knew my grief went beyond missing my grandmother.

“I need to know that she went somewhere else. Where did she go, Eric?”

The satellite radio station was playing a Frank Sinatra song. We’d gone only several hundred feet when the music stopped suddenly. The signal cut out completely. A few seconds later the radio came back on. No Sinatra. No music at all. Just a voice saying, “There is life after life.”

Then the signal faded again and our oldies channel came back on.

I turned to Eric. “What was that?”

“I think you know what that was,” he said… “and, more importantly, where she is.”


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