Over twenty years ago, my grandmother on my mother’s side passed away. I didn’t really know her very well, I probably saw her less than a dozen times in my life. During her final years, she lived with my mother in Arizona and finally succumbed to stomach cancer.
About a week after her death, I had a dream that I couldn’t find my two youngest daughters. They are about 18 months apart and always doing things together. At the time of my dream, they were both toddlers, probably two and three and a half. I was panicked as I searched my house from bottom to top, finally climbing up the stairs into the attic. I was almost to the attic floor when I saw them, in the attic, in a beam of bright light, playing happily. I remember looking to the side and seeing my grandmother all dressed in white silently watching them. I climbed the rest of the stairs, went over and stood next to her. I remember saying something inane like, “I’m sorry about your death.” Which, I suppose was the well-mannered thing you can say to a recently deceased person who is watching your children. She didn’t speak to me, she just kept watching my girls.
I woke up from that dream, then went back to sleep and dreamed the entire dream again, remembering every detail. (You would think I wouldn’t have to search through the whole house this time.) But, I did, and I still repeated the same words to her.
The next day, I called my mom and told her about my dream. She started to cry and then told me that just before my grandmother died, she expressed a desire to be a guardian angel for her great-grandchildren.
I guess she got her wish.
There are lots of stories about relatives watching over and guiding their family members. My favorite story about it – and it was made into a movie – is the Cokeville Miracle. This is an excerpt about the event from ldsliving.com: On May 16, 1986, an elementary school in the tiny town of Cokeville, Wyoming, was held hostage by a married couple with a bomb.
At approximately 1:30 p.m. on a sunny Friday afternoon, David Young and his wife, Doris, quietly and methodically took control of Cokeville Elementary. Wielding a homemade bomb and several guns, the Youngs took staff members hostage as they made their way to the first-grade classroom. Students and teachers throughout the school were unknowingly drawn into the crisis when Doris Young went from room to room, instructing them to gather in classroom #4.
Eventually, Young stepped away to the restroom, leaving the bomb detonator tied to Doris’s wrist. While he was gone, the unthinkable happened—Doris accidentally jerked the string and the bomb exploded.
“It was an explosion that I can’t explain—a total instant black, the kind of black that you can’t see anything,” remembers Katie Walker Payne, who was a first-grade student at the time. “I felt compression and heat like nothing I had ever experienced. I heard teachers screaming for everyone to get down. I looked in the center of the room and all I could see was fire.”
“There were flames all over the room and children screaming—just pandemonium,” recalls Carol Petersen, a second-grade teacher at the time. “Another teacher was trying to help me escape. I said, ‘I don’t know where my children are! I can’t leave!’ but he yelled ‘Get out! Get out!’”
As the children escaped, David Young began firing a gun inside the smoke-filled classroom. Outside, the music teacher, John Miller, lay on the ground, his white shirt soaked in dark, red blood. None of the children were hit, but Miller was shot in the back as he helped others out of the burning school. (He would later recover.)
Frantic parents, gathered behind police barricades, cried out for their children as police officers ran toward the school. Ambulances, fire trucks, and news cameras lined the streets.
In the days after the bombing, more astonishing evidence came to light. Investigators discovered that wires to three of the bomb’s five blasting caps had been mysteriously cut, preventing detonation. Furthermore, the explosive powder that should have lit the air on fire had been miraculously hindered from its deadly purpose, thanks to the leaking gasoline. And though the walls were pocked from shrapnel, no one was hit by any of it.
“Everybody kept saying, ‘Isn’t this a miracle?’ But I took it as luck,” says Ron Hartley, lead investigator for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
His perspective changed dramatically a couple weeks later, however, when his 6-year-old son confided in a psychologist that he had seen angels on the day of the bombing.
“I came home with the intent of factually proving to him that he couldn’t have seen angels,” Hartley recalls. “I asked him who he saw, and he said, ‘I don’t know. She didn’t tell me her name, but I think it was Grandma Meister.’ This was exactly what I was looking for. I told him, ‘It wasn’t Grandma Meister because she’s alive and living in Pinedale.’”
But the young boy insisted that his story was true. That’s when Hartley asked his wife to get out the family photo album.
“We put it on the table right in front of him, and I started flipping through the pages. I flipped to one page when suddenly he put his little hand on a photo and just beamed,” Hartley shares.
“When you do interrogations in law enforcement, you watch for body language. You can tell through physical reactions when someone is lying and when they are not,” he continues. “When my son saw that picture, he just brightened up and said, ‘That’s her! That’s my angel!’ And it wasn’t Grandma Meister—it was my Grandma Elliott. How do you argue that? She’d been dead for three or four years.”
Hartley’s son told him there were angels for everyone in the room that day, and just prior to detonation, the angels joined hands around the bomb and went up through the ceiling with the explosion.
Other children also gave accounts of heavenly intervention, and in the months after the bombing, more of them were able to identify ancestors who helped keep them safe on the day of the crisis.
Not everyone who was in the school that day saw angels or ancestors. But even they have no doubt that miracles occurred.”
The coy of the movie I have has interviews with the children, now adults, who took part in the hostage situation. It’s a faith-increasing movie.
But, how about other stories with relatives visiting? I’m glad you asked. Here are a few from Reddit.
“I was in a motorcycle accident a few months back. I broke my spine and needed surgery to fuse several vertebrae. As they brought me into the surgery, I noticed two men standing in the corner of the OR looking not at all surgically clean and entirely out of place. Looking back at it, I later recognized them as my two late grandfathers. One of whom died in the hospital, the other died during a surgery.
The reason I know that was my grandfathers because my parents told me a story about how they were in the Hospital’s food court during my 11 hour surgery, and my dad heard his father telling him that everything was going to turn out alright, he told my mom, and she wasn’t at all surprised, because she had heard her father tell her that I was going to be fine. Even though this was late, and they were the only ones in this dead silent cafeteria.
I’ve never told that story before, let alone to the entire world.”
“My mom died in 2010. I’ve never been religious, so I couldn’t really picture her in a “better place” or any place for that matter. A year later I was on a work trip where I got pretty drunk with my coworkers. The flight back was a nightmare since I was so hung over. I came home, and I simply fell asleep on my bed in all my clothes. Must have slept for 1 or 2 hours when I woke up to a hand stroking my forehead and face. I recognized the texture of my mom’s hand immediately. There she was, bright as day, sitting on my bed and just staring at me lovingly. This lasted only for a few seconds until I woke up again. It was a dream. However, I didn’t feel hungover anymore – I felt incredibly good actually.
Might seem stupid that she visited me from beyond as a hangover cure, but to me, it was an experience that made me believe in something after death.”
“My grandmother who I never met came to visit me when I was 16. I got hurt pretty bad and I woke up to see her sitting next to me. I was scared and told my mom. She asked me to describe her and when I said she was wearing a red dress with flowers my mom said yup that’s what they buried her in.”
“I was woken up one night by my grandmother standing next to my bed. It was odd because she lived in a nursing home but for some reason, it felt totally normal to see her standing there. I remember looking up at her and feeling very calm and at peace. Nothing was said, we just looked at each other for what felt like a minute or two and then I put my head back down and went back to sleep. I found out the next morning that she had died that night. My brother said he also saw her that night standing by his bed in a long blue nightgown. She was wearing the same thing when I saw her and also happened to be wearing a long blue nightgown when she died.”
I love these kinds of ghost stories – they fill me with peace, knowing that families and relationships last longer than death. And, knowing that people I love are still watching out for me.