Finding faith isn’t always easy to do.
Even for the most devout religious believers, painful moments can cause doubt—and hardships, while easy to believe as a part of ‘God’s Plan’ after the fact, can test one’s will when they seem unending.
Sometimes, though, faith is all too easy to find—because it’s practically brought right to our laps.
In a touching tale told by Chicken Soup for the Soul author Theresa Sanders, that was decidedly the case.
Sanders explained that she had been all but fully prepared for her grandmother to pass, when a miracle occurred.
It had been a decade of Alzheimer’s for her grandmother, and the last few weeks had been particularly hard on her health-wise. As Sanders explained, she had been battling bronchitis on and off, and the latest bout had turned into a nasty case of pneumonia—which landed the elderly woman in the hospital with little medical hope of her living through the next few days.
Sure enough, the nurses and doctors tried to prepare Sanders and her mother for the seemingly imminent reality.
“Her kidneys are shutting down,” one nurse explained, “bless her heart. It won’t be long now.”
Sanders, unable to stand the thought of finally losing the grandmother she’d spent her entire life incredibly close to, left the room in tears.
By the next morning, her grandmother was in a semi-conscious state, staring at the ceiling and occasionally mumbling incoherent phrases—according to Sanders, the only things she could seem to distinguish were the words ‘yes’ and ‘I will’. The assumption, of course, was that she was either deep in the throes of dementia or possibly talking to someone on the other side, preparing for her soul to cross over for good.
Instead, the next morning shocked Sanders and her family.
After physically and mentally seeming to be just moments from death, her grandmother was sitting upright, completely lucid and in significantly improved health; while she remained frail and in need of considerable care, there was no longer any apparent imminent death on the horizon.
A week went by, then another. Her doctors, finally convinced that her recovery wasn’t just a temporary thing, allowed her to move into an assisted care facility—where she seemed to thrive.
Sanders returned to her own husband and family four hours away, finally accepting that it may be a while before she got the call that the end was near.
When the phone did ring, though, it wasn’t for her grandmother—it was for her father.
Sanders wrote that she felt numb; her father, who had seemed perfectly fine when she left to return to St. Louis, had suffered a heart attack in the back garden and passed away before help could come.
“I have to tell you,” her mom had barely managed to get out. “I need to say… your dad has died.”
It was the farthest situation from what Sanders could have imagined; just week ago, her father had been beside himself, yet had still been strong enough to help the rest of the family prepare for the grandmother’s passing. Now, he was the one who was gone.
As Sanders would go on to explain, though, God had a plan.
When Sanders and her husband Jeff went to break the terrible news to her grandmother, it seemed that the elder woman wasn’t surprised at all.
“I know,” she explained. “I came back to help, Treesie.”
That was when Sanders realized the true power of the world beyond. There was no doubt in her mind that her grandmother, just moments away from crossing into the other realm entirely, had learned of her father’s imminent passing—and, knowing that his wife would need a shoulder to lean on in the aftermath, had come back to guide Sanders’ mother through the most harrowing months of her life.
After nearly dying, Sanders watched her grandmother remain in good enough health to help her mother through the following two years, sticking around to get her family through an incomparably difficult time. She had been 93 when her family first prepared to say goodbye; by the time she finally passed, she had managed to provide both a sense of true closure and an extra support system her family hadn’t known they would need.
When the time finally did come for her grandmother to pass, Sanders explained that yet another miracle occurred.
The night before she passed, Sanders wrote, she felt a presence in her room where she was once again staying at her mother’s house.
“Call it a trick of light,” she wrote, “call it a shadow. But I could see Gram’s presence.”
Her grandmother’s presence seemed to touch her gently on the shoulder, then moved over to a chair that had been Theresa’s father’s place when he was alive. Sanders swears, when the light hovered near the chair, that she heard a quiet insistence of ‘I helped’ before the light went out and her grandmother was gone for good.
She called it the ‘Miracle Times Three’, explaining how her grandmother’s miraculous recovery, her assistance after her father’s death, and her final visit to assure she’d done her job all helped reinforce her belief in faith and the presence of angels.