One Step Closer To Heaven…

Each and every day is one step closer to Heaven.  And my dad.  And Ron.  I can’t tell you if there is a Heaven for you.  But there is a Heaven for me, and my dad and Ron are there.  I have my proof.  I have my faith.  I’m not here to convince you of anything, or tell you what you are to believe, or who to Love.  God gave us all a free will and if you don’t want to believe in God, that is your free will.  But I think He might be disappointed when you show up at the Gates of Heaven and asks for “your ticket” if you know what I mean?!?

Here is my proof… take it or leave it…

I found this book in a neighbor’s yard one day. This day was in late Jan 2004, the same week we found out my father-in-law, Ron, had a bad form of cancer, so my wife, Melanie and I were already thinking about the worst that could happen. I took my dog Buster for a walk, which I usually do in the warmer months. In the winter, I skip a lot of days, but not this cold, damp, dreary day. Buster and I have no normal direction, this day we happened to go left out of the driveway. And when he does his business, it is in no particular yard. So he goes into one neighbor’s yard and stops. And directly in-line between me and Buster was what I thought was litter laying on the ground. Buster did a #2, so I had to go clean it up, and as I walked past, I noticed it was a book, and it was facing face up, otherwise I would have simply walked past it, but for some reason I read the first word of the title, “God”. So now intrigued I had to read the rest and it said, “God, I Want to Ask You” and the subtitle was “Seven questions when facing death“.

Reading the title really got my attention, and I thought finding this book was no coincidence considering what myself and my wife and her family were all facing with her dad’s diagnosis. And as I cleaned up after Buster, I just got this incredible feeling I was supposed to find this book, take it home, and read it… which I did. It was written by a minister who had a terminal condition, and he wrote about his dying questions to God and the answers God gave him. (It is 55 pages in large type and takes less than an hour to read.) The first time I read it, I thought to myself, I believe all this and put it aside.

But as we learned more about Ron’s condition, I read the book again. And each time it gave me more hope and encouragement. Ron had many tests and minor procedures done and on March 3, 2004 he had his gall bladder, bile duct, and half his liver removed. Leading up to this surgery, and after a good friend’s dad died, I thought quite a bit, I mean A LOT! It made me think about God, life and death, my dad in Heaven, the beginning of the universe, the end of time, the forces of Good and Evil, and the book that I had found. Have you ever really asked yourself, what I think is the most important question of all (question 6 in the book), “Where am I going to go after I die?” The next few days I read the book again and it meant a whole lot more and I had a revelation, an epiphany. And on March 6, 2004, I signed and dated my book (at end of Chapter 6).  I signed this prayer in front of my atheist friend who I was reading the book to and told him that this was a significant date, March 6, 2004.  I didn’t know what that meant until later in the night.   My dog rang the bell on the door to go outside and I let him out and let him back it.  He then rang the bell again.  So this time I went out with him, and it was a clear night with what looked like a full moon.  I came back in to tell my friend that I bet my life that it was a full moon that day.  I checked the calendar and sure enough, it was a full moon that night!

I want you to know how much this book has changed my life. This book was encouraging and comforting to my wife and I and her father during his last months, and it helped me deal with my father’s death 2 years earlier in 2002. And it continues to help us today. The whole experience has really opened my eyes to the world, to the power of the human mind over the body and emotions, and to the real power of positive thinking.

I grew up Catholic, and was a “recovering Catholic” so to speak. I always believe in God and Jesus, but after finding this book I see now that back then my beliefs were more on “paper” than in my heart. I truly believe now, and the phrases “spiritually born” and “born again” have new meanings to me. Looking back I discovered there were 40 days from the day we found out about my father-in-law’s cancer to the day I signed this book. And I also discovered I was on another 40 day journey in my life… it was also 40 days from the time we found out my dad was going to Hospice until the day he died! Coincidence? For those of you that don’t know, 40 days is a spiritually significant time period in the Bible. As written in the intro to The Purpose Driven Life, “Whenever God wanted to prepare someone for his purpose, he took 40 days…”

Since I signed this book, I’ve ordered and given out over 200 of these books to friends and family in the hope that it will encourage and comfort them as well. Some just because I want them to read it, others because the Holy Spirit is telling me to. There have been some eerie circumstances where I’ve had this incredible urge to give the book to someone, only to find out later how they felt it wasn’t a coincidence that I gave the book to them when they needed it. I learned some of my friends have terminal conditions or their loved one is dying and the book has comforted and encouraged them. I believe that sharing this book and my story is my way of spreading the Word. It is simply one of the things I feel I am supposed to do.

One day in the summer of 2007, I decided to call Dr. Ralph Richardson of Bible Alive Ministries and told him my story of finding this book and asked his permission to publish it on the web to share with others. And now we have…

Feel free to share Dr. Adams’s book on this website with your loved ones. Dr. Adams died in 2009 and I continue to pray to him and thank him for writing this book.

Remember, we all have a terminal condition called LIFE. And God will always take care of us no matter what happens, all we have to do is BELIEVE!

[Below are stories about the signs my wife and I have received from our dads in Heaven.]

All this thinking I did after finding this book triggered memories of my father I hadn’t thought of in years. I could always relate to my father, playing games with him when I was young, being frugal and fixing everything, but now I can relate to my father even more by understanding why he liked to read Stephen Hawking and Edgar Cayce, and why throughout his life he said he wanted to suffer like Jesus. I remembered talking to him about life and death the last few weeks he was alive.  He wasn’t taking his pain medication like my mom wanted him too.  I think he didn’t like that it dulled the pain and made him sleep.  I asked my dad, “why don’t you take your pain pills” and I will remember what he said when it is my time to die… “I want to suffer like Jesus did?


WOW!  I still pause for a few seconds every time I think about it.  I never “get used” to hearing him say it.  I pray that when I an dying that I can suffer like Jesus did as well.  {Would you?}

In our last conversation, I asked my dad if he would give me a sign after he died – a shooting star, a gleam in my child’s eye – anything he could do to let me know he was looking over me, still encouraging me, guiding me, comforting me, helping me. I was fully expecting a “yes” answer. Instead he said, “I don’t know if I will be allowed.” It felt like a punch in the gut.  But I felt determined to get affirmation and I told him, “Break the rules if you have to.” He said he would.

I was out of town when he died, and I started playing Chinese solitaire on the flight home. You probably know the game, with marbles in every hole except in the center…

    o o o
    o o o
o o o o o o o
o o o   o o o
o o o o o o o
    o o o
    o o o

After removing about half the marbles, I stopped because my mind was worthless and didn’t think I could solve it. I closed my eyes and prayed as hard as I’ve ever prayed and I asked my dad for his help, because by God I knew I needed it. I felt like my dad was there with me.   I opened my eyes and not only did I finish the game with just one marble, but it was in the center hole!

To me, that was evidence enough that my dad’s spirit helped me. It was only years later, when my father-in-law was dying, that I realized something else (this might sound like a stretch to some)… a game of solitaire is exactly that, a game you play by yourself. It is not a team game. One could say there is an unwritten rule in any solitaire game to not receive any help.   When I told him to break the rules, I thought it was related to some rules Angels have in Heaven about what they aren’t able to do in giving signs to people on Earth. Turns out it was the rules of Solitaire. My dad helped me and broke the rules, just like he said he would! Even then and still now, I know there was no way I could have solved that puzzle on my own, with my mind in the condition that it was. And that was my sign.

As for my wife’s dad, he had several rounds of chemo and handled it quite well, but there was a small cancerous mass that developed near his liver and the doctors went in to take it out. They ended up taking out five of them, and saw many more smaller ones. There wasn’t much more they could do.

Our daughter at the time was 20 months and started saying 2 word sentences, the one phrase she said the most perhaps was “Poppy sleepy”. “Poppy” was her name for her remaining grandfather. After a nearly 2 year battle with gallbladder cancer, he started losing the fight and “slept” a lot. Knowing the end was near, Melanie and I spent a lot of time the last week talking to him about God and Heaven. I would read to him everyday, parts from the book I found shortly after we learned of his cancer, “God, I Want To Ask You: Seven Questions When Facing Death.” He remembered that he didn’t sign the book, so he ended up signing it. I was also reading parts of the Bible and “The Purpose Driven Life” to him, and it seemed to comfort him. I know it comforted me, and Melanie as well. I asked him for a sign after he died to show us that he was still there, looking over us. He said he would. The following Saturday he died, he was 56 years old.

The next morning Maddie woke up very early (which she rarely did).  We didn’t say a word to her, and she crawled into our bed to go back to sleep.  My wife and I were staring at her between us and Maddie was staring at the ceiling and out of the blue just says “Poppy”. She didn’t say “Poppy sleepy” like she usually did.She didn’t say “Poppy sleepy” like she usually did. It was apparent to us that she sensed her grandfather’s spirit and said his name, letting us know that he is still looking over us, and Maddie felt his spirit in the room and say his name.  Melanie’s brother and sisters also received signs from Ron. And I saw more signs from my dad during the difficult time that followed. And I continue to see signs from him today.

My prayer for my father at his funeral was “that he continue to teach us.” And that he has done! I was very close to my dad, but I’m even closer with him now than when he was alive. Dying doesn’t have to be so sad. For those of you who have lost loved ones, pray and don’t stop thinking about them. They are looking after you!

I’ve learned that I want Maddie growing up knowing my dad and myself (in case anything were to happen to me), so I started writing a book for her with stories of my dad and myself through the years and lessons I wanted to teach her. I’ve been carrying a piece of paper and pen with me all the time and writing down notes for my book whenever they come to me. I think it is a great exercise for any parent, and I think as children grow up they would appreciate having these stories, just as I appreciated my dad’s stories.

This was the beginning of Lessons For My Girls. {Maybe you should write a book too, for your loved ones? One way to get started is to talk to your loved ones about God, Life, and Death, and write it down.}

I’m hoping to teach others how to talk to their loved ones about dying, and asking for signs from Heaven.  My next project, in addition to these Lessons For My Girls…

Poopah’s singing

Poopah thought he could sing a lot better than he could. Or perhaps he knew he couldn’t sing too well but didn’t care or maybe he wanted us to think that he thought he could sing. For the record, I will tell you that I know I can’t sing well, but I wish I could. And I purposely sing bad to hide the fact that I am a bad singer. 😉 I sing bad to be funny as well. I think I’m funny but that is another story.

I love singing “Daffy’s Rhapsody” to my girls. I remember recording it off the radio when I was 14 or 15 and listening to it over and over until I remembered all the words and could sing it with Daffy’s lisp. I hadn’t sang that song in 20+ years, but for some reason, I started singing it to Maddie while we waited at the bus stop. I was a little frustrated I couldn’t quite remember all the words, so of course I Googled it on YouTube and found this great video that someone put together that kinda goes with the song. All three girls love watching it on my phone!

I was too young to remember, but I heard the story that my dad would sing “Old Man River” to Uncle Andrew when he was little (3 or 4 maybe?), and after he was done singing, every time Andrew would say, “Sing it again dad!” My favorite song that my dad sang was “Bad Brahma Bull.” I don’t think it was so much the song, about a cowboy riding broncos and bulls, but it was the way my dad sang it. I can’t remember at what point in my life I asked him to write down the lyrics for me (16 or 18, or my early 20s), but he took the time to type out the words on a typewriter for me and I still have that paper today. Back then, computers and printers weren’t prevalent like they are today so using a typewriter to write a note was a big deal. The fact that he hand corrected typos, the lower case ‘i’s and used white out on some misplaced punctuation showed how much he cared in writing out the words for me.

Every time I sing this song, I close my eyes and I hear my dad singing it!