This post is written by my brother-in-law, Grady Hauser. When I heard the story of the experience Grady's father had at the end of his earthly life I asked Grady if he would write it up. Here it is. Thanks Grady for sharing this with us!
In the spring of 2014 my Dad was 87 years old and, by all appearances, in reasonable health. He had lived alone in a small seniors building apartment in Longmont, CO, since mom passed away two years before. The son of German immigrant farmers, Dad was the first in his family to complete college and went on to serve as a pastor in the Evangelical Free Church for over 40 years. His career, commitment to the Scriptures, and staunch German heritage are all factors in his end-of-life experience.
In April Dad admitted himself to the hospital when he could not resolve general muscle pain and lack of strength. After a few days there a bone marrow test indicated a quickly advancing leukemia, and Dad, together with my brother and I, agreed he would move to a hospice setting and peacefully accept God’s timing to call him home, which they estimated could come in only a few months. I traveled to Longmont and spent several days with Dad, my brother Dan, and extended family, but then said my last goodbyes to Dad on this side of heaven, and returned to Chicago.
My brother’s normal routine was to visit Dad every day following work before driving the 45 minutes to his own home. On one such afternoon in early May they conversed about the day, Dad’s pain level, and complaints about the bland food, so Dan was surprised to get a call from the nursing staff at 8 pm. Surely this could not be the call to inform us of his passing? It wasn’t. Instead, it was a nurse who tried to explain that Dad was crying, but was not in any pain, and he insisted that they call his son at home.
Dad had reached a point where he was no longer able to make phone calls on his own, but tonight, between sobbing tears, he explained to Dan that “he had been to heaven and back.”
In his words, he said: “Oh the glory, the glory! Dan, the colors! There was green and red and black like I cannot explain. And the music!!” (More crying and a long pause). “There were gems,” and he held out his hands like he could hold them. This would be extraordinary for anyone, but as I described earlier Dad’s German persona was not given to emotional experience and certainly not to exaggeration. Dan asked if he should drive down the mountain to be with him, but Dad was fine, full of energy in fact---“No need to drive down. We’ll just plan to meet again like usual tomorrow afternoon.”
The following afternoon Dan did visit Dad and asked pointed questions about his recollection of the night before. Not only was Dad cognitively sharp on his memory and experience, but he was able to respond to Dan’s questions with more detail. “No, he did not see or recognize anyone in this vision of heaven”---only the power of the colors and music being very different, such that any earthly description was inadequate. “And Dan, during that time, my pain was completely gone!” Dan asked further—“Dad, do you remember the song from Diane’s funeral?” (Diane, his only daughter had passed away 28 years before). Dan started, “But just think of stepping on shores, and finding it heaven, of touching a hand and finding it God’s." Dad immediately finished the words from memory, “Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial, of waking up in glory, and finding it home.”