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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

The true story of a little girl who loved her grandfather dearly. She remembers the story he told her of when he died and saw the gates of heaven. But, it wasn't his time yet. What he describes to
her is amazing.

Submitted: August 06, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 06, 2018






As a small child, maybe the age of six or seven, I remember the man with black and silver hair telling me the most amazing story I had ever heard.  I still remember it to this day, like I’m still sitting at his feet, listening to him telling me about it again.

That man was my grandfather.  A small, thin man whom I admired all my life.  He had been a farmer, raising cows, chickens, geese, and pigs.  I watched, and often rode with him, as he plowed the fields of hay.  It was a working farm.  My grandmother, a rather large woman, would keep the house, churn fresh butter and gather eggs.  Never were her hours idle. 

Nor were we kids when we went to visit the farm. It was there that I learned how to milk my first cow…squirting my grandfather right in the eye.  He laughed and told me my aim was slightly off.  I needed to aim a bit lower.  He didn’t believe in those big machines that you see now days.  Everything was done by hand. 

I loved to feed the baby calves with my bare hands and feel them suck on my fingers.  The pigs and geese would chase us around the yard.  It was never dull as there was always something to do.

There was no indoor plumbing, so water had to be drawn from the well pump and carried inside.  We used chamber pots at night and carried them to the outhouse out back and used it during the day. 

We learned how to can fruit and vegetables, pick fruit, do gardening, pull weeds, and a lot of other work that it took to run the farm. 

We took baths in a wash tub in front of the pot-bellied stove in the front room.  Lord help us if we got water all over the place.  But it was fun.  Wood was hauled in, winter, summer, spring or fall.

Cooking was also done on a wood burning stove and I quickly learned to respect it.  I learned to cook a little from the best cook, my grandma

I remember one winter we couldn’t get up the incline to the house and grandpa had to bring sleds down to pull us kids up.  That was such fun…for us kids!!

Grandpa was a thin, frail, sickly man, but never faltered in his duties.  He was up at the crack of dawn and worked until sunset.  He never missed a meal with the family, and often had visitors.  I never saw him be mean to anyone or say a cross word.  But when he did raise his voice to the next octave, you better listen.

My grandfather and I also shared something else in common.  We both had a tendency to have stomach ulcers.  It so happened that the summer I was five, we had one at the same time.  Little did I know, that he had also been diagnosed with stomach cancer. We sat at the dinner table, watching all the others eat the feast that Grandma, or Momma, as we called her, had made.  Grandpa and I sat with a bowl of baby food.  I looked at him, he looked at me, and we dug in.  Actually, most of it didn’t taste too bad.  You had to doctor some of the meat with fruit, but otherwise…it was not to hard to deal with.

Summer vacation went by too fast and it was soon back to school.  We went to visit during school breaks, and sometimes on weekends.  

Grandpa was also a minister, so we went to his church whenever we were there.  He was a great preacher, according to my limited knowledge at the time.

We weren’t allowed to fidget and fuss in church.  It was a time to listen and learn.  Grandpa often talked about death and dying.  He told about Heaven and Hell.  They seemed like far away places to me.  Sometimes he yelled and said you had to be “Saved” to go to Heaven.  Okay.  I didn’t really understand.  But, I listened.

One day, when I got home from school, my mother was crying, a lot.  I asked her what was wrong but was told to just go to my room and not bother her by my Dad.  Well, that hurt.  I wanted to know what was wrong with my mom. 

At dinner that night, as we were eating, the telephone rang.  Dad answered it, paused quietly, listening. Then hung up.  He whispered in my mom’s ear and she got up and went to their bedroom.  She was crying even harder now.

“Daddy, please tell me why Mommy is crying so hard?  What is wrong?”  I begged him to tell me.

I was the oldest of three kids (at that time) and wanted to be strong for them too.  I knew it had to be really bad news.

Daddy took me into the living room and sat me on his lap.  He sat there with me, not saying anything for a few seconds, then held me tight. 

“Sweetheart, I don’t know how to tell you this.  I know you are going to be upset.  But you have to try to be strong for your mother.  Your grandpa got very sick and had to go to the hospital.  They did everything they could, but they couldn’t make him better.”  Now my Dad was crying, and I watched the tears going down his face.  I reached my little hands up to wipe them away.

“Is his stomach hurting him Daddy?”  I asked, not yet knowing what had truly happened.

“Not any more baby.  He is in no more pain.  He has gone on to Heaven to be with Jesus.  That is why your Mother is crying so much.  She will miss him very much.”  Daddy was still crying a lot.

Just then the phone rang, and Daddy put me down to go answer it.  A few minutes later he came back and told me we were going to the hospital.  Mommy came out of the bedroom with her coat on, purse in her hand, running for the front door.

She wasn’t crying anymore, but was yelling at us all to hurry up, we had to get there fast.  I couldn’t understand what the hurry was. 

When we got to the hospital, Momma was waiting for us in the big room they called the lobby.  She grabbed my Moms hand and took her into this little place with a curtain around it.  I wanted to go too but Daddy wouldn’t let me.  He made me sit in one of those hard chairs, along with him and my sisters. 

They were gone a long time before they came back out. They were smiling and talking very fast.  Daddy got up and walked over to them, but I couldn’t hear what they were saying.  I wanted to know what was going on.  It had to be good, I knew that.  Soon, we were back in the car and headed home.

“Daddy, is grandpa still sick?  Is he in Heaven now?”  I asked from the back seat.

“No honey, he is getting much better now.  You’ll see him soon, I promise.”  With that I sat back and fell asleep until we got home, then went to bed.

The next time I saw my grandpa, I sat at his feet and listened to him tell me the story of that night. 

“That was the night God wasn’t ready for me yet.”  He said as he smiled down at me.

“What do you mean, Grandpa?”  I asked.

“Well, honey, I was in so much pain, I just wanted it to end.  I wanted to die and be done with it.  And I nearly did.  I remember going to the hospital and talking with the Doctors.  I remember them giving me some pain medication.  I didn’t know that I was allergic to what they gave me.  I guess I had a reaction to it.  My heart went crazy, I started sweating really bad, then I couldn’t breathe.  The next thing I know is I heard nothing.  Everything went quiet.  So peaceful.”

I’m looking into his eyes and they are shining. Almost like tears, but not quite, just moist.

“I felt this pull, like through a tunnel.  Do you know what a tunnel is?”  I shook my head no.

“Well, it a small place that you squeeze through and it’s kinda long.  Anyway, I’m going through it and I see this bright white light at the end.  It feels very warm.”

“Grandpa, did you like going through that tunnel?”  I asked him.

“Yeah, I did.  I wanted to see what that light was and what was on the other side.  I knew about it and wanted to go see God.”  Grandpa told me.

“So, did you make it there?”  I was getting excited now.

“I sure did.  It was so bright it hurt my eyes at first.  It was brighter than the sun is. But it was so beautiful.  There was a gate there that was made of pure gold and had a rainbow around it.”  He showed me his wedding ring to show me what gold was.  I already knew what a rainbow was.

“All I could do was stand there a stare at it.  It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen in my life.  I didn’t ever want to leave that place.  I felt no pain, no sorrow, just pure joy.”  My Grandpa had the happiest face I had ever seen on him.

“Why did you leave then?  Why did you come back here, and why are you hurting again?  This doesn’t make any sense to me Grandpa.”  I was so confused.

“Honey, I believe that God knows when we are supposed to join Him in Heaven.  Only He can make that decision.  So, one of His angels met me at the gate and told me it wasn’t my time yet.  That there was more for me to do on this earth.”  He was grinning at me now.

“So, what do you have to do?”  I knew he already had the farm work and the church.

“Well, I think one important job for me is to look after you.  You’re the sweetest granddaughter a grandfather could want.  Don’t you think that’s a great job for God to give me?”  Now Grandpa did have tears in his eyes as he looked at me.

“Yes!!”  I shouted as I jumped up into my grandfather’s lap.  I loved him so much. He was the second most important man in my life.  Next to my Daddy, of course. 




© Copyright 2019 Katie Santee. All rights reserved.

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