Story by Colleen Kendzierski
Shortly after my dad passed away, I was laying on my couch when one of my cats jumped up and ran to the corner of the room, where there was a pile of magazines and newspapers I intended to read and dispose of. I was still mourning and hadn’t returned to the everyday routine stuff. Tigger stood facing that corner, ears back, tail stiffened, hissing like no one’s business, then settled down and rolled onto his back.
After my initial alarm, I realized what was happening and laughed, announcing, “Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll get rid of that pile!” That was one of his pet peeves. Whenever he’d come visit, I hid the magazines I hadn’t read so he wouldn’t see them. He’d been sick for months and died at Hospice, so he hadn’t been to visit for a while, and I got lazy.
Tigger loved Dad, too, and would often roll over, allowing him to rub his belly. Apparently, he still allowed that from beyond! Once I knew Dad was still with me, I looked forward to his visits.
Every once in a while, I would smell his favorite tobacco. If I was home, I knew there was no explanation but that he was visiting. One night, I felt my mattress shift like someone sat down and smelled that wonderful scent, which I’d hated when he was alive but had come to enjoy since he’d left us. I had a nice one-sided conversation with him about things going on in my life. The next morning, Mom called to report that the night before, my beloved Aunt Dorothy had died. When I told her about my experience, we felt he had come to take his only living sibling back home with him.
I’ve had visits from Dad in public places, most memorably at a lakefront ice cream shoppe we’d frequented. While deciding what to order, I smelled that tobacco, looked around, and saw no one smoking, even asking the gentleman in front of me if he could smell it. He looked at me like I was insane, giving me an adamant, “NO!” I believe I had my dad’s favorite ice cream that day!
I recently began attending a new church, much different than the Catholic one I was raised in. During last week’s sermon, sure enough, I smelled that tobacco! I believe Dad has accepted my new church and no longer feel guilty about not attending his church!