Wentworthville, NSW - The Final Blessing
Jennifer had always enjoyed a close relationship with her Uncle Bill, an Anglican Minister and popular family member. He had officiated at her wedding to husband Alan and baptised her first child, but most importantly he had been a pillar of support for her as a young wife and mother.
Pregnant with her second child, Jennifer was devastated by the news of her Uncle’s sudden and untimely death from a heart attack whilst giving a church sermon.
Sadly, she realised, Uncle Bill would not be able to christen little John as he had his older brother David, and that her new son would never know this special man. Soon after his death Jennifer was sure she could sense his presence around her, like a reassuring blanket of comfort, and grew accustomed to these unexpected visits believing "Uncle Bill was still watching over us".
Years passed and young John developed an eye muscle condition that would require hospital treatment. The night before he was to be admitted to hospital Jennifer was uneasy. The house felt claustrophobic and she lay, restless, waiting for her husband to return from his work shift as the children slept in their beds.
"I was aware of Uncle Bill, more than ever that night," Jennifer said. "After a couple of hours of trying to get to sleep unsuccessfully, I sat up in bed, turned on the light and said to him out loud, 'What do you want?’ Tell me or go away and let me get some sleep, please!' This was the only time I've ever spoken to him out loud like that."
Finally Alan came home, retiring to the TV room after a light late dinner to talk with Jennifer about the impending hospital treatment. Jennifer and Alan eventually made their way to bed. Several hours later young John, never one to be roused from his sleep, wandered shyly into his parents’ room.
"I asked him why he was out of bed. That’s when he said ‘Tell the man to go away’. I said what man? He replied ‘The man in the white dress’," Jennifer said.
Intrigued, Jennifer took the small boy back to the room he shared with his older brother, still sleeping, and carried out a check of cupboards and under beds to reassure John that there was no man in his room. Both satisfied, she tucked the boy into bed.
"I asked him what the man was doing and he replied ‘waving to me’. I said how exactly, and John began to make the sign of the cross in the manner that priests do when they impart their blessings.
"I felt my skin prickle as I realised that Uncle Bill, sensing our troubles, had come back dressed in his trademark white robe to give John his blessing and put my mind at ease."