At her husband’s funeral, a wife approaches to kiss him for the last time, and what she sees surprises everyone.

Nola Swart was enjoying a mother-daughter weekend with her daughter Kelly, while her husband Fred and his best buddy were fishing at their lake cabin. Her phone rang when they were busy cooking cookies. Nola cleaned the flour from her hands before picking up her cell phone. Caller ID indicated that it was Fred, but when she answered the phone, it was not his voice on the other end, and the things she heard devastated her.

“Nola?” She recognized James’s voice on the phone. “Nola, this is James. I’m terribly sorry, but Fred… Something has happened to him…” “James?” Nola gasped and felt a massive fist grip around her heart. “What happened?” Is Fred hurt?”No, honey,” Fred’s best friend said kindly. “I’m sorry, Nola, homey, you have to be brave…Fred is dead.”

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“No!” Nola yelled. Stop it, James! This is a bad joke! “Stop! Stop!” But Nola knew it wasn’t a joke, and big burly James, Fred’s best buddy since first grade, was bawling like a baby. “I’m sorry, Nola…I’m so sorry… He was standing next to me, and then he was gone…” In a strange, numb fog, Nola contacted her mother and invited her to come over and sit with Kelly. Then Nola drove two hours up to the mountains to meet James at the coroner’s office in a little town near their cabin.

Nola stood like a statue, James’ arm over her shoulders, as the coroner pulled back the white sheet to reveal Fred’s lifeless face. Nola felt hot tears stream down her cheeks. “From what I can ascertain Mr. Swart had a massive heart attack and died instantly,” the coroner’s report stated. “However, I do recommend you have an autopsy performed by a pathologist…”

“Never,” Jenny yelled. “Nobody is going to rip up my Fred. May he rest in peace!” The coroner exhaled. “Mrs. Swart, I understand. I will provide a death certificate, and you may proceed with the funeral.” Nola was trembling. “The funeral… Fred always stated that he preferred to be cremated. I want everything to be the way dad would have wanted it.”

James assisted Nola in arranging for Fred’s remains to be sent home, and the following day their family and many friends gathered to pay their final respects to the fun-loving, energetic young man they had loved.Nola had asked the funeral director to leave the casket open so that everyone could say their final goodbyes. The mourners approached the casket one by one, whispering a final message and praying.

The priest talked movingly of Fred. “Even though our hearts are sore, even though we grieve for our loss, let us always remember that Fred has left this world for a better one and that he is now in His Father’s loving hands. Life is not constant, and all we have is our faith. Nola listened, and anger filled her heart. She furiously whispered to her mother, “God!” If there was a God, Fred would be home right now, not languishing in that box.

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God! “God has left my baby fatherless!”The priest gazed at Nola, and a few people stared, prompting her mother to silence her. Nola pushed her mother’s hand away. She cried loudly. “Do you all pray to God?” Ask Him what I’m going to tell my baby! “Why don’t you ask him that? Nola’s mother wrapped her arms around daughter, attempting to console her, while the funeral director and his assistant moved to transport Fred’s casket to the incinerator.

Nola pulled away from her mother. “Wait!” she exclaimed. “Please wait!” “I need to say my goodbyes!” Nola approached the casket, stooped over, and caressed Fred’s face with shaking fingertips. “I love you…”She muttered, “I will always love you,” and tenderly kissed his lips, the final kiss she’d share with the guy she’d hoped to grow old with.

As Nola gazed down at Fred, she noticed something extraordinary. Fred blinked. I’m enraged, Nola thought, and I want him back so badly that I’m having hallucinations…But then Fred’s eyelids flickered again, and Nola said, “He’s alive! Oh, my God. Call 911!” The funeral director, who assumed Nola was dreaming everything in her grief, went forward and noticed Fres’ eyes open and then close again.

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He turned to his assistant and told him to dial 911, get a doctor, anything! Fred was transported from his casket to the ambulance, which took him to the hospital with Nola by his side. The doctor confirmed that Fred was still alive, but that something had put him in a deep sleep, leading the untrained small-town coroner to believe he had died.

Following various tests, the physicians discovered that Fred had been bitten by a bee and had a severe allergic response to the venom, which had caused him to appear dead.Fortunately for Fred, Nola had refused an autopsy or a typical funeral, which would have involved embalming. Fred recovered from his traumatic experience while receiving medical attention.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Unsplash

He returned back home in a matter of days, as vivacious as ever, but Nola’s pain and fear at seeing him laid out in his casket remained with her. For Nola, it was a miracle, a second opportunity granted to their family by a caring God.

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