I heard the answering machine pick up a call in my office. Normally they are hangups or some robo-call, but I sensed this was different. I strained to hear what the woman was saying. It was clear it was something I needed to attend to, so I played back the message.
The caller was the owner of Suburban Studio in Sun Prairie, a portrait photography business that has been around for a long time. She had noticed my Mom’s obituary recently and realized she had a large, framed portrait of my late father from when he was mayor of Sun Prairie. The portrait hung in the studio for years as a sample of their work. She was calling to see if I would like it.
I contacted her right away and made arrangements to pick up the portrait. She did not charge for the 16×20 inch print (although I did buy the frame it was in). When I stopped at the studio the next day to pick it up, I was really taken aback. Not just by the size of the portrait, but the look of it. This was similar to the photo we used in Dad’s obituary in April 2007, but it was different. I stared at the image. Dad seemed so close and alive; almost as if he was about to speak. The studio owner agreed, saying the image had something about it. You almost sense the person is there in the room.
I kept racking my brain trying to think where I’d seen this photo before. Then it struck me. Dad used this photo in his literature when he ran for re-election in 2005. I vaguely recalled seeing his brochure back then and thinking this photo had a different quality.
I rarely believe in coincidences, so I chalk up this whole encounter to Divine Providence. It reminded me of the time I was sitting at my desk in my home office in Mount Pleasant in the early evening. I dozed off and was in and out in one of those semi-conscious sleep states. I was jolted awake though, by the sound of my father’s voice.
Hello? Are you there? Yes, it’s me. I’m still alive!
I sat upright and looked around the room. Where was his voice coming from? Dad kept talking and I recognized it as part of an oral history interview I did with him in November 2006. While we were recording in Dad’s room at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, he received a call on the cell phone from his brother, Donn (1926-2014). I have no idea how this recording started playing on my computer while I was half-asleep. My tears flowed freely though, as it seemed Dad was really speaking to me from Heaven. I will never forget that moment.
Listen to a portion of the oral history interview I did with Dad while he was being treated for lung cancer:
Now I have this beautiful portrait, a gift from Louise Floyd at Suburban Studio. I look at Dad’s expression and it, too, speaks to me. Funny, it seems to say just about the same thing as the recording from my computer. “I’m still here, son. I am alive!”
UPDATE!! This will be a little hard to explain, but it brought more tears to my eyes. Yesterday I was at St. Mary of Pine Bluff Catholic Church shooting photographs. The main thing I photographed was the gold monstrance that holds the Blessed Sacrament for exposition and adoration. See my photo below. That holds the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus under the appearance of bread. When I was doing closeups, I kept noticing reflected colors in the glass of the monstrance. So I lined up my camera and shot a bunch of images. Later I sent one to Father Richard Heilman and told him to look at the reflection. I thought it looked like a veiled woman in blue.
When Fr. Heilman looked at that photo earlier today, not long before I published the first version of this article, he saw the reflection of a man in a suit and tie with glasses. When Father later read my post and saw Dad’s portrait, he said, “THAT’S THE MAN I SAW!” I saw the Blessed Virgin and he saw this very photo of my father. Let that sink in. What a blessed day this has been!
©2019 The Hanneman Archive
(This article has been updated to include an audio file with oral history)
12 thoughts on “Just Saying Hello from Heaven (Updated!)”
Thank you for sharing, Joe. Your parents were wonderful contributors to the Sun Prairie community.
Thanks, Joe. You’re very kind.
Very nice article Joe!
What a tribute to your Dad and your family, God bless…
Reading this through a link on Spirit Daily. What a blessing the Lord gave you, and a blessing for us too. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for your thoughts, Mary Lou. Indeed I have been blessed.
Thank you fir sharing and I had the same thing happen to me!
This is incredible and I saw your article after I had bought a Mother’s Day gift for my mom!
Can you send me your email?
I need to share my story with you!
I sent you an email just now.
Talking about monstrance, I have been seeing the crown of thorns in the monstrance. Latest one was July 2017 during my pilgrimage in Mexico City to our Lady of Guadalupe. The group went to St. Stephen church and have a chapel for adoration. When I inter the chapel I look up the monstrance and I said to myself why the monstrance have Jesus face in it instead the host which he is the body of Christ as will. So I took pictures sure enough it appeared in every picture I took. I always show it to people when I have a chance. I keep it in my cell phone. The first time encounter this image was a couple years ago during Rosary Bowl month of October same happened to me, one of the room in the building have a place for adoration I saw Jesus the crown of thorns inside the monstrance. I have been getting a miracles pictures every place I go for pilgrimage. My biggest experience is in Medugorje…. I visit Mother Mary almost every year. My promise to her that I would see her at less once a year. Holy Land pilgrimage, I took a picture of the sun at St Stephen church and it appeared a heart with Jesus face and sometimes is the Blessed mother face. Thank you for sharing your story and your dad picture is really look like he is alive inside the frame.
Thanks Joe for sharing your story and experience. Yes, your dad is not far and things happen to remind us of this. I call these, God given time, with our deceased. I love your God cave too. We should all have a special altar in our homes. Your Sacred Heart picture on your wall is the same I have. I remember a few years ago it was a beautiful cool day so I opened my door to enjoy the cool weather and not long after opening it, a small bird flew in and perched itself on the picture. It stayed their awhile and then flew out. I call that a God given gift! I’m happy for you that our Lord gifted you with His Mother’s image in the Holy Eucharist. That was awesome! I too, have been gifted with His Holiness in images in and around the Eucharist and Monstrance during my Holy Hour of Adoration. May these blessings of God bring you much peace and joy in your life.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This same Sacred Heart painting hung in the upstairs hallway of my parents’ home for many years. I could never figure out what happened to it, so I set off to buy one online. The same artist painted a number of very similar works, but none have the depth and realism of this version. I was very fortunate to find it. I’ve heard from others who have seen images in the monstrance during adoration. Such a blessing!