By Mark Ellis
While the whole family milked cows in the late afternoon on their Michigan farm, 10-year-old son Freddie remembered he left his BB gun in a barn across the road from their house.
“He was going to ride his bike to grab his BB gun and come back,” says Donna Oesch, Freddie’s mother.
But as Freddie waited cautiously at the edge of the road for an approaching car to pass, the young woman at the wheel of the car barreling toward him dropped her cigarette on the floor. She bent over to retrieve it, righted herself, but when she came up the setting sun refracted through the windshield blinded her eyes. Her car swerved and she hit Freddie with massive force.
The young woman was on her way to be fitted for her wedding gown.
“I ran and called 911 and had an ambulance coming,” Donna recalls. “I was positive it was only a broken leg or maybe two broken legs.” As she waited for emergency personnel to arrive, she felt the Lord wrapping His arms around her.
Donna rode with Freddie in the ambulance, talking and singing to him, even though he was unresponsive. “I had my hand on his heart and felt his heartbeat, which gave me comfort,” she recalls.
Earlier that day at lunch, the whole family had a devotional time together, and the Oesch’s daughter picked a story to read from the New Testament about the royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.
“The royal official said, ”Sir, come down before my child dies.'”
“Jesus replied, ‘You may go. Your son will live.’”
“The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.”
“I remembered the story and told Freddie it was a sign that everything will be fine.”
At the hospital Donna began calling family and friends to ask for prayer. “We’ll need lots of help as Freddie’s healing over this summer,” she told them.
Then a doctor pulled her aside and said, “Listen, you have to know how bad this is. All the bones in his face were broken. His neck was broken. His legs were broken and his arm was broken. He is probably going to be a vegetable if we can keep him alive.”
Donna told the doctor about the Scripture they read that day. “Please don’t stop. Please don’t give up on him. I still believe in miracles,” she said.
The doctor was quiet for a moment and then looked Donna in the eyes very seriously. “Come with me and see him,” he said.
When they walked in the room, Donna was startled by Freddie’s appearance. “The swelling had started and he didn’t look human,” she says. “They had him hooked-up to all kinds of machines.”
Then God parted the veil and allowed Donna to witness something incredible. “I watched my son’s spirit leave his body and drift upward,” she recounts. “I could see a little boy and he had his hand out reaching for Freddie and they went together.”
Donna lost another son, Joseph, two hours after childbirth and she is convinced Joseph was the one who guided Freddie to heaven. “I have no doubt in my mind who it was.”
Suddenly the emergency room felt very cold to Donna. “We need to stop!” she told the doctors. “If his heart stops again let him go because he’s already gone to heaven.”
Within minutes it was over.
In the ensuing days, Donna grieved heavily. “It was horrific. You just don’t know how to deal with a thing like that.”
On the third morning after Freddie’s passing, Donna wrestled with one major heartache. “I couldn’t understand how he could be happy without his mom. I cried and asked God to help me get through it.”
As Donna stood in the barn that morning, God gave her a powerful vision of Jesus’ triumphant return. “I dreamed the Lord came and the trumpets sounded and the clouds rolled back,” she says.
“Everybody fell to their knees including me,” she recounts.
She thought she would be raptured momentarily. “I looked up and I could see the feet of Jesus. I reached out my hands. I thought I was going right then.”
“I had this wonderful feeling of peace that I get to go.”
Donna even jumped, thinking this might hasten her departure to be with her Lord, but immediately after she jumped, Donna came out of the vision.
She knelt in prayer for much of the day, pondering what she saw. Then the Lord impressed on her heart a message of comfort: What you felt when you thought you were going was what Freddie felt.
Donna suddenly realized that after Freddie entered the Lord’s presence, he wasn’t worried about anything else. He felt perfect peace and unsurpassed joy.
“Freddie felt that peace,” she affirms. “That’s what we get when we go. We have no more cares and no more worries.”
Thirty-two years after Freddie’s passing, Donna has occasional moments when she grieves her loss. “But I remember the dream. I know he’s in heaven and he is where he needs to be.”