Hospital Visit and Stinky Fish

In November 2001, my grandfather (mom's dad) was taken from the nursing home to the hospital. He was not responding well, and most of this was from old age. I would drive the 45 minutes one way to visit him in the hospital after work every other night. I just had this feeling that if I didn't spend as much time with him as I could I would regret it when he did finally breathe his last.

On my last visit, Pap pap was not responding to family anymore except to squeeze our hands. I took his hand in mine and whispered to him, "Pap pap, it's Tina. When it's time, you come see me." He squeezed my hand.

We all knew Pap pap was on his final days, so we called my Aunt who lived in Las Vegas, NV. She made a special trip in to see him. She saw him the night she came into town, the Friday before Thanksgiving.

That night I was antsy. I couldn't sleep. I went to bed around midnight and finally fell asleep around 1:00 AM. I awoke again at 3:15 AM (I know, because I looked at the alarm clock). I really had to go to the bathroom and that was unusual for me in the middle of the night. Really, I was 33 not 93.

As I was sitting in the darkened bathroom, I heard an owl outside hooting. He hooted 3 times and was gone. I finished in the bathroom and went back to bed. My husband (now ex-husband)rolled over and asked me what was wrong. I said, "Nothing, go back to sleep." I lay down on the bed and covered up with the blanket.

It was about 3:30 when I was close to asleep, that in between stage when you are half asleep and half awake. All of a sudden I was standing in Pap pap's hospital room and my grandmother, my Aunt Betty and my cousin Bonnie Sue were in the room with us. My grandma told me to sing for Pap pap. I couldn't think of a song to sing right away, but then the easiest hymn I could remember came to mind "How Great Thou Art". So I started singing, softly at first. Grandma said, "Sing louder Tina, only he can hear you." I sang louder and finished 4 verses of the hymn.
"That's fine, Tina. Now he can go." said Grandma. She and Aunt Betty took his hands and Bonnie Sue leaned down and kissed him. Me? I fell into a deep sleep.

The telephone woke me up that Saturday morning at 8:00 AM. It was my mother. "Tina, I have sad news. Pap pap passed away last night - early this morning." I said I knew and asked her what time he died. "Around 3:30 this morning." she said. The exact time that I was singing to him in my vision. The really wild part is my Aunt Betty had passed away in 1980 from a hospital mistake, my cousin Bonnie Sue had passed away in 1985 from diabetes complications and my grandma had passed away in 1991 of congestive heart failure. Yet in 2001 they were there to be with my grandfather on his death bed. And if truth be told, it was the Maiden (Bonnie), the Mother (Betty) and the Crone (Grandma).

But this was not the first time I had seen Grandma after her passing. The first time was about three months after she had been buried. The cemetery was about a block from my grandparents' house. I went to visit my grandfather one summer afternoon and he had been fishing (he was an avid fisherman). Now, our family knew that freshly caught fish had never been allowed past the back porch for as long as my grandmother had been alive, her rules.

I was sitting in the kitchen at the table when Pap pap walked in the back door from the porch with a stringer full of trout. I plainly heard my grandmother say "He better not put those stinky fish in my kitchen sink!" Well, he did put those "stinky fish" in her kitchen sink. And grandma never went back in the house again. If I wanted to "see" her, I had to visit the cemetery.

Submitted by Christina Fields, PA, USA