Going Home (2)
Tiffaney R. Copeland, Ohio, USA
Ever since I was a little girl, I have heard voices, seen spirits, had prophetic dreams and been interested in anything to do with magick and the paranormal. This is not a scary story, but a loving one.
Fortunately, almost everyone in my family has had at least one experience with the supernatural, so I never had the problem many children have of their family not believing them!
My Grandmother, Mother, and Aunt Julie (as well as myself) have all had more prophetic dreams than anyone else in our rather large family. My story has two parts, so bear with me! Anyway, on with the story!
it was 1989, I was 7 (several months before my 8th birthday) when my Aunt Fran, who was 26, was diagnosed with colon cancer. She was one of the sweetest people I have ever known. She was trying to teach me how to braid hair because I did not know how, but she went downhill very fast and went to Texas with my Aunt Julie and Fran's husband Dave to try out a special treatment center there (still one of the few places that offer Interferon treatments).
My mother, stepfather and I were house-sitting for them until they got back. I was lying in my bed in the morning trying to get the motivation to get up when the phone rang. My mom was still sleeping and it woke her up. As soon as I heard it, I knew it was to let us know my Aunt Fran had passed away. I told my Mom this as soon as I ran to the living room right before she answered the phone. The call was from my Aunt Julie saying that my Aunt Fran had indeed died while in mid sentence while talking to her husband and sister. I remember my grandmother being very upset and worried that Fran's soul or spirit would not be able to come and rest at home since she died so far from Ohio. I had a dream several days before her body was flown home that she was walking through the flowers by the basement door at my Grandma's house wearing a softly flowered and feminine dress and looked healthier that I had seen her in many months. She said to me, "Tell Mom not to worry, I am home and I am happy." As soon as I woke up, I told my Grandmother about the dream, which seemed to bring her much peace.
At the calling hours, I brought a doll with me to "comfort" myself (I was still a small child). I was sitting in a chair facing the coffin and playing with the dolls hair and all of a sudden I began braiding it!!! I was so surprised that I dropped the doll, but I quickly recovered from the shock and picked up my doll. I ran over to my Mom and showed her the beautiful braid I had put in the dolls hair. I knew my Aunt Fran had wanted to keep her promise to teach me how to braid. I will never forget what a sweet lady she was.
Let me begin by saying that my Grandfather, Lawerence C. Black, was the most gentle, loving man I have ever known. My real father was always in jail when I was little and my Mom divorced him when I was 3, so the only man in my life that I knew loved me and I could trust was my Grandpa. I loved combing his fine curly hair with a little comb and putting barrets in it. He made my childhood so special in so many ways. In November of 2004, I found out that I was pregnant with my first child. I was overjoyed as was my fiance (now my husband). My Grandpa had been put into a nursing home around 2001 due to Parkinson's disease that was stealing his ability to walk normally, speak easily and even hold his silverwear. His muscles would lock up, sometimes for hours at a time, and no one could move him. It broke my heart to see him in a nursing home, knowing how badly he just wanted to go back home. I tried to visit him as often as I could, but my ex-husband (not my current husband!) would not let me use 'his' car, and very rarely wanted to take me there to see Grandpa. But, I digress. After finding out I was pregnant, I told my family the good news at Thanksgiving and they were all excited...my family LOVES babies!
I was 5 months pregnant when my fiance, David, and I were able to have our wedding. We had just found out that I was going to have a baby boy. I was worried that my Granddad wouldn't be able to make it, as his Parkinson's was getting worse. He had almost died several times from pneumonia, and his reflexes were very bad. But my family got him there, and I asked him to walk me down the aisle. He happily obliged even though he could barely talk anymore, and it made my special day twice as special. I was only the second woman in my family to be given away at their wedding...the first was my Mom. That was March 20th of 2005.
In mid-May of the same year, my Mom called to tell me that Grandpa had been put in the hospital again due to a blockage. I drove to Newark the next day to see him (I lived in Chandlersville - near Zanesville at the time). He seemed to be in good spirits, all considered. It was hard to understand him when he talked, due to the Parkinson's making his voice softer and somewhat stuttery, but he talked to David and I about our baby on the way. He joked about us naming it Calvin (his middle name) while he managed to eat a little of his dinner. David and I drove back home after saying goodbye as Grandpa was falling asleep.
We were having a yard sale that week, when my Mom called me again, saying that Grandpa had been taken our of the hospital and returned to the nursing home, but now was in hospice there. She said his organs were failing and he wasn't going to make it. I was devastated. It had only been two days since I had visited him in the hospital and he seemed pretty well then. I drove back to Newark the next day. When I got there, he was still talking a little and conscious at least part of the time. I was 7 months pregnant and all of the nurses said "You must be his grand-daughter that he's been talking about! He is always going on about how proud he was to walk you down the aisle at your wedding! And he's always talking about your baby, too! He says you should name him Lawerence or Calvin." I was so surprised that I had to run to the restroom and cry for 20 minutes. I have always known that my Grandpa loved me, but I didn't know he was so pound of me and happy he was that I asked him to give me away. I am tearing up now, sitting at the library typing this.
I stayed there most of the day and into the night. By 11pm, he could no longer speak and was not conscious at all. We all took turns wiping his forehead with cool cloths and trying to keep him comfortable. I wanted to spend the night, as I knew it would not be long before he passed on, but being as pregnant as I was and so sad and upset, I decided to go home and spend the night with my husband (who had stayed at home because of the yard sale). When I got home, I told my husband about the nurses telling me how proud he was of me and I cried for a long time. When I finally got to sleep I did not remember dreaming. Then, at 6:30 in the morning I woke up with the only dream I remember having fresh in my mind.
In the dream, I was back at the nursing home, getting ready to go in my Grandpa's room. There was a warm, inviting yellow light filling the entire room. Once I walked in the door, I saw my Aunt Fran standing at the foot of Grandpa's bed and reached her hand out to him and said, "Come on, Dad, it's time to go home." Then a glowing image of himself rose from his body and went to my Aunt Fran and they both smiled at me and slowly became fainter and fainter until they and the warm light were completely gone. I got up and told my husband about my experience and how much more peace I felt than before. Several hours later, my Mom (who had stayed the night at the nursing home) called to tell me that Granddad had passed around somewhere between 6 and 7 that morning. I told her about the dream and what time it was that I had it. We went to the funeral several days later and I sang Amazing Grace as I tried to choke back the tears. I knew my Grandpa was in a better place and no longer suffered, but I could not help being sad that he was gone.
When I went to the casket to say my final good-byes, I started crying all over again...because on the inside of the coffin lid there was a design of birds flying away and it said "Going Home", just like what my Aunt Fran had said in my dream. The preacher that spoke at the funeral upset me so much because all he talked about was "hellfire and damnation"...how everyone that did not follow the church would spend an eternity in hell. I thought this was very inappropriate considering what a good and tolerant man my Grandpa was.
When we went to the cemetery for the burial, I was still upset at the preachers sermon, when all of a sudden I felt this overwhelming rush of love coming from the area around the coffin. I knew that it was my Grandpa's way of saying goodbye and letting me know he was ok.
I did not name my son after my Grandfather, because it would have been a constant reminder of my Granddad being gone. I wish he could have seen my baby boy, Parker Alexander when he was born, but I think he looks down on us every day. I keep a large portrait of my Grandfather on the dresser in Parker's room, so he will know who his Great- Grandpa was. They have the same big blue eyes and sweet smile.
Thanks so much for reading my story.