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Grandpa Says Goodbye

Michelle Whitney, Alaska, USA
February 2007

This is a story throughout my life. The things that I am describing are just strange, not really scary. I have seen many things before they happen, mostly when I was younger. I dreamed of airplane crashes, and the next evening I saw the footage I had dreamed about on the news. I really freaked my parents out for a while. My dad now accepts that when I tell him to check on a relative, he should really take heed of what I say.

When I was a kid, I was really close to my maternal Grandfather, Eric. This is important to know how close. My brother and I were the only grandchildren that really visited him. He had five kids, and each of them had two to three kids- do the math and he had 15 grand kids, but only two really visited outside of Christmas.

I was a "weird" girl for that time. I loved my Grandmother's huge doll collection, and I loved sighting in the rifles, hearing deer hunting stories from my dad and grandpa, and going fishing with the guys too.
My Grandpa and my brother talked about my brother's hockey games and other things in life. We lived two hours away from him, but regularly went to see him or we had him stay at our house.

Now, in 1990 my Grandfather was 81 years old and starting to get sick. Right before Thanksgiving of that year, he was bedridden. He went into the hospital at the beginning of December. He came home for a few days around Christmas, but went back in soon after. We all knew it was time. He was not going to make it out of there. The family was called to his bedside.

My family and I visited him many times before he passed. On January 5th we drove up to the hospital to see him again. He looked at my brother and promised him he would be at his hockey game that weekend. He told me that everything would be fine. We told him we loved him and he told us goodbye.

The next morning I went to school (I was 12, so still in elementary school). I was in music class ? I remember this more clearly than most things in my life. I looked at the clock in the room; it was 10:13 AM. As I looked at the clock, the room around me faded, and I was back in my Grandfather's hospital room. I was there, but far back in the room observing. I saw nurses and doctors rushing around, I heard a heart monitor that is beeping really fast. Then I heard the doctors' voices. I could hear them clearly, they were saying things like arrhythmia and calling for different drugs to get his heart working properly. Then, the heart monitor went flat line ? and my grandmother, who I had not noticed in the room before, started crying. As the room faded, I heard the doctors tell her that he had had a long life, and then the music room that I was in became clear to me. I was still looking at the clock. I thought to myself ? "was that real?" I wasn't scared, I was comforted that someone had chosen to share that with me, but I didn't know IF it had happened, but part of me believed I had seen it ? after other things I had seen.

I went home from school that afternoon to find my mom really upset ? it was my Girl Scout meeting night ? I remember she tried to cancel it. I remember the dining room was filled with girl scouts and my mom pulling me into the kitchen. She told me very quietly that my grandfather had passed away this morning. I looked at her and asked "when?" She thought this question was odd, not the crying she would have expected from a sensitive 12 year old. She told me it was at about 10:15 this morning. I looked at her, then at the floor before I said quietly "I knew". Nothing much was said about this, my mother was too upset about her father passing.

We prepared for his funeral, but my brother and I refused to stop our events that were important to us ? Grandpa would not have wanted that to happen, we kept telling mom and dad. My brother had a hockey game that weekend, as I mentioned in the part about the conversation with Grandpa earlier. We went to the funeral a few days later. Nothing interesting happened - besides that the only person that didn't make it to my grandfather's bedside before he died was the ONLY person that was crying at the church. Everyone else had a sense of peace with his death. None of my other cousins have ever come forward with a story of Grandpa coming to them, and I have been close with most of them over the years since.

A few months later my brother and I were talking and I ended up telling him about being in Grandpa's hospital room ? I did not tell my parents till a LONG time later. He confided in me that Grandpa had been to see him, too. He had seen Grandpa at his hockey game (the one Grandpa had promised to be at). He had felt Grandpa's presence cheering him on. We felt very strongly that we had been in Grandpa's presence and that he had reassured us that he would always watch over us. My mom was a bit disappointed that her father had come to visit us and not her, they had been close. These days I figure it is a grandparent thing.

When my mother passed away a few years ago, my niece ? the only grandchild my mother had, was not as shocked or as upset as the rest of us were when my mother suddenly passed away. My niece was actually calm, although deeply saddened, as my mom and she were closer than any grandma/grandchild I have ever known could be. Maybe Mom visited her ? but that story will be left to her to tell. She still tells anyone that asks her about her grandma, that her Grandma is in Heaven, and she will see her one day (she says it with that "matter of fact" tone that only a young child can really do. The things that happened after my mom passed away will wait for another day. Like I said, it isn't scary, it was very comforting to me and my brothers.

Michelle Whitney, Alaska, USA
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