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New Jersey, USA
July 1998

I'll never forget that Thanksgiving more than twenty years ago. My mother always invited a few extra guests for the holiday meal, usually people who had no family in town. One of the invited guests was an elderly man named Don, who lived in a nursing home several blocks from our house. All of us kids just adored him because he would sit with us for hours playing games and doing magic tricks. Our grandfather had passed away several years before, and Don was our "adopted" grandfather.

It was snowing outside, and my brother, my sister, and I were sitting by an upstairs window watching the snow fall and looking for the familiar sight of Don walking up the street.

The phone rang and I ran to answer it, knowing that mom was busy in the kitchen. It was a lady who worked at the nursing home. After calling mom to the phone, I ran back to where my brother and sister were.

As I walked into the room, my brother shouted, "There he is!"

I quickly glanced out the window and there was Don standing there smiling and looking up at us and waving. We all hurried downstairs, anxious to let him in the door.

At first I didn't even notice the sad look on my mother's face. When we told her we saw Don and that he would be at the door any second now, she started crying.

"I'm afraid not, sweetheart." She could barely get the words out. "The phone call was from Mrs. White at the nursing home. Don passed away a short time ago."

Naturally, none of us wanted to believe it. When we went to look outside where we had just seen him standing, no one was there. We were all sure that it was him. I realize now that he was just saying goodbye to us that day.

New Jersey, USA
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