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Coming To Say Goodbye

 

I've been an avid reader in this site for about a year since having stumbled upon it but this will be my first time writing to share an experience. I have had several paranormal experiences in my life, though, fortunately, nothing so dramatic or utterly frightening as some that have been shared here. For my first share, I'll tell of three somewhat related experiences from my childhood as all have to do with my maternal grandmother.

In the wee hours of September 29, 1989, my maternal grandfather passed away after a battle with cancer that had spanned over several years. His wife, my grandmother, had lost that same battle only four months earlier. Being quite young, not yet five years old, my understanding of those tragic events was fuzzy at best - I didn't understand the concept of death yet and certainly not as it related to my life or people I loved - in my young mind, my grandmother had simply 'gone away' and I missed her very much. During the four months after losing his wife and before his own passing -he knew he was dying- my grandfather made every effort he could to spend as much time with me as possible. I can still remember having 'eggs in a cup' and rye bread toast with him in the mornings and 'learning to dance' standing on his feet as he danced around the kitchen to an old big band cassette tape - understanding what I do now of the nausea and weakness that comes with the level of chemotherapy he was taking, I understand just how much strength and love it took for him to do those things with me.

The morning of the 29th found me asleep in my bed when I was awoken by the sound of my bedroom door opening. It was my grandmother and grandfather. I was so happy to see my grandmother - I remember jumping out of bed and rushing to hug her so happy she'd come back home. I was crying with happiness and I could see she was crying too... Even my grandfather, always a very stayed individual, had tears in his eyes. I told them not to cry that grandmother was home now. They looked at each other then led me back to bed. I started to grow uneasy that there was something I wasn't understanding. I was still crying and starting to feel like it wasn't from joy anymore. I can't remember their exact words but they told me not to cry, that grandmother had come to get grandfather and they were both going away together. They told me they would never be far away but that they couldn't come home again. They tucked me in, told me they loved me, and left. Eventually, I went back to sleep as it was still very early.

At around 8AM, I got up and went downstairs - usually, I would go into the den that had been converted into a bedroom for my grandparents during their illness to have breakfast with my grandfather. The room was empty. My mother told me he had passed away during the night and been taken away hours before. I couldn't understand -my grandparents had been in my room just that morning- but I didn't know how to explain what had happened to my mother.

I realize now that my grandparents have always been there, just out of sight looking out for me in their way. After their passing, I would often hear them downstairs in the kitchen talking as I would fall asleep at night - again, I was young, 'death' was still a concept that I wasn't quite clear on and, sure, I was afraid of various imaginary boogeymen but the concept of ghosts or a family member being a ghost wasn't at all clear to me. In my youthful innocent perception, my grandparents were just 'there' just as they had said they would be. This went on for several years. Until, one night when I was 8 or 9...not quite so young anymore, I managed to fall out of the bed in my sleep - the fall and subsequent rude awakening left me disoriented, hurting and a bit scared. In my room, there was a table music box that my grandmother used to put me to sleep with when I was a baby, the sound had always calmed and reassured me. The music would only play if you lifted the top of the music box. As I sat there on the floor trying to reorient myself, the box opened and started to play. I was neither calmed nor reassured but instantly terrified. I jumped up and scrambled back into bed where I sat staring at the box before starting to cry. The moment I started to cry, the music stopped. After that, I never heard my grandparents in the kitchen again. I think it was my grandmother who turned on the music box just as she used to in hopes of comforting me - but I wasn't so young anymore, by 8 the concept of death and ghosts had become more concrete. The presence of a spirit was no longer something comforting but something frightening. I think they realized I was afraid and not wanting to scare me, retreated. Still to this day, I wonder what might have happened if I hadn't cried, hadn't been afraid - would they have stayed?

About a year later when I was nearly 10 - I had what I initially thought to be a peculiarly vivid nightmare. In it, I saw a very old house of white clapboard with four white columns on the front - what I would now describe as antebellum neoclassical. I stood about fifteen yards in front of the house on a green lawn. The sky was gray and wind blew in the trees. I seemed to know- as one often just 'knows' things in dreams- that the house had been set up for tours and, because the floors were too damaged by termites to be safe, numbers had been put in the windows so a guide could point to them and explain what the rooms had been. I stood there all alone watching the wind blow the numbers up against the gauzy curtained windows. Suddenly, I heard a rumbling behind me, the ground was shaking - I whirled 'round to see a mounted hunting party, baying dogs running about between the legs of the oncoming horses, bearing directly down on me. At the very last instant, the lead rider saw me, I could see sadness and panic in his eyes because it was too late, the horse reared, and the last thing I knew was the agony of the horse's hoof landing on my chin. I jerked awake screaming, trembling, covered in a cold sweat and weeping - my leg in serious pain, there would be a bruise the next day - never before or since has any dream been so real.

A few days later, I was helping my mom in the attic going through her mother's old trunks filled with heirlooms from her family going back hundreds of years. Those trunks had always held such glamor and mystery to me but I had never seen inside so I was more than eager to have my first look. She passed me an ancient photo album and carefully I began to leaf through when suddenly, I froze, there on the first page were four photos - in each was a man with dogs, a large old house in the background, one photo showed him on horseback - it was all there, the same man, the same dogs, that house... From my nightmare. I asked my mother about them and she explained that was my great grandfather (her mother's father) at his home, one of the plantations he owned in South Carolina where they used to breed the setters in the pictures. It wasn't until a decade later when I was in college idly googling family names trying to see what sort of genealogical information I could dig up on the internet that the true significance of the 'dream' came clear - again, I found a picture of the house, a distant family member unknown to me had posted it... Along with a post script - the date of its demolition... It was the same date as my dream all those years ago.

If you have born with me through all of that, thank you for your patience, and I do apologize, I had not intended to run on so long.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, AugustaM, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Jubeele (4 stories) (228 posts)
 
2 months ago (2017-10-03)
What a lovely, poignant story. Your love for your grandparents comes across so clearly. I feel the musical box was indeed an attempt at communication by them.

Interesting about your dream about the house and the hunt and you great-grandfather. You could've tapped into some echo of the past in a heightened state.

Really enjoyed reading about it. Thanks very much for sharing it.
KikiGirl (8 stories) (207 posts)
-1
8 months ago (2017-03-06)
AugustaM, thank-you for sharing such a personal, comforting and emotional experiences. I was sincerely touched by the story about your Grandparents! I do believe that ghosts understand if a person is afraid or scared and will retreat. Particularly, if the ghost is a family member who is looking over you and that is genuinely not their intention.
Sarah (1 stories) (50 posts)
 
2 years ago (2016-04-20)
Hi,

I really enjoyed reading your post. It was very interesting especially the part about your grandmother visiting you when she collected your grandfather.

Thanks for sharing x
AugustaM (2 stories) (398 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2016-03-21)
Hello all! Let me apologize for having taken so long to respond! It's been a very busy few weeks and I just can't seem to access this site and spend less than a few hours going through stories so I've had to keep myself away if I was to have a chance of getting anything done! But, here I am and let me see if I can answer some questions. And thank you all for reading and your kind words!

DandK,
I'm not sure if they dream was a reference to an accidental death or more a symbol of the death of the house - sadly, since many courthouses were burned during the war between the states, records are, indeed, quite scarce.

I have had a few dreams that were somewhat similar to that but along different lines - most of them I would later come to realize had been very direct warnings...warnings, I might add, that I was to thick to heed.

Hi Calamity,
No offense taken - don't worry:) There's never anything wrong with asking questions:) Let me see if I can address everything.

The use of the word 'baying' was a bit of poesie on my end. The dogs were barking and making all manner of excited dog sounds and were very clearly Lewellyn Setters also known as English Setters.

In terms of it being a mounted hunting party - I was ten, that's how I interpreted what I was seeing, that doesn't have to be the only interpretation - the man was wearing a riding jacket and the dogs were running about between the horses. Maybe he had just returned from hunting, maybe he hadn't been hunting at all but surveying the property and the dogs were greating him on his return. Maybe the area where they preferred to hunt was a ways a way and they chose to ride to get there - arthritis is very common on my mom's side of the family, a long walk may not have been comfortable to him. The group, when I saw it, wasn't actively hunting, they were returning to the house so the dogs weren't running ahead on a scent but coming home. It may also be a question of perspective - I was short and standing on the ground and they were right in front of me, it may have looked from where I stood like the dogs were running between the horses when really they were somewhat out in front I simply lacked the elevation to perceive that gap. Or maybe dogs in psychically induced dreams don't behave precisely as they do in real life.

The bit about the chin versus shin - that was a typo that autocorrect was so kind to have inserted for me. I simply didn't catch it when I was proof reading. But, yes, I had intended for it to read shin - whereas my chin was completely unaffected;). My mom never asked about the bruise, I don't think - if she did I probably told her I'd gotten it playing.

As to how I knew the date of the dreams - I was a rotten diarist as a child but always loved the romantic notion of keeping a diary. My entries were sporadic at best but when something really effecting happened, I often wrote that down - the dream rated recording. And, just as I had been taught in school, I dutifully dated everything I ever wrote. Thereby, I had the date - I never really forgot it anyway... As though it was something important, something I needed to remember.

Well, I think that's everything:)
Cheers!
-Gus
Calamity (2 stories) (53 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2016-03-04)
Miracles,
No offense taken! I can tend to be too literal at times, and babygoatpuller made me look at the story from a different point of view. A very valid one at that.

Like I said, I hope I'm not discouraging AugustaM. I do look forward to reading more from her. 😁

Jane
Calamity (2 stories) (53 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2016-03-04)
babygoatpuller,
One of the things I like so much about this site is that we all bring different points of view to what we read. I very much like your take on what I was questioning and you may well be correct.

I agree that in the dream hounds would have been what AugustaM would have attributed to the hunting scene. She does say though that the "same dogs" from her dream were in the picture. You do make me wonder about the strange symbolism that is often in dreams. Heaven knows some of mine are pretty out there!

I am still curious about the bruise though.

All in all this story was a great read and I hope AugustaM doesn't get discouraged with my questions. I look forward to more from her.

Sincerely,

Jane
Miracles51031 (36 stories) (4802 posts) mod
+1
2 years ago (2016-03-03)
babygoatpuller - you made a valid point. My precognitive dreams involve symbolism. Sometimes people (no offense, Calamity 😊) discount those dreams because the symbols aren't exact.
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (369 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2016-03-03)
I loved reading this account Augusta. The length of it just provides the great details so makes it all the more fascinating. It's so well written I could almost hear the music box playing, the dogs baying and the thundering hooves. Going into my favs also.

Calamity- I think you're over-interpreting the dream. I believe the symbolism is that there were dogs involved and the particular breed is not important. Hounds are usually associated with hunting with horses and in Augusta's sub-conscious would be the logical breed in the dream.
Calamity (2 stories) (53 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2016-03-03)
AugustaM,
First, let me compliment you on this story. It was incredibly well written, in fact a lovely story and sentiment. I am therefore afraid I may get some people a bit peeved by what I have to say.

I have some issues with some of the story. Let me ask you if you could maybe clarify some things for me. You write of the vivid nightmare you had in which you saw:

"a mounted hunting party, baying dogs running about between the legs of the oncoming horses bearing directly down on me".

Then you later you saw:

"four photos- in each was a man with dogs, a large old house in the background, one photo showed him on horseback - it was all there, the same man, the same dogs, that house... From my nightmare. I asked my mother about them and she explained that was my great grandfather (her mother's father) at his home, one of the plantations he owned in South Carolina where they used to breed the setters in the pictures."

Well I am a bit confused. Setters don't bay. Hounds bay. Setters don't run about between the legs of horses on a hunt. Nor do hounds run about between horses legs on a hunt. Hounds run far ahead of the horses leading horse and hunter to the prey.

Setters, while certainly used for hunting, are not used for hunting with horses. They are used to locate birds (called setting, hence the name Setter) while the hunter is on foot behind the dogs. Setters and hounds are used to hunt very different game. Hounds have historically been used to hunt fox and raccoon among other things.

I am curious how you knew that the date of your dream coincided with the demolition of the house?

Did you have a bruise on your chin as well as your leg the morning after your nightmare? You mention the agony you felt when the horse's hoof landed on your chin but not your leg. How did you explain the bruise to your mother?

Look, I realize I may just be nitpicking. If that is the case then I sincerely apologize. I suppose if I'm really honest I must admit I truly want to believe your story, so I hope you can explain these questions I have.

To those I'm sure to offend with my skepticism let me apologize now. I certainly do not want to offend anyone.

Sincerely,

Jane
DandK (9 stories) (287 posts)
 
2 years ago (2016-03-01)
AugustaM, your experience with your grandparents is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. I wonder if some time when your grandmother knows you're comfortable with it, if she will make her presence know again like she did with the music box.

I'm really fascinated by your dream. It seems like you were reliving someone else's accidental death. It's too bad you can't find out about that through records. Probably too long ago and too many unknowns.

I'm curious if you've had any other dreams like this?

DandK
Macknorton (5 stories) (533 posts)
 
2 years ago (2016-03-01)
Thanks AugustaM - great story, beautifully told and very moving. Such a strong love from your Grandparents!
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2016-03-01)
Augusta, goodness me, I truly believe there would have been an outpouring of grief from this house in one way or another. It was obviously a very well loved dwelling and clearly still is.
I adore old homes and feel a sense of grief when an old home is demolished or even modenised to the point it's unrecognisable, as is so popular now. So I can understand your raw emotions with this beautiful house.
Houses kind of remind me of trees in a sense. I feel, like trees, houses have a silent awareness, for lack of a better description. I'm so sorry to hear of the idiotic shady dealing that went on with it. But at it's core it will always be loved, nothing can take that away. ❤
AugustaM (2 stories) (398 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2016-03-01)
Thank you, spiritwaiting and Tweed for reading and your kind words!

I've long wondered why my ancestors reached out to me on the night of the demolition - I was so young, there was nothing I could have done, it may have been too late by then for even an adult to have done anything to avert the destruction. The house had fallen into disrepair since a father left it to his three daughters - by the time of his passing they all had children of their own and no one could decide who would take responsibility for it... It was late the 19thC in the South, money was very tight everywhere. There were sporadic attempts at maintenance here and there over the years but the Southern climate has no mercy for the works of man once he turns his back. By the time my mother last saw it in the 1970s, termite damage had taken such a toll that they were too hesitant to climb to the second floor.

In the years after that dream, I could never fully erase the images of that house and the stories that surrounded it from my mind. I nagged my mother to tell me over and over again. I dreamed of one day visiting and seeing it for myself - dreamed of winning the lottery and going to rescue it from the creeper and termites and time. It was one of the reasons I developed an interest in and eventually took a degree in archaeology.

I learned as I was putting things together in college that the house and land had been sold (illegally) by a man dscended from one of those long ago sisters. He sold the entirety of the property (though he owned barely a fraction of it) on his deathbed to his son for $1 - the very next day, the son had sold to developers for a small fortune.

So, Tweed, your question remains - why did my ancestors reach out to me? I feel like the house was some kind of locus. In the South, we're known for our pride - especially in our land and our families. So much emotion had been poured into that land and that house, I wonder if the destruction caused some kind of psychic explosion of grief. I remember waking from the dream feeling like my heart was breaking. Perhaps, they didn't reach out just to me but I was simply the only one listening - or maybe others in the family had similar experiences but simply dismissed them. I've always born a very strong connection to the past, maybe it made me a receiver.
spiritwaiting (34 stories) (804 posts)
 
2 years ago (2016-03-01)
Augusta,
I really enjoyed reading all parts of this.
Your grandparents are never far away. It could be they watch over you at a distance, so they won't creep you out 😆.
It does to me seem she tried comforting you, and not knowing it would scare you, started to try and comfort you.

Now with the vivid dream.
Thats the most exciting part!
I truly believe in past lives,experiences,and memories.
To me, this definitely sounds like one of them.
And your ancestor was there with you.
You may have shared this particular "Dream" with him, because for one reason or another he was reaching out to you.
I don't know but, these are just my thoughts. 😊
Awesome experience!
Thanks for sharing

Sincerely
Spiritwaiting
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
2 years ago (2016-03-01)
Augusta, this is an instant fave, thanks for sharing.

Don't apologise for the length, tisk tisk. Nothing wrong with it whatsoever. You wrote this so well. I don't have much to say. Just that I absolutely loved every second of reading this and hope you share more.
I wondered if the dream and photos connection were a means of confirmation by some of your relatives on the other side. Perhaps either your grandparents or another relative wanted to communicate this with you for some reason, pass on a message perhaps. Or perhaps this event in your family history together with other details about the house was used to prove they're still around you. Do you have a feeling or theory about why that dream and that house?
I'm so happy your grandparents visited you that morning and with such vivid presence. That's love. ❤

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