I recently submitted a story titled "Lingering Great Grandparents" about my house. I neglected to mention one of the more strange things that have happened. On one occasion, I was laying in my bed when my television turned on. Only it was just really loud static, as if a VCR had been left on or something. I didn't think much of it, as an older TV in another part of the house turned itself on and off all the time. But what made me stop in my tracks is when I got up and walked over to notice that the TV wasn't even plugged into the wall. At all.
But I digress. What I want this post to be about is some heartwarming experiences I have experienced myself or that I have witnessed or heard about.
When I was 10 years old my Mamaw, whom I was incredibly close to, passed away. It was sudden and none of us had a chance to say goodbye. I was terribly affected because it was not only the first death I'd ever experienced, but it was someone who I could not imagine my life without. I was heartbroken, but I was more concerned with making sure the people around me were okay.
Even at that age I had a huge heart. I remember being so afraid that my Papaw would be depressed and lonely. After 50+ years of marriage, I knew that this would be hard for him to cope with. I did not know what I could do to help except be there for him, so that's what I did. I always loved writing, so I began writing stories for him. Looking back now, the stories were silly, but I had good intentions. I would write stories about things that he loved, like birds, and give them to him to read.
One particular day I finished a story and decided to take it to his house. We lived only one house away from him and we had a golf cart that me and my sister played on. So I hopped on the golf cart and drove right up the road to Papaw's house. His truck was gone, he was at work. I decided to just leave the story tucked into the screen door for him to find when he got home that night. It took me a minute to shimmy the paper in there and as I did this, I heard something inside. I could hear what sounded like footsteps in slippers shuffling around. They were light steps and I was perplexed knowing it wasn't my grandfather so I put my ear to the door.
The room on the other side of this door was sort of like a laundry room. It had a bathroom door, a door to the back porch, a door to the kitchen and the rest of the house, and then a bedroom door. I heard those footsteps walk around that room and open each and every one of those doors and then close them after a few seconds. I followed the sound until it opened the bathroom door and closed it. I knew that the next door in line was the one I was standing at so I panicked. I realized I had been listening for too long and that I might have put myself in danger, thinking it must be an intruder.
I jumped on the golf cart and drove it as fast as it would go back to my parent's house. I told my dad, he grabbed a weapon and inspected Papaw's house. He came back and said all of the doors were locked, yet no windows were broken to allow anyone inside. He found nothing missing or out of place. He also said nobody would have had time to get away quick enough because it only took him 15 seconds to get to the house.
Later that night I was talking to my mom about it. She told me she had a theory about what I heard. She said she suspected it was my Mamaw, checking up on Papaw. Perhaps inspecting the house to make sure he was learning how to keep it clean (lol) and just keeping an eye on things. While this may have been her way of comforting me, or herself, I believed it regardless. It made sense. Mamaw always wore this particular bath robe and slippers around the house, it sounded like a very small person walking, and who else would just open every door and look into the room and then close it?
It wasn't until later that I remembered a dream I had previous to this experience. I dreamed that I was in that very laundry room in Papaw's house and my grandmother was in there. We were holding hands and spinning as we floated above the floor. I was crying and I said, "I miss you, Mamaw. I love you" and she looked at me, smiled and said, "I love and miss you too, angel."
After hearing what I did in that same room, I felt like there was a connection between that and the dream. I took it as my grandmother's way of telling me goodbye. While it didn't ease the pain or heartache that I feel to this day (I'm crying as I write this), it did help me to keep going.
I do apologize for this story being so long. I'm a very detailed person and I don't want to leave anything out.
The next part of the story comes a few years later, when my grandfather on my dad's side passed away. Just a few years after the passing of my maternal grandmother, my paternal grandfather also passed away suddenly, of the same affliction, surprisingly. It came as a shock to his wife and 4 kids, who could not process his death. The entire family was grief stricken and unsure of how to go on without his humorous, jolly personality. He was sort of the light of the family.
Over the next few months, Papaw visited everyone is different ways, to say goodbye. My dad's experience, which I witnessed, was mind boggling.
My grandmother was out of town, and everyday my dad would check her mail and take it inside for her. This particular day I was riding with him.
A side note is that my Papaw and my dad loved to golf. Shortly before his death, my dad had bought my Papaw some golf balls. After his passing, each of the kids were searching through his things, looking for some keepsakes to remember him by. My dad had searched high and low for those golf balls. They should have been in his golf bag, on his golf cart. But daddy couldn't find them anywhere in the house or elsewhere.
Anyways, that day we pulled into my grandmother's house to drop off the mail. As we pulled into the carport, my dad noticed something on the ground. Right in the middle of Papaw's old parking spot was one of those golf balls. Just sitting there, out of the blue, right where his truck would have been. Daddy had no explanation for this, as Mamaw was out of town and nobody else had been to the house. My dad just felt in his heart that his father was telling him goodbye, in his own special way.
One day my grandmother was standing at her kitchen sink, looking out the window kind of day dreaming, thinking about Papaw and how much she missed him. All of a sudden all she could smell was cigarette smoke. It was so strong that it made her forget for a split second that Papaw was gone. She just knew he must be standing right behind her with the scent of cigarettes on his clothes. But of course, he wasn't there. She didn't smoke, nobody was home, and Papaw never smoked in the house. There was no explanation for the smell. It was just as if Papaw had passed through to tell her goodbye also, and give her a little bit of peace.
The next story is perhaps the most hard to believe. My dad's brother, Jim, had also been searching for a box of things that belonged to his dad. The box was at his home, he knew, but he couldn't find it in the house, in the shed, or anywhere on the property. He was saddened by this, thinking he had lost Papaw's possessions. Then one day, after he gave up the search, the box just miraculously appeared, sitting in the middle of a table in his shed. He knew Papaw had put it there.
Not long after this, my uncle Jim had a dream about Papaw. He dreamed that Papaw walked up to him, and then walked all around his motorcycle, just looking at it. He never spoke, just continued to look at the bike. Then, he took the side rear-view mirror in his hands, moved it a little and looked at my uncle. He stared at my uncle, glanced back to the mirror, wiggled it around a little more, and looked back at my uncle. Mere days after this dream, my uncle was riding his motorcycle down the highway when that exact mirror broke and flew off, barely missing his head. Now that is something that no matter how I try, I cannot explain it away. Sure it could be an insane coincidence, but my whole family is convinced Papaw Jim had come back to say his final goodbyes to his family.
Finally, I saw him. Or his doppleganger. My family was camping out of town, and was visiting a reservoir, looking out over the dam. I looked to my right to see a man that was identical to my grandfather. I don't remember if I was even able to form words, I just remember looking at my dad to see that he too had tears in his eyes and I knew he had seen him too. It was all I could do to keep myself from running up this stranger and hugging him. It was difficult, but once again, it helped me personally find some peace with my Papaw's death by knowing that he cared enough about me to visit me one last time.
Once again, I apologize for the length of this story, and for all the rambling that I did. This is something that is very dear to my heart. Its been 14 years and I still get choked up. I know that skeptics will explain away everything I have shared here as imagination, coincidence, luck or whatever else. But I'll always carry those memories with me, and nobody can take that away from me.
Thanks for reading and bearing with me!