I'm sure everyone has had that random moment in time when you're driving along in the car or you're out at the store and a song comes on that reminds you of a loved one. It happens to me every so often. I find it's a nice time to reflect on memories of that person, whether they're still alive or deceased. And, until now, I secretly liked to think that if it was a song that I associated with someone who's passe, d that it was their way of saying hello. I say "secretly" because, up until this crazy experience of mine, I thought how is it humanly possible for someone who has died to communicate to you through music? It's crazy talk I tell you! Well, that's what I thought. I don't think that way anymore and I'll tell you my story now.
My husband, daughter, and I were shopping at the grocery store late one evening in December. After loading the car full of groceries and getting ready to head home, the topic of 'What's for dinner' came up. Naturally you'd think that after an hour of grocery shopping you'd take your groceries home and cook something there. Nope! Not us! We headed across the street to a somewhat new Coney restaurant that we hadn't tried out yet.
The place was pretty much deserted. There were maybe one or two other families seated. The food was blah... The service was blah... It was the two man band that had gotten my attention that night.
You can tell a restaurant is lacking when they have to hire bands to come in to perform in order to try and boost sales. This Coney had done just that. It was a two man band set up with a keyboard and a guitar. From what I can remember I believe one of them played the harmonica as well. Nothing special. Their voices weren't particularly great either but it was entertainment to say the least. My daughter was loving it so that made me happy.
They had started with some old rock classics and then made a drastic switch over to classic movie songs. They played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz, one of my all time favorite movies. They follow with "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music, another one of my favorites. So my daughter and I are singing along as my husband is laughing at us and rolling his eyes on the other side of the table. We're having a good time. Then they switch it up again to Elvis Presley covers and it's at this very moment that I get this overwhelming feeling that my grandfather is there with me.
Let me rewind and explain that my grandfather had passed away this same year on my daughter's birthday in February (2013). My grandmother passed unexpectedly 15 years prior. As a child, and still to this day, I've loved Elvis. So for every birthday, Christmas, and sometimes just out of the blue, for as long as I can remember, he'd send me pieces of Elvis memorabilia, collector's items, and CDs/DVDs. It was something special between the two of us.
I'm also going to explain (and yes this has EVERYTHING to do with the story) that my grandparents' favorite holiday was Christmas. They were very much about family and that's why I think it meant so much to them. So much so that, after my grandfather's passing, in his Last Will and Testament he had left for his children and grandchildren his most beloved Christmas collectibles. The rest of their collection was to be sorted between my dad, aunt, and uncle.
Okay. Back to the story.
So this two man band starts playing Elvis. Normally when an Elvis song comes on I think of my grandfather, have my little moment, and then it's done. The feeling I got when they started singing, like I said, was so unbelievably overwhelming. It's very hard to put into words but I definitely felt his presence. And they didn't just play one song. They played three of my favorites back to back.
By the end of the third song I had calmed back down. The feeling had pretty much gone away and I was able to go back to finishing my meal. And then they started playing again... My grandmother's song... "Perhaps Love" sung by John Denver and Placido Domingo. This isn't a song that you hear every day on the radio and not a whole lot of people are familiar with it. It's a song that she loved very much and I even danced to it with my dad on my wedding day. It gave me chills. The hairs on my arms and back of my neck stood up straight. I thought my eyes were going to bug out of my head. I looked over at my husband and I knew, just from his look, that he was weirded out as well.
I immediately picked up my cell phone and called my dad. He didn't answer the first time but on my second try my aunt, who lives in Maryland (we're located in Michigan) answered the phone. I was confused at first. Then she explained that they had finally sold my grandfather's house and my dad had flown out to help them move what remained of his belongings into storage. He couldn't come to the phone because he, along with my aunt and uncle, were going through my grandparents' most prized possessions (their Christmas collectibles and decorations) trying to decide who got what. And apparently the whole process had them extremely emotional and overwhelmed.
She didn't have to say anymore. I knew right then that it wasn't a coincidence that this two man band had played what they did that night. I knew it was my grandparents' way of saying "Hello".