A few weeks ago my husband and I went camping. His mom and her husband own a beautiful patch of land that is nestled up against the eastern border of Zion National Park. Tall pines, grassy meadows. It's a little slice of heaven. Being a pagan, all nature is sacred to me, but there is something extra special about this place.
This patch of land also happened to be near where my grandpa once owned land. I never knew him. He worked outside building roads during the 1950's. This was a time when the US Government was conducting nuclear tests in the nearby deserts of Nevada. They claimed there would be no negative effects to the people of Southern Utah due to fallout from the blasts, but they were wrong. My grandpa died of cancer in 1964 when my mom was only 14, and while my grandmother was pregnant with their 5th child. From the stories I've heard, he had a gentle, quiet strength. He was slow to anger, and loved the outdoors. He would play the guitar while he and my grandma sang old western songs. Needless to say, his death caused a ripple of sadness in the family that has lasted through the generations. (Eventually in the 90's, a class action lawsuit was held against the US government, and my grandma, along with others, was finally given some reparations.)
Anyway, back to my story.
We hadn't been able to get out for a fun outing since I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer earlier this spring. Since then I've had two surgeries, and while they went well, it kind of shook up my summer. So this was a chance to get out of the house and soak up some nature medicine. I'd been thinking a lot about my grandpa ever since my diagnosis, but on this day, the thoughts of him had become constant.
That night the moon was new as me and my husband sat around the crackling fire. The stars were brilliant and seemed to stretch through eternity. Still unable to pull my thoughts from my grandpa, I finally posed a question silently to myself "What are outside influences that could be impacting my thought patterns? Is there perhaps a spiritual reason for this?" Then I hear my own voice in my head say my grandpa's name. And I ask (in my head) "Grandpa?". A soft warmth wrapped itself around my shoulders and chest, like I was being hugged from behind. An exquisite warm peace filled my chest. The warmth around my shoulders faded that night, as did the constant thoughts of grandpa. But the peace in my heart remained.
Was this the spirit of my grandfather, coming to show comfort and support as I battle with the disease that killed him? I'd love to know your thoughts or if you've had similar experiences with family who have passed on that you never knew in life.