My maternal grandmother had a habit of collecting clothes pegs.
At age 78, my grandmother was still sharp and spry. I remember that whenever she folded newly-washed laundry, she used to like gathering the clothes pegs and shaping them into a mound in the middle of the bed where the errand was usually done.
When I was 14, she passed away from an illness that rendered her paralyzed for several weeks prior. It was the first death in my family and everyone was in grief. Most of us just could not wrap our heads around the thought that she was gone. For myself, I could not seem to imagine falling asleep at night without listening to her war stories, or waking up to the wonderful smell of the sweet potatoes she roasted every morning. But during her funeral wake, I had to come to terms with the reality of a beloved's loss.
Her wake was held in an aunt's house. Let me make this clear: no one was left at my own house. We turned off all the lights and locked all doors. My mother brought the keys and not one member of my family had them at any time during that night. That's why the events that followed still baffle me to this day.
In the morning, my mom and I decided to go back home to quickly check on things. When we got there, I went straight to my bedroom to nap. The moment I opened the door, I caught sight of something weirdly out of place. There was a mound of clothes pegs right smack in the middle of my bed. Moreover, there's a sleeping mat rolled neatly in one corner as if someone slept in the room during the night. I couldn't remember doing either of these things and I didn't even use the mat. My mom saw I was frozen by the door and went to stand beside me. Then she, too, was frozen.
I felt my skin break out in goose flesh. This seems funny to me now, but at that time my mom and I were scared. We booked it out of the house in a flash. I've never experienced something like it before and have not experienced it again after. I didn't know whether to believe the implications of what I saw.
It's been decades since she passed but I still think of her and miss her from time to time. She occasionally appears in my dreams. Whatever happened that time, I'd just like to think it was my grandma coming to say a final goodbye and letting us know she's still looking after us even if she can no longer be with us in this physical realm.