My Grandpa was an amazing man and we were always very close. He always did everything humanly possible to make life good, first for my mother and uncles, than for me and my brother. When I was little he would always take me on long walks that would always seem to end with a trip to a park or ice cream store.
We even had our own "secret park". We called it that because it was at the end of a dead-end street, was surrounded by trees and bushes and no one ever seemed to go there but us.
In the last few years Grandpa was unable to go on long walks because of sore knees and back, so we would hang out in his garage or basement and spend hours talking. As I'm sure you can tell I love him very much, so it was a horrible shock last December when my Mom called to say Grandpa had a stroke and was in the hospital. At the time I was in school, 800 kilometers from home and 1000 from my Grandpa. I had a plane ticket home for when I finished my exams so I kept myself going thinking I would see him soon.
It was my exam week, 3 weeks after Grandpa's stroke. My Grandpa had already lived longer than anyone had expected although he has half paralyzed, and in a deep coma. It was Tuesday night; I had one exam on Wednesday and was flying home on Thursday. I had gone to early that night but was unable to sleep and was thinking about Grandpa. I began to feel like we were together, so I began to talk to him, telling him I loved him and missed him. I was telling him goodbye.
The next day I did my exam, finished packing, and went out with friends. When I got home my parents called me. Grandpa had died. The night before my entire family had gathered in his room with his priest. At one point the priest and my Mom were talking and Rev. Paula said she couldn't understand what he was holding on for. "It's like he's waiting for something" she said. When Mom heard that she said, "Oh Paula I told him Kate would be home on Thursday, maybe he's waiting for her..." After that they went to him and said that I was with him in spirit. It was at that same moment that I felt he was there in my room with me and I said goodbye.
In January, after the funeral, Christmas, and my return to school, I had a strange dream. It was the most realistic dream I've ever had. I was at my Grandparents house and it was summer and I could even smell the flowers and feel the heat of the sun and the ground under my bare feet. I was cleaning out my Grandpa's truck, and there were other people around me, working in the yard. I looked up and saw my Grandpa walking down the street, away from me.
I first thought "But he's dead" then decided I didn't care and tried to follow him but the other people in the yard came up around me. One put his hand on my shoulder and said "It's not time, you can't follow him yet..." I cried but stayed where I was and watched walk down the street towards our secret park and disappear behind the trees. When I woke the next morning that was the first day I truly accepted he was gone.
In March I was really struggling. I was still trying to accept Grandpa's death, then my Aunt died and another Aunt became very ill. Then a boy who lived down the hall from me killed himself. Going back to my place after school after all these things happened I was climbing the stairs when I could smell something that was just like my Grandpa's garage. Strange as it may sound, it made me feel a lot better, but I didn't think much of it.
Later in my room I was sitting at my desk when suddenly I could smell my Grandpa. It was a mix of his aftershave, soap, and just his personal smell. It was sudden and strange enough that I began to sniff around trying to find where it was coming from (and probably looking completely nuts in the process). The smell came from behind and slightly to the right of my chair. It didn't scare me, it was comforting.
Several times over the next few days I would smell him and sometimes it would feel like a hand was on my shoulder. At night I would hear slow deep breathing on the other side of my room, sounding like someone was asleep over there. Along with the smells, sounds and touches, was the strong feeling of love and protection. I know my grandpa had come to help me through this horrible time when I was so far away from my family.
After about a week of this I began to feel stronger and think that Grandpa shouldn't feel he should stay on earth with me but should be in heaven. So I said "Grandpa I love you and miss you, but I'll be alright. You don't have to stay anymore and I'll see you again one day..." After saying that I felt like I was surrounded with love, it felt like a hug. Then he was gone.
I haven't felt Grandpa physically close to me. I miss him but I know I'll see him again one day.