When I was about seven years old (around May 2001, I think), my granddad had to go to the hospital about a week before my mum, dad, me and my little sister were booked for a holiday to Florida. I was quite young, so I can't remember exactly why or what had happened to granddad to explain why he was in the hospital, but I think it was due to a stroke. I do remember visiting him in the hospital a few times before we left England though, and I do remember my mum considering canceling our holiday. I think he told us to go and not worry about him, and so a week later, we did. Now that I think back to it, my mum probably was still very worried about leaving for two weeks - not only was my granddad in the hospital, but my grandma had to go into a nursing home because granddad was the one who used to take care of her. My mum didn't act like she was worried though. She made sure that me and my sister had a good time, as that's mainly what I remember from that holiday besides something else that I'm about to explain.
Probably about a week into the holiday, I very clearly remember waking up in the night - guessing it was about midnight, but I really don't know what time it was. I heard some sort of banging on the roof, but whether that was relevant to what happened next, I don't know. The noise woke me up and for some reason; I remember pulling the covers over my head, as if I was very scared. It disturbed me, I know that. But I recall telling myself that it was just a maid or someone - why on the roof, I couldn't explain, but to this day I'm still skeptic on whether it had anything to do with what happened. I felt like there was something else besides my mum, dad, and sister in the room with us. That might have been why I pulled the covers over my head, and the banging I could hear was just making matters worse. The next thing I remember, however, is feeling something heavy climb onto the bed and up towards me and my sister (we were sharing a double bed). I remember thinking of a big, heavy cat as I stayed still, and I suppose that's still how I could describe what it felt like. It was only at the end of the bed. I even remember hearing the mattress creaking a little as the weight moved forward.
I don't know how long I stayed frozen under the covers, but at some point, I remember bolting up to a sitting position and looking at the end of the bed and around the room. There was nothing there, and there wasn't anything in the mirror facing me, besides myself. I could still feel something sitting on the bed and could hear a faint, gentle sound, like someone saying, "shhh..." and a sensation of someone tickling my knees. By then, I'd had enough and I jumped out of the bed to my mum. Clearly, I remember shouting, "Mummy! Mummy!" before I crawled in next to her and babbled on about there being something in my bed, or that I'd felt something on my bed. She wasn't very awake, but I remember her just putting her arm around me and telling me it was a bad dream.
I can't remember every detail that followed after that, but the next day, when we went swimming in the hotel pool, I was playing with my sister when I saw my dad come over to mum and tell her that my brother wanted to speak to her on the phone (a much older brother). I carried on playing in the pool, and then the next thing I remember is seeing my mum come back down in floods of tears. Obviously, I went to go and see what the matter was, and she must have told me that granddad had died. I don't remember her actually saying this, nor do I even remember getting out of the pool to ask her why she was crying, but at some point I was back in the pool when an American lady came up to me and asked, "Why is that lady crying?" then I just remember her comforting my mum and saying, "I am so sorry," over and over again. Later on, my mum asked me about what I'd felt last night, and she was amazed. Neither her or my dad had believed me at first when I carried on about it in the morning, but she suddenly began to take me seriously and went quite pale when I said I'd felt something tickling my knees. Apparently, my granddad used to tickle my knees when I was a baby and sing a little song that went like, "tickle her little wobbly knees..."
We all think it was my granddad saying goodbye. Even my older brother had an unusual experience in England around the same time - he was driving down a narrow country road with his girlfriend. If you're familiar with English country roads, you'll have a good idea of how narrow they are. He'd glanced away from the road for a second, when his girlfriend suddenly shouted out to get his attention and saw a truck heading straight towards them at a fast speed. There was no way to stop or swerve around it, and so he said that they both shut their eyes and just intended to let it happen. Nothing happened though. When they opened their eyes, the truck was behind them, off on its way. They were both shaking they'd been so scared. He thinks that might have had something to do with granddad as well, since it was around the same time that he died. When mum was clearing out granddad's bungalow, she couldn't find his favourite suit anywhere - they'd wanted to dress him in that for his funereal. To this day, nobody knows where that went. It had been there before he died, in his wardrobe.
It was strange, but I am glad he came to say goodbye and I was lucky enough to wake up and feel it. I've had strange experiences before, when I was much younger, but I can't remember them myself. I just know what my mum told me. I'll never forget that experience though.