September 8, 2006
Great Grandpa's ReturnRate this encounter: Rocky, Mill Spring, Missouri, 1973
This encounter was not a scary one, but one that made me understand that when you die it is not the end.
My Great grandfather had just passed away this very day after being with us for 96 years, it was an easy passing. He loved to set in his chair and look out a large window while smoking his cigar and watching the kids and the birds play.
We had set him in his chair for the morning and he asked for his cigar. Being a kid, I gave it to him even though the doctor had said not to give them to him anymore, I gave it to him thinking that as old as he was it did not hurt for him to have one of the only things he had left that he really liked.
I gave it to him and started to walk away to go out and be with the other kids and he called to me to come back. I did and it was strange as he had never done this to me before. I got back to him and he asked me to sit down because he wanted to talk to me. I did and he talked about his childhood and what it was like back in the 1880s on to now, and all the things he has seen and done. Now being young, I did not understand what was going on or why he was telling me all of this, but after a great morning talking to him and him beating me at checkers, my great grandmother came and said it was time for me to go out and let grandfather eat lunch and rest. As I walked away he said to me, "Son I will be leaving today, and I want you to remember that I will always be checking on you and making sure you grow up to have the chances that I did." I walked away thinking he is old and he does not know he has no where to go today, and then I left with the kids. I was gone for two hours and when I came back there was a county car in the drive and I thought, Why is he here? Going on into the house I saw why. Great grandfather was laying on the couch and not moving or anything. When I saw this it hurt so bad that I could not hardly breath.
A little while later a home car came for him and took him away. And I thought I would never see him again. Little did I know how wrong I was. That night my grandmother was sitting in the living room with me and she was going over some of Papa's papers -- that was what we called him -- and I was reading a book trying not to think of what happened that day. Then my grandmother reached over and grabbed me and said in a whisper, "Look up. There is Papa and he is looking around!" I looked up and there he was plain as day. Not quite solid, but you could see him in the same clothes he had on this morning. He walked around the house and just looked at all the things, and then he just kind of was in the room in the center and he was looking at me. I was a little scared but then not. It was almost more that I could understand. My grandmother was smiling and holding my arm, and Papa stood there looking at me and then he smiled. He waved a very little wave bye and then he turned and walked away.
Well now I knew with out a doubt that all was well and that he was fine. But most of all I new that when I die or anyone in the family dies, all would be fine.
As the years went on I did not think of this very often at all, my grandmother would talk to me about it every now and again as I got older. Then one day I was really upset as I had lost another family member and I thought that I could not stand this again. But while I was in the old family house all of a sudden I could smell a pungent cigar -- it was really strong -- Papa loved the stinky one's. My brother came in and he asked why I was smoking cigars and when did I start. I knew then that it was real as my grandmother and I were the only ones who knew what happened that night long ago. She said it was special, it was for us, and not for everyone, and that we should keep it to ourselves. Now I know he came back and he let me know that he was there with me. All I could do was smile and know all was well again.