Halloween is right around the corner.
BOOM! Is your mind blown with information you didn’t know before? No? Okay…anyways…
Halloween is the time for scary movies, candy, costumes, and scary stories. I love Halloween. I love scary stuff (including both movies and stories) and get a little giddy in the month of October. I even wrote about one of my own personal scary experiences.
Along with the scary experiences, I also get reminded of another experience I had the night before and in the days after my grandmother passed away.
My grandpa passed away in the bathroom of my grandma’s house when I was 18 years old. Once me and my mom got to their house (before he was removed) I sat on the floor beside his body.
There was a vent on the floor in the bathroom as part of the central heating and air.
It was January. And it was cold.
The paramedics had placed a sheet over my grandpa’s body until the funeral home could get there.
While I was sitting in the room with my dead grandpa, the heating vent kicked on and caused the sheet over his body to billow up and move.
Scared the pure, fucking, shit out of me.
I’m talking about “I think I am about to die, I see my short 18 years of life flashing before my eyes” type of scared.
Ever since that night, I hated being in my grandma’s house after dark.
Skip ahead to Thanksgiving night three years ago…
My grandma had been in the hospital for about a month. Earlier in the morning on Thanksgiving, the doctors told my mom that my grandma probably only had a week left to live because she was basically starving to death. I know that is a graphic way to speak, but it is the truth and it took me a good while to get over that because I always felt like maybe they could have tried harder to get her nutrition.
After we ate Thanksgiving dinner, we spent the rest of this supposed to be happy holiday rearranging my grandma’s room to make space for the hospital bed she would die in. Later, after cleaning up, my mom went back to the hospital and I went home.
I was tired. I had spent the last two days cooking. I had spent all evening rearranging furniture. I spent half the night cleaning from dinner. I was spent.
Yet, when I went in my bedroom to collapse in my wonderful bed, I was greeted with a surprise.
My wonderful, beautiful, favorite furry dog of mine had left me a Thanksgiving gift. It was his personal way of saying:
Hey! Hi! Happy Thanksgiving! And by the way, I was pretty angry earlier that you were gone all day and then most of the evening…sooo…I decided to skip every single piece of carpet in the house and piss a Noah’s flood in the middle of that bed you were looking forward to flopping in. See? Right there.
My washing machine wasn’t working at the time, so guess where I washed clothes…that’s right; my grandma’s house. And it was the middle of the night. I gathered the bedding and got back in my car and went back to my grandma’s house. After loading the bedding into the washing machine, I promptly went back out to my car, turned on the heater, cracked a window and went to sleep. There was no way in anyone’s Hell I was spending the night alone in that house.
While I was asleep, I had the most vivid dream. It was of my grandma. She opened my car door and told me to stop being silly. She watched as I turned my car off and walked with me inside the house. On the way inside, she told me to stop being scared because my grandpa hadn’t been in that house for a long time. I knew she didn’t mean physically.
I remembered overhearing her years ago telling my mom that she kept smelling cigarette smoke in the house, even though no one had smoked in her house since my grandpa died. She told my mom that she finally said, “Go home, Liston. I’ll be there when I can,” and after that she no longer smelled the smoke.
My dream ended with me laying on the couch and her sitting back in her recliner. I felt warm and most of all…I felt safe.
I woke up with the strong urge to call my mom at the hospital. The dream was so vivid I was almost surprised that I was not on the couch asleep, but still in my car. I went inside and called my mom.
She told me that my grandma was not having a good night. She was struggling to breathe and fighting at the mask that was on her face, to the point she had to be restrained. I asked my mom if i could speak to my grandma. She held the phone to my grandma’s ear and I told my grandma how much I loved her. I told her about my dream and just talked words I can’t remember until finally my mom’s voice came back and said that grandma had fallen asleep.
The next morning I got the phone call that my grandma had passed away.
After that night, I wasn’t scared to be in my grandma’s house by myself anymore. A few days after her funeral, it was my birthday. It was also the same day my stepdad had to go back to New York for work. I waited for him and my mom to get a rental car and come back to my grandma’s house so we could all ride together to the restaurant for my birthday dinner.
I sat at the computer desk, browsing through the internet to waste time. Then a fear crept over me that I hadn’t felt since I was a kid.
See, when I was a kid I had this fear that I would forget what my mom looked and sounded like. I hated to stay at friend’s houses for too many nights because I was scared that if something happened and my mom needed to find me, I would forget what she looked and sounded like and I would not recognize her. So, pretty much all sleep overs that happened in my youth, happened at my house.
So, I sat there at the computer desk and felt panicked. Grandma is dead. I am never going to hear her voice again. I am going to forget what she sounded like.
And just at that moment, when I could feel the panic attack tears forming in my eyes, I felt something slide gently across the top of my hand that was holding the mouse. I actually jerked my hand back thinking that a bug might have fallen on my hand, or a tissue…but there was nothing. Just a soft wisp on the top of my hand.
Soft like my grandma’s fingertips because she was addicted to lotion (like me).
I said out loud, “Go home, Grandma. I’ll be there when I can.”