I was always very close to my grandmother, she raised me for part of my childhood and always made me feel truly loved and special. From time to time she would talk to me about when it was her time to leave this planet, that I needed to get on with my life and not be too upset for too long. It probably seems like an odd conversation to have for most people, but I think she felt she needed to prepare me.
And she was right.
Grandma had been in a nursing home for a number of years, and I used to drive 3 and a half hours every few weeks to visit her. She was always an immaculate planner, and she even got me to go through her wardrobe and remind her of the clothes she had, and made me mark them up as her “last wear” clothes. Meaning this is what she would be buried in.
On the day of her 89th birthday, a Friday, I did the big drive to see her – and I immediately knew something was wrong. Grandma looked terrible, but she was insistent on staying up because I had come to see her. I noticed she wasn’t full comprehensive (her mind was usually sharp) and it turned out she had a bad urinary tract infection which wasn’t responding to the drugs they were giving her. I knew it wasn’t good, and I knew this was it. The time had come. Although we had talked about this time so many times, I went into a state of shock. We got her to bed and she was finding it hard to say the right words and she knew it. And one point, she just kept saying Katherine, Katherine, Katherinea and I believed she was talking about my cousin Katherine who has always been like a sister to me and wanting her to be here.
Knowing this was the end, the nurses put Grandma in the Palliative Care room. My cousin Kath, from Sydney, came to support me during this time. So the nurses set up the sofa bed next to Grandma’s bed so we could be in the room with her 24/7. I also told the nurses I did not want Grandma to suffer in any way so after the doctor arrived, they gave her a substantial morphine shot every few hours. By this stage it was a Sunday and she hadn’t really eaten or drank much since Friday. The doctor didn’t expect her to last long as she only weighed just over 30 kilos and was very weak.
By Monday, I hadn’t really slept in days I was definitely in a zombie like state. Grandma, who had been in a very deep state of unconsciousness and hadn’t moved in hours, when she heard her son’s voice, her whole body jolted. I said to her, “he is here now, but you don’t have to wake up. We’re all here with you, so just stay in your deep sleep”. She immediately quietened down and never moved again from that moment.
I’m not sure why, and feeling a wreck waiting for her to pass, I asked the question in my mind, how long would it be till she passed over? Out of the blue, I heard a voice say to me: “Thursday.” I don’t know who the voice was or where it came from but it was loud and clear. Thursday? That seemed like such a long time away. Again, I don’t know why but in my mind, I said if this is true, what time Thursday? The answer was between 1.30 and 2.30pm. I thought with lack of sleep over the last few days I’d obviously lost the plot and so didn’t tell anyone what I heard. I asked the nurses, with the morphine shot every few hours, how long they thought it would take for her to go. They believed it would be Tuesday. Grandma’s son, my uncle, came on the Monday afternoon to be with her. He lived four hours away so decided to stay with his son at night in a nearby town during this end time. The night nurses told me to sit with her and stroke her and talk to her as it would be over soon. The nurses would come in every few hours, day and night to turn her, they were like angels, fussing around her and making sure she was as comfortable as possible, even though she was in an unconscious state.
Tuesday, came and went, and then it was Wednesday. All the nurses shook their heads. It was unbelievable to them that she was still here. They then told me tonight (Wednesday) was it FOR SURE and to try and sit next to the bed with her as much as possible.
At this stage, I decided to reveal to my cousin the voice in my head I’d heard on Monday, that Grandma was going to go on Thursday. Oddly, she didn’t really seemed too surprised. However, I didn’t tell her I was told a time as well. I thought that would be the breaking point that I had gone nuts.
Thursday: The nurses were completely in shock Grandma had made it through another night. No food, no water, for days and heavy doses of morphine.
It was around 2pm and my uncle, my cousin and I were not really talking too much. Quite suddenly, the wind picked up, furiously knocking the “Pallative Care” sign off the door. There was howling and whistling going on around us. . My uncle and I just quietly looked at each other. Due to my delirium, I had this image of an angel on a chariot roaring furiously down from heaven to get Grandma. The air felt strange. My uncle stood up suddenly, and said “I gotta go”. He left in a blink.
The drive for my uncle would take 25 minutes back to where his son lived, where he had been staying for the last few days. I said to Kath, “Why don’t you go and get a coffee and a newspaper. You’ve been cooped up here for days and you need a break.” So Katherine kissed Grandma goodbye – she was still breathing – and said she’d be back soon. Kath must have been out of the room for less than a minute and I looked at Grandma and thought, “I wonder if she will go now it’s just me and her in the room”. I gave Grandma a kiss, and then I literally got up to hang my wet towels out on a chair. I suddenly felt compelled to turn around and look at Grandma. I could see she had stopped breathing. I put my hands under her nose to check and felt nothing. I ran out to get the nurses and literally bumped straight into Kath waking past the doorway of our room, she explained she needed to go to the bathroom before she headed out. Mmmm…odd timing, but I was glad she was there and hadn’t gone already. I told her I thought Grandma had just passed, so Kath stayed with Grandma and I called the nurses in to check. Within a minute they concurred she was gone. I said to Kath, “well, it IS Thursday.”
I rang my uncle who had not even made it back to his son’s place to tell him the news. He told me he didn’t want to be there when she passed, it would have been too much for him. Mmmm, he did just get up suddenly and said he had to go. The timing of everything just seemed quite incredulous. I looked up at the clock on the wall. It was 2.25pm.
Grandma and I had many conversations about life after death. I don’t know if she believed it, but I would retell stories I had read in books and articles about how there was contact between loved ones who had passed. Of course, if ghostly visits were true, I didn’t want Grandma visiting me when I was all alone as it would scare the crap out of me rather than give me a sense of comfort. So luckily, there were no ghostly visits in the middle of the night. However, when I started work a few weeks later, it was a different story and it wasn’t just me who noticed. One day, in the office, a picture fell off a wall, (nobody was near it) then shortly after, a lamp in the middle of the room, snapped and fell over, (nobody was near it) a door slammed (nobody was near it). It got to the point where one guy in the office cried out, “What the hell is going on?” and I just blurted out before thinking, “Sorry, I think that’s my Grandma”. Over the next few weeks, there were more bumps in the day: a table collapsing (nobody was near it), a heavy object falling from a shelf (nobody was near it). Maybe this was grandma? Or maybe it was just a coincidence that random things were falling over? Mmmmm…..
That was 3 years ago, and since then, I hadn’t really told too many people the story of Grandma passing and the odd events that went with it. I recently caught up with a friend, Luke, in a coffee shop, and for the first time, told him the story about when Grandma passed. I also told him I believed she would only give signs that she was around when I was with other people so it wouldn’t scare me. In that instant, the pulsing music in the cafe stopped and half the lights went out. He laughed and said, “Well I think she’s doing it right now…..”. My doubting self replied, “well, it could be just another coincidence?”. He then asked: “Well, how many other times in your life have you been in a cafe when the power has gone out?” I paused to think….. mmmmm….
The author of this post has asked to remain anonymous in order to protect her family and loved ones.
Have you ever had a similar experience? Do you believe in life after death?