When I was 13 and my sister, Michelle, was 10, our grandparents came to live with us due to Gramps’s bad health issues. We had always had a very close relationship with our grandparents, especially Gramps. We were his “Little Princesses.” I had an especially close relationship with Gramps since, besides Steve, he was the ONLY other man in my life who did not criticize me for being a “Gear Head.”
Gramps had taken me to several car shows and bought me muscle car models for my birthday. He was my best buddy. He would comfort me when my dad or uncle would tell me, “Girls don’t play with cars, they play with dolls.” Gramps would hug me and say, “It’s O.K., Princess, you just be who you are.”
One very late night, when I was 16, Michelle and I awoke to Gramps holding our hands.
Michelle asked, “Are you O.K., Gramps?”
He responded, “I just want to make sure you girls both know that I love you very much, and that you will ALWAYS be my little princesses.”
I replied, “We love you, too, Gramps, and you will ALWAYS be my best buddy.”
Afterward, he turned and went back to bed.
The next morning, Mom, Dad, and Grams were all very sad, so I asked what was wrong. Grams fought hard through her tears to tell us, “Girls, your Gramps passed away last night.”
We both got instant chills when she told us that. Michelle and I talked later in the day and wondered if Gramps had known he was about to pass, or if he already had when he visited us that night and stopped to say goodbye.
It was a very sad time for all of us. In the following weeks, I would catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of Gramps sitting in his chair at the dinner table, or, when we were in the family room, I would swear that I saw him in his favorite chair and it would start rocking. I could always feel his presence at these times, but any time I looked directly at where I thought I saw him, the rocking would stop, or he would simply not be there.
A couple years later, I began dating a man named Arnold. After a few weeks of seeing Arnold, I felt Gramps’ presence again. This time, though, it was not a comforting feeling — it seemed more stern and protective. I just chalked it up to the old thought that no one is EVER good enough for someone’s granddaughter.
About two months later, I found out why Gramps had seemed so protective. Arnold took a swing at me for saying he was wrong. Things went from bad to worse the next six months, but I was still determined to try to make it work.
Then I discovered I was pregnant. When I told Arnold, he accused me of cheating and beat me so badly that he caused me to have a miscarriage and spend a week in the hospital.
On the third night at the hospital, after Mom, Dad and Grams went home for the evening, I started crying pretty hard and exclaimed, “I’m so sorry that I didn’t listen to you, Gramps!”
I could almost instantly feel his presence, as if he was holding my hand, and I could hear his voice in my mind telling me, “It’s O.K., Princess, everything will be fine.”
Two and a half years later, after Steve and I had been seeing each other for nearly two months, I once again felt Gramps’s presence. This time, he felt more comforting and reassuring. It was as if he were telling me, “I told you everything would be fine.”
As Steve and I continued to date, and eventually live together, I decided it was time to tell him the story. Afterwards, I asked him if he thought I was crazy. He said, “NO, absolutely not! I think it is a wonderful thing to have such a strong connection like that!”
As our wedding day approached, I got another visit from Gramps. He seemed to be calm and happy and wanting to wish his “Little Princess” the best of luck in the future.
Over the years, I have felt Gramps’s presence many times, including one visit apparently to scold me for starting an argument with Steve over something stupid. I still get visits from Gramps, especially when Steve is out of town and I am feeling sad and missing him very much. Gramps can always comfort me. The only difficult part of feeling him there is when Ol’ Blue, our dog, starts going bananas and thinks that he needs to protect me.
All I can do is hope that someday soon, he will realize Gramps is not there to cause problems, he only looks in to see how life is going.