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Old 09-04-2012, 11:46 AM
Location: ATL with a side of Chicago
3,622 posts, read 5,344,376 times
Reputation: 3927


Disclaimer: Before you write this off as TL;DR, I do give a jump point where you can skip the majority of the background info, which was mainly written for myself, I think, and get to the meat. This is just in case you don't make it through even the first paragraph.


This isn't very recent, but reading these stories made me want to share something my family experienced, and the only thing of this nature that I have personally experienced. Editing as I'm writing - I'm going into FAR more detail than I had intended, but am actually finding this a therapeutic piece to write, since I'd never put it all down in words, before. Since this has turned into something rather tortuous, I'll create a "jump" that skips the backstory for those who don't want tl;dr, and get right to the weird stuff. I just wanted to give an idea of how integral to this family my mother's father was.

My Grandpa, to whom I was very close, died in 1995, when my son was almost 3 months old. He was very tight-knit with his children, grandchildren, and for a very brief time, the only great grandchild he was alive to meet. Nieces and nephews, siblings... He was very much a family man. He was a tough man. My mom said he'd actually mellowed as he got older, very old-fashioned, raised by strict, conservative Scandinavian parents. But he was also the coolest Grandpa around. He taught my cousins and me how to play poker, did magic tricks, had a wicked sense of humor. Always had a Manhattan in his hand, so he was a drinker, as well. We didn't question that at the time; that was just the way he was. My Mom's parents were the "glue" that held the family together. And now, my Grandma is.


It was 1995, and my then-husband and I drove up to Atlanta for our 2nd wedding anniversary. My immediate family lives in the metro area, and my Mom was thrilled to have an opportunity to have my almost 3 month old son for an entire weekend (her only grandchild at the time). My Mom's parents had recently moved into a neighborhood about a mile away from them, so my Grandma and Grandpa were at their house when we arrived.

I was extremely close to my Grandpa, and still am to my Grandma, who is about to turn 93 on Thursday. He was my "father". I did not have a close relationship with my Dad at all, growing up.

Much of the time my father lived in a different state; at one point he took a position in England. He suffered from depression, and did not know how to be a part of a family, let alone a father. That's a long story in itself, since his family life growing up was very turbulent, and he was also distant with his father. Most of the time they weren't on speaking terms. When he married my mother, her family became more than "the in-laws". They BECAME his family.

Anyway. I hadn't seen my Grandpa in a few months by the end of that March in '95. The last time I saw him was when he came down with my father and brother to see my son at a week old. My mother had been "preparing" me, I felt, the prior few months, saying my Grandpa was having some health problems and I should make a point to spend as much time as I could with him. He had a few major heart attacks in the past, and had started developing circulatory problems in his legs. He had a bypass surgery on one leg because it was developing clots and swelling up, and his blood pressure was high. He'd also developed geriatric diabetes. (Sadly, on a side note, my mother has been "preparing" us about my Grandma, recently.).

My first thought when I saw Grandpa was how thin he'd gotten. But he didn't seem "sick". He was his usual self, sense of humor fully intact, still had the "vinegar" in him. I have a few pictures of him holding my son that day, before my ex and I took off for the hotel. It was the last time I'd see him outside of a hospital.

That night, when we got back to the hotel after having dinner out, I had a voicemail on the hotel answering machine (this was before cellphones were commonplace). My Grandpa was in the hospital. It was his heart again, and pulmonary edema. The next day, my mother's sister, brother, and their spouses flew in. Grandpa still seemed okay; when I walked in the room that morning, he immediately offered me his jello, which I declined. Then his chicken broth, also declined. He was still alert and joking he wanted a hot pastrami and Swiss on rye, "not this crap". He and my aunt talked about planes and piloting (my Grandpa was a WWII pilot and his passion for flying stayed with him. My username is actually his WWII nickname; he had no middle name, so on his paperwork and his tags it read [first name] NMI [last name]. I left his name out for privacy reasons. "NMI" (No Middle Initial) turned into "Neemy", which was what he was known by among his buddies.)

I had to leave for Florida because my ex was in the USAF at Eglin and had to be back at work, and everyone seemed upbeat and okay, so I leaned over, tried to hug my Grandpa as best as I could with all the wires and tubes around, kissed his cheek and told him I loved him. said goodbye to the rest of the family, and left, feeling like things were under control. My mother followed me out, though, and pulled me to the side, quietly. She said the doctors don't think his prognosis is good. He could die at any minute, or he could surprise us all and live another 10 years. But with his history and how fast these things happen, the former was more likely. So I had to go back in the room, this time desperately trying to keep a brave face, though I was fighting tears. Again I hugged my Grandpa, a little longer this time, kissed his cheek, and took notice of every detail - the scruff on his face, the medicinal smell of his skin, and told him I loved him, again. And I left. That's the last time I saw him.

Once I was back in Florida, the news seemed to be getting better. He was released from the hospital two weeks later, his birthday weekend, on a strict diet and meds. I talked to my aunt, and she said he really seems to be making a turnaround. I talked to Grandpa, told him we'd taken my son to the county fair that day, and were about to grill out with friends. He asked what we were grilling, and I said burgers, hotdogs, sausages, and he said to throw a sausage on for him, which prompted a "Johnny...!" from my Grandma. (So the mystery of his first name is solved...).

Ten days after that conversation he died. It was two days after the Oklahoma City Bombing. I remember so clearly my mother telling me earlier that day to give Grandpa a call, he was in great spirits, they'd just moved the computer downstairs for him. I said I'd call the next day. Like everyone else, I was glued to the TV watching news reports about the bombing, and my son was unusually fussy that night. The next morning, my ex was up with my son, and the phone rang at around 9 am Central Time, while I was napping. My ex answered, and I just "knew". He handed me the phone and I listened as my mother stoically told me Grandpa had died in his sleep. We found out later the official cause of death was pulmonary edema and a heart attack. I asked how Grandma was, and she said she was doing okay, sitting here talking with her, but it hadn't really set in, yet. The rest of the family was all flying in that day. I got up and packed, numb.

When I arrived at their house, my whole extended family was there, as well as friends. Conversation was near-constant, with occasional bursts of laughter at everyone's funny stories, then there would be a lull, and some quiet sobbing. Conversation quickly would pick up. That's how my mother's side of the family handles grief; with humor and some attempts at avoidance, but full respect for the situation. We are not an overly emotional family. My Grandpa was fond of the word "stoic" and he wouldn't want us "causing a ruckus" over his passing (another favorite phrase many of us used that day to lighten some moments. "Don't cause a ruckus, for crying' out loud!". So, we laughed while dabbing at tears.

The hardest part was hearing my Grandma speak, as it gradually sunk in. She was right next to him, sound asleep, when he died. Normally, she's a very light sleeper, but this night was different. She does remember waking up at around 2 am to see my Grandpa up, headed for the master bathroom, and she asked if he needed anything. He told her he was fine, and to go back to sleep. She did, and the next morning she woke up, saw that Grandpa's foot was uncovered, and went over to his side of the bed to cover him up. When she touched his foot, she knew he was gone. So, to hear my Grandma blaming herself, "Why didn't I wake up?" was heartbreaking.


For months after my Grandpa's death, I had recurring nightmares. They were all set in a house that was supposed to be my Grandma's brother's house in Ft Walton Beach (her brother, my Great Uncle Bob, was my Grandpa's navigator in the Army Air Corps in WWII, his best friend as well as his brother in law), but the house looked nothing like their real house. This one had highly polished wooden floors, a kind of "80's contemporary" look to it, lots of glass walls, and it was circular in layout. Every single dream was set in this house. In most dreams, I would wander down endless wooden hallways with glass walls everywhere, to finally find my Grandpa in his hospital bed. In those dreams, I always knew I was saying goodbye for the last time, I'd leave the room, then I'd rush back in a panic, begging him not to go. In other dreams, same house, the entire family would be at the dinner table, and my Grandpa would be a statue. And another common one would be that my Grandpa was alive again, but he said it was just for a little while. These dreams were so frequent, and so distressing.

...Until the last one. Same house, but this time, there was noise coming from upstairs, like a party. There had never been an "upstairs" in any of the other dreams. I walked up the creaky, wooden stairs to find a huge, dusty attic. I saw my Grandpa and my Great Uncle Bob sitting in wooden chairs dressed as they were in their old military portraits, full uniforms, two young men who were laughing and probably telling old war stories. Uncle Bob was still alive at this point in real life, but he was young, too. They even had that sepia tone of old photographs. There were lots of people around, music, laughter, but all I needed to see was my Grandpa. I woke up from that dream feeling relieved, and felt somehow Grandpa was trying to tell me everything was okay. He was okay. I never had those nightmares, again.

But here's where it gets really strange: I was talking to my Mom on the phone a few days later, and she said she and her sister both talked about having a dream about their father on the same night. They both had a sense of reassurance upon waking. I hadn't yet told her I'd also had a dream that very same night. Mom went on to say that they were curious about their brother, so called him, casually bringing up the subject of the dreams. My uncle was quiet for a while, and could only say, "oh my God...". He said he was 99.9% sure this was the same night. It was over the same weekend. He dreamt he was walking my Grandpa down to the subway in NYC (Grandpa worked in the city for 17 years). He looked healthy and they had casual dream-conversation. The doors of the subway opened, my Grandpa gave his son a hug, and got on. My uncle says he remembers standing there watching the doors close and the train pulling away. He was awakened by his wife, though, who suddenly sat up in bed in a panic, trying to brush something off her. She was telling my uncle "The ashes are everywhere!!! Get them off me, help me get them off!!"

There were no ashes. But my Grandpa had been cremated.

Besides my uncle's wife, who had to deal with the trauma of dream ashes, we all had a strange sense of peace after those dreams. It did feel like Grandpa was trying to connect to us. And as of May 2009, my Great Uncle Bob has taken the seat beside him, and I know the dirty jokes are flowing.

Last edited by Neemy; 09-04-2012 at 01:16 PM..
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:03 PM
Location: playing in the colorful Colorado dirt
4,486 posts, read 4,731,581 times
Reputation: 6991
Sweet story.

Sounds like your grandfather was larger than life.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:05 PM
Location: ATL with a side of Chicago
3,622 posts, read 5,344,376 times
Reputation: 3927
Originally Posted by pamelaBeurman View Post
Sweet story.

Sounds like your grandfather was larger than life.
Well, in my mind he was.

I still miss him.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:42 PM
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,448,107 times
Reputation: 14042
Theeyyre Baaack!

I got a call at work from my wife earlier in the day; she went downstairs and found our basement was flooded.

Luckily we don't use it as living space (apart from a craft room where I build model ships) so there wasn't any real damage... but how it got flooded is strange.

It turns out somebody opened the drain valve on the water heater part-way and moved the water heater temperature dial to the pilot light setting. It must have been on for quite a while considering the entire floor and everything on the ground was soaked, perhaps 24 hours or more.

On top of that, the sump pump decided to die at the same time (it wasn't that old and has worked perfectly up until now; the basement is otherwise dry and the sump pump is really only there for emergencies...like this one ). If it had worked, we would have heard it fire up right away, as the sump is only a foot or two away from where the water was spraying out, averting the problem in the first place.

Of course the kids disavow any knowledge; they are all scared of the basement anyway and won't go down there alone.

Turning the drain valve off is as easy as twisting the knob too, so I couldn't imagine they would just let the water gush out without turning it off. The valve wasn't broken and there is no way for it to have opened up by itself.

Here's the other weird part. The night before last I had a vivid dream of zombies (yes, zombies) attacking me in the same basement. They weren't Hollywood-style zombies but real rotting corpses (of which I unfortunately have some experience with in real life thanks to my former job). It was one of those dreams that sent me screaming awake in a panic, soaked in a cold sweat.

Anyway, we're finished with clearing out the basement and installing a new sump pump. I wonder what will happen next.

%*#! ghost!

Last edited by Chango; 09-27-2012 at 07:52 PM..
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:05 PM
447 posts, read 881,114 times
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11's. 11's everywhere. I will glance at the clock at 11:11. I'll open my eyes at 1:11am. I look at the treadmill at the instant I've burned 111 calories, or have 11:11 left to run. I'll be stopped in traffic and something will tell me to look to the right and I see 11111 on the building right beside me. This has been going on for months. I don't know what to make of it.
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Old 09-29-2012, 02:19 AM
Location: lake lorraine, fl
6 posts, read 8,458 times
Reputation: 12
it was about 2:30 last saturday morning and i was exhausted. i remember shutting down my laptop and putting it away. i put the tv tray away and turned off the tv, i may have even turned out the light. the next thing i remember i was sitting in the bathroom with the light on. i turned out the light and went back to my room. while passing through the kitchen i glanced at the clock on the oven, it read 5:30!

that's three hours i'll never get back. was i so tired that i sleptwalked to the bathroom?
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:51 AM
25,976 posts, read 28,307,176 times
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Default Emily

See page one on my story of Emily and her significance to this part.

I went to visit my brother and sister in law, the ones who lost their son last year. I asked Emily if she would feed and water my dogs while I was gone. I'd never left these two alone since I had them.

I took a night flight in and early in the morning, before everyone woke up, I went out on the porch which overlooks the pool area. Then something caught my eye - it was something in sidewalk chalk and almost hard to see because of the screen around the porch and we were 3 floors up and I laughed and called my sister in law, who knows about Emily. I said, "Beth, what does that say?" It was a huge smilie face and the word EMILY written underneath it directed and angled right toward the porch. I smiled knowing my dogs were in good hands. I took a picture of it.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:22 AM
13,605 posts, read 11,302,656 times
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Coins. My beloved uncle died while holding my hand last month. In an old Celtic tradition, I put three coins (quarters) in his hand to pay the river man. I went outside about three nights later and coins fell on the table from nowhere. One quarter, two nickels.

I guess he was telling me to keep the change.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:18 AM
25,976 posts, read 28,307,176 times
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Originally Posted by NLVgal View Post
Coins. My beloved uncle died while holding my hand last month. In an old Celtic tradition, I put three coins (quarters) in his hand to pay the river man. I went outside about three nights later and coins fell on the table from nowhere. One quarter, two nickels.

I guess he was telling me to keep the change.

Here is my original penny story...but we've added to it since then.

My brother and sister in law are well aware of the pennies and I always give them away or put them in a plastic bag to do something with later. On my visit to see them last week, each one of us found a penny a day. My sister in law found one in the bottom of the washer, my brother found one outside a carry-out, my nephew found one under his football pads laying in the middle of the living room - they won that day. We were unloading the chairs out of the back of the SUV for the football game and my brother says, "T, look" and nods to the ground and sure enough there was a penny. I found one outside the airport when I landed too. I added all these to the plastic bag of them I had already collected.

My sister in law and I made a road trip across the state to see my aunt and cousin and spend a day there. They had lived there with their son they had lost so the last thing we did before we went home was go down to the beach and divided up the pennies and tossed them in the shallow water. The tide was going out. We tossed some of them close to kids digging in the wet sand too. I told her by that time tomorrow all you'd hear on the beach is, "Mommy! Mommy! Look what I found!" I think James would have loved it and I think he was smiling on us because somehow I ended up wading a little too far out and the next thing you know I was dodging waves in a dress soaking wet to my neck and we were laughing.

It was also my brother's birthday and I got him a card and wanted to hot glue gun one of the found pennies in there - what were the odds of reaching into this plastic bag of pennies and pulling out a penny with this exact year's date on it?

I did a blank scrap book for my sister in law to glue envelopes for notes and cards James had given her over the years and I just put his name on the cover with vinyl letters in an arch and wanted to glue a penny under it. Reaching into the same bag, what were the odds I pulled out a penny on the first try with the date of his birth on it?
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:55 AM
7,258 posts, read 6,101,130 times
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I don't know if this is just a coincidence, but for a few Fridays in a row, a priest was sitting at a table in front of our local Wal-Mart, collecting money for the homeless. I always try to contribute something to charities that set up in front of Wal-Mart when I can. This time I only had 50 cents on me when I came out of the Wal-Mart, but I gave it to him. Later that day, I found a $5.00 bill. The next Friday, he was there again, but I only had a handful of change to put in the jar. While I was out walking the next morning, I found a $5.00 bill by the side of the road.
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