93: Grandma and Grandpa

93: Grandma and Grandpa

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven

Grandma and Grandpa

Love is not singular except in syllable.

~Marvin Taylor

It was typical for Joey to call home and check in with me whenever he was out of town, but I immediately noticed something different in his voice.

“What’s going on?” I asked him.

“Melissa, I have something to tell you,” he answered carefully.

My heart sank. “Is everything okay?” I asked tentatively.

Four generations of Wootan men had left for a weekend getaway of male bonding. My husband, his father, his grandfather, and our fifteen-year-old son were together on the trip.

It had been three and a half years since we had lost our only other child, our daughter Kyley. She had been buried on December 23, 2008, her seventeenth birthday. It seemed like we were all just starting to make some progress with our grief when Grandma Wootan became ill. She fought long and hard. We prayed for an end to her suffering and on December 23, 2011, with the man she had been married to for sixty-five years at her side, she joined her great-granddaughter in Heaven. While it did bring us comfort knowing Grandma Wootan and Kyley had been reunited, it was heartbreaking to watch Grandpa Wootan mourn the loss of his beloved wife.

I wasn’t sure if I could bear any more bad news.

“Everything is fine,” Joey assured me. “Something happened. I… I almost can’t believe it.”

I breathed a sigh of relief and impatiently asked what he was talking about.

“You know how Grandpa Wootan says he talks to Grandma every night?”

Yes, I knew. Shortly after Grandma had passed away Grandpa shared with the family that he was “visiting” with her in the evenings. He explained to us that Grandma would come to see him every night before he fell asleep. We were grateful that he was able to feel her presence. Despite my own loss, I couldn’t imagine losing the person you loved, the person you spent sixty-five years of your life with.

“Last night I was lying in bed,” Joey began. “Grandpa Wootan and Dad were in the bed next to me. I hadn’t fallen asleep yet and was just lying there with a pillow over my head. I heard Grandpa talking but I couldn’t make out exactly what he was saying because the AC unit in the hotel room was running. I figured he was talking to Grandma. I wanted to hear him so I slowly moved the pillow away and looked out from under it.” Joey paused. “Melissa, Grandma Wootan was standing there… right in front of me.”

I tried to process what my husband had just shared with me. How could he have seen his deceased grandmother? Joey was adamant. He assured me he hadn’t been sleeping and he had not imagined it. His grandmother had been standing right there in front of him, and as soon as he laid eyes on her, she was gone.

“What did you do?” I asked.

“I put the pillow back over my head.”

I tried not to laugh at the thought of my big strong husband pulling a pillow over his head at the sight of his sweet grandma. I asked him what happened next.

“Grandpa said, ‘Momma, where’d you go?’ I lay still and after a few minutes I heard him start talking to her again,” Joey finished.

I asked Joey if he had peeked out from his pillow to try and catch another glimpse of Grandma. He hadn’t.

Wow! I was anxious to hear what Grandpa had to say about all of this but Joey wasn’t sure he should tell Grandpa that he, too, had seen Grandma Wootan. My husband was worried that Grandma might not visit anymore because he had seen her. I encouraged Joey to pray about it. The answer would come. I felt kind of bad, though… I don’t think any of us truly thought Grandpa was really seeing his wife.

When Joey got home I asked him more questions. He still didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do, sharing with his grandfather what he had witnessed. I had lots of questions for Grandpa, though: questions about Heaven, but mostly questions about Kyley and what she was doing. Had Grandma mentioned anything to him about my daughter? My questions would have to wait.

Grandpa Wootan had always enjoyed growing a garden and despite being in his eighties and not being able to see very well, he still enjoyed an active lifestyle outdoors. One afternoon, while out in the garden, Grandpa lost his footing and fell. His son rushed to his side and it became obvious they would be making a trip to the ER. We all feared he had broken his shoulder. He was in agony but the X-rays came back normal. He was sent home, his arm in a sling. For two nights Grandpa complained of not being able to sleep because of the pain. Nothing gave him relief and the slightest movement of his arm caused him to wince in pain.

Joey had made a trip to his parents’ house to visit with Grandpa. When he returned home he walked through the front door silent, sat in the chair next to me, and shook his head.

“What?” I asked, straightening up in my seat. “Is Grandpa okay?”

Joey assured me he was fine… absolutely perfect as a matter of fact. I asked him about Grandpa’s shoulder. Joey told me that Grandpa’s shoulder was fine; there was nothing wrong with it.

I looked at my husband, puzzled.

“Apparently last night Grandpa was lying in bed in pain and Grandma came to visit him like he says she does every night. He says he told her he was sorry but he couldn’t stay up talking with her any longer because he was in such pain and so exhausted from not being able to sleep the last few nights. He said he closed his eyes to try to rest and he felt someone grab his hand and a warm sensation go all the way up his arm to his shoulder. A sense of peace came over him and he immediately fell asleep. When he woke up this morning his shoulder didn’t hurt at all and he had the sling off. He was demonstrating how he could move his arm all over the place… he was as proud as could be.”

I looked at Joey, amazed. If only Grandpa knew that Joey had also seen Grandma!

Joey smiled at me. “I told him. He knows I saw Grandma. It felt like the right time.”

I couldn’t wait to hear Grandpa’s response to the news that his wife really was visiting with him all this time.

“What did he say?” I asked.

Joey’s voice was full of emotion. “Grandpa just sat on the couch, smiled, and said, ‘Well, of course she is. I told y’all she was coming to see me.’ ”

~Melissa Wootan

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