For those of us who believe it’s possible, catching some sign that our departed loved one is well and happy in a new existence brings us great comfort. Some of us are also able to discern a guiding hand in things that happen before death which make the transition easier to bear. Randi is one of those people fortunate enough to have experienced both: her grandmother’s call from “the other side”, and a soothing message from a mysterious visitor before her passing.
Randi tells her story:
“My grandmother and I had always been close. She and my grandfather raised me since I was very young. I called them Nana and Papa. Papa died in an accident when he was 58 and I was 19. Grandma had always believed there is something else beyond life on earth. We had conversations about this over the years. She could recall, as a young girl living in Niagara Falls, walking across the bridge with her own grandmother to visit a spiritualist.
“Nana lived to be 93 years old, but her last few months were ones of frustration that her body was on the decline although her mind was still active. She would engage in great conversations with the nursing home care workers, and they would always tell me how they loved to go into her room to chat. She knew more about what was going on in the world than I did and would keep me up to date every day from the nursing home with a 7 a.m. phone call at my work. Before anyone else arrived in the office, she’d tell me the world news and I would tell her news about our boys and what was on the go for the day.
“Nana suffered from Parkinson’s disease, petit mal seizures, and had a very painful blood clot in her leg. Having earlier fallen and broken her shoulder, she could no longer use her right arm. The day came when she called me to say she wanted to discontinue all but her pain medications. She asked if I would sign the necessary documents on her behalf. I went to her, and after many tears from both of us I signed the paperwork. The doctor explained she would go gradually. She’d be lucid for the first day and slowly sink into a deep sleep with no pain.
“This was on Monday. I stayed with her and we talked all through the day but, finally, I told her to rest and that I would go home and return early in the morning. At home I found a blank journal and started writing the experience of the day as a sort of message to her.
“The next day she spoke a little bit but drifted in and out of sleep. Still, I talked to her and held her good hand. I put her stuffed puppy in her right hand as it was soft and would feel good against her skin. The caregivers brought a radio to play peaceful music in the background, and the resident minister came to say a little prayer with us. Throughout the day my husband Dave stopped in, along with and our sons and daughter-in-law. I continued to write in the journal and left it on her night table when I went home.
“When I returned on Wednesday Nana’s breathing was so laboured I could tell she was fighting to keep going. I knew this was the day she would pass over. Still, she looked fresh because the nurses had bathed her and dressed her in a new nightgown. I smoothed her hair and whispered that it was okay to go, that I knew she was worried about me as she always was, and that I would be alright—but only if she promised to give me a sign after she left. She couldn’t answer me in words, but her breathing changed for a moment and I knew she understood.
“Next, I opened the journal to write about how I was feeling, and there on the page were someone else’s words besides my own. It was a lovely note in beautiful script, and the writer had signed her name. It touched me to see that someone else had come in and sat with Nana, and that she had taken the time to write me this lovely note. As the day went by, I continued to talk to her and hold her hand. My husband joined us after work.
“Around 9 p.m. I felt the air in the room change and knew it was her time. I put my arms around her and stroked her hair as she took her last breath. I told her how much we all loved her and to say hello to everyone who would be greeting her on the other side. That was Wednesday, so I took the next two days off to collect her things and bring them back to our place. She did not want a funeral, so she was cremated and her ashes returned to us.
“Monday morning, I arrived at work as usual around 6:30 and began to prepare for the day. I reheated my coffee, sat down at my desk, turned on my computer and started to catch up on emails. At exactly 7 a.m., I was startled by the phone ringing. I stared but didn’t pick it up right away. I thought, don’t be silly it’s just Dave or the boys. I picked up the phone and said hello but there was only static on the line. I said hello again and the static changed in frequency, but I couldn’t hear any words. Eventually the line went silent and I hung up.
“For some time after Nana’s passing, the phone would ring at 7 a.m. every day. Eventually, though, it became less and less frequent until, finally, the calls stopped. I am certain that this was Nana’s way of telling me she was fine and that she was checking to make sure I was fine too.
“A few weeks later I decided to unpack and sort through her things. Among them was the journal I had been writing in at her bedside. As I opened it, I read again note the other woman had left. Soon after this, I returned to the nursing home and thanked the staff for all they’d done for Nana. I asked the manager if I could meet the lady who wrote that note. I explained she would have been on night shift the Tuesday before Nana passed. The manager looked at the note and then at me and said they didn’t have anyone by that name working there, and no one else could have gotten into the building or had access her room that late at night.
“Thirteen years later, I still have no idea how that note got there or who would have written it. I like to believe it was one of our angels or spirit guides watching over Nana when I couldn’t be there. I cherish those kind words.”
The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.