Connections from the Other Side?
Lorie’s grandparents were very dear to her. Even though her grandfather died in 1977 and her grandmother in 1998, she is convinced they have remained involved in her life.
The first proof comes from a nightmare in which a bomb had gone off and Lorie was caught in a hysterical crowd. She was trying to find her family by running toward the source of the explosion.
“I had to know they were okay,” she writes, but, “I was in a panic and going the wrong way.”
The feeling of that huge struggle woke Lorie with a start, and as her eyes shot open she could see the silhouette of a male figure by her bed.
“I closed my eyes and said, Grandpa, if this is you, please go. You are scaring me more.” When she opened her eyes again, the figure was gone. “I know with all my heart that it was my grandfather, she writes. “(He) had come to comfort me through a horrible nightmare.”
But that’s not where her grandfather’s comfort ends. “I am quite sure it was my grandfather who saved my life, as well as my parents’ lives when our garage was torched by an arsonist,” continues Lorie.
She awoke in the early morning dark to a crackling sound, which she first mistook for her cat scratching at the screen on her bedroom window. Annoyed by its persistence—particularly because she’d left the screen open for the cat to come in on its own—Lorie got up and looked out. Flames shot up in front of her face. Quickly, she grabbed the dog and ran to wake her parents. By the time her disbelieving father opened the front door to find fire framing the doorway, it was already too late to call 911 because the telephone line had been burned through.
Lorie, her parents, and the dog managed to escape the house just as the lawnmower and barbecue exploded in the garage. Because the family car was also in the garage with a three-quarters-full tank of gas, houses on either side of theirs were evacuated. The fire was so intense that firefighters even broke her waterbed to help quell the flames.
Later, investigators allowed Lorie and her family back into the house to find a few important items. “I surveyed my room,” recalls Lorie. “It was a charred mess.” But, there in the corner closest to the window was an old photo of her grandfather’s last Christmas with the family. “Everything that was with this photo was burned beyond recognition,” says Lorie. Yet this irreplaceable image survived.
Meanwhile, the cat had escaped to a field across the road, where he remained—visited and fed daily by Lorie—until the family home was rebuilt. Because the cat had obviously been scared off by the flames, it could not have been him making the noises that woke Lorie the night of the fire. The sound could only have come from one source, she reasoned, and her grandfather’s unscathed photo was the sign she needed to tell her that.
“My grandfather saved our lives early that morning.”
But, even this was not the end of her grandfather’s influence. It seems he continued to make his presence known, mostly through randomly-placed coins. She recalls one incident many years after the house fire, when she worked in a group home for boys in crisis.
“We had our good days and we had our challenging days,” writes Lorie. “On this particular day, it was a non-stop challenge.”
The boys weren’t getting along. They refused to listen to staff or try to solve their own issues, she recalls. She remembers how the stairways between floors were well travelled daily—especially during a crisis like the one on this day. She writes about descending the stairs feeling exasperated, thinking, “What more can happen today?” when something shiny caught her eye.
“I bent over to find a quarter. I was amazed this quarter was still there despite numerous people using the stairs. It was unheard of in a home occupied by so many people.”
Lorie knew of the saying that, if you find a coin, an angel is looking out for you. Over the years, Lorie had noticed quarters turning up in strange places, and she’d begun a habit of checking the dates of the ones she found. She checked this one, and—sure enough—it read 1977, the year her grandfather passed away. That made her smile. “It was a sign that my grandfather was around. I would survive the day.”
But Lorie’s experiences with coins and strange sightings don’t end with her grandfather. Her grandmother had always taught her to search the sky for shapes and pictures in the clouds.
“She had me convinced, when I was young, that there really was a man in the moon and he was smiling down at us every night.”
But, one sad day in June of 1998, Lorie got a phone call telling her that her grandmother had passed away peacefully in her retirement home after spending an afternoon out with Lorie’s parents. The next day, she made herself busy doing errands in preparation for the funeral.
“As I was driving to the store, I noticed a cloud that looked like an angel. I smiled to myself, thinking Grandma was letting me know she was okay,” remembers Lorie. “By the time I arrived at the grocery store, the cloud had changed… I saw that it looked like a dog chasing a ball. My grandmother knew how much I loved my dogs and how heartbreaking it was for me to say goodbye to them when their time had come to leave. She always stated that they were off to Dog Heaven.”
Again, Lorie smiled to herself: “My grandmother was showing me, through the clouds, that she was okay and my dog Paddy was okay, too.”
With all this to think about, Lorie didn’t notice a woman nearing with a pay-as-you-go grocery cart. “Do you need this?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Lorie and gave her a quarter in exchange.
She hurried through her shopping and returned the cart to its proper place, where she retrieved the quarter someone else had inserted as a deposit.
“I noticed the date on it.”
Sure enough, it read 1977; a sign her grandfather was with her.
“I received the messages loud and clear from my grandmother: That she was fine; that Paddy, my dog, was fine—and from my grandfather that he was fine, too. I just smiled.”
A few days later, Lorie’s parents were discussing what age to put on her grandmother’s gravestone. This was difficult because, “She would always say a lady never tells her age,” writes Lorie. “She lived by that so much so that she once ripped up and disposed of her birth certificate.
“My mother was saying that Grandma must have been at least ninety-five. My father refused to believe she was that old because she always acted much younger. He said she must be no older than ninety-one. I let them know that Grandma was ninety-three.
“The both asked how I knew.”
Lorie explained that, while she briefly lived with her grandmother, the older woman let slip the year she was born while telling stories about what life was like in her younger days.
“When I returned home, I reached inside the mailbox for mail. Instead I felt coins. Confused, I took them out and looked around. Who had been playing around in my mailbox? I shrugged it off and went inside.”
Once Lorie put the groceries away, she decided to count the change that had come from the mailbox. “I was in possession of 93 cents! I called my neighbour to ask if she had seen children around my place. She replied she had not and had been at home all day.”
This was Lorie’s confirmation. “Grandma just wanted me to know I was correct. She died at ninety-three years of age.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.