We said goodbye to my husband’s grandmother. No, Steve insisted, not goodbye, but so long. My grandfather used to say the same thing. Poppop hated goodbyes. I remember his sad long face as he helped my father take our suitcases to the car. “Say So Long, not Goodbye,” he would tell me.
“Because, Poppy, Goodbye is forever but So Long means ‘sooner than you know it, we’ll be together again.’”
At nearly 91, Gran was on her death bed. Yesterday we surrounded her with love. And afterwards I wondered how much longer it would be…my medical mind said less than 24 hours, my intuition said at the 11th hour. And she died today at 11am.
Just before the eleventh hour, I asked her through the ethers, “Will I feel you go, Gran?” A lightness of being floated through my soul. And then I got a call she had passed.
Steve then called our son. And Jarys already knew. He wouldn’t say how, but we know he’s intuitive. I reminded Steve of our conversation last night.
My husband and I sat up late talking. He had heard me commenting to his mother how faded Gran’s energy had become. And my mother-in-law, also a nurse, agreed. “Yes, no more irritable reds. She’s resting peacefully pale now.”
Gran’s life force was a soft watery turquoise color. These last few months as her health had been failing, she had been fading. Steve asked about how energy fades at death. I believe we come into this life as pure white light and through the prism of this reality become refracted into our life color. Gran was turquoise. I’m violet. Steve’s green, very green. Jarys is blue—indigo blue. Kyra’s gold.
“Well, what about the other colors—the chakras—you’re always talking about?”
We are all made up of all the colors. The chakras in rainbow order from first to seventh are red to violet. All shades of the colors…like the first chakra—the root chakra is red, but can be any shade from rusty brown to bright cherry. Yet these colors are within the life color—the color of the aura—like a brilliant inclusion of carnelian in a rose quartz.
Being a police officer, Steve has seen lots of death. “When a person dies rapidly like in a car accident, it’s more like an explosion of energy out of their body.”
That’s sudden death, but when a person dies from a terminal illness or old age they slowly fade back to white. He was confused. “I’ve seen old people dying in nursing homes and I would describe their energy as “dimming”.”
Yes! He perceives energy as light. I perceive energy as color (and light and sound and sometimes smell…but that’s another story.) It’s the same thing, we just describe it differently.
Then we discussed whether the energy that made up our life force had consciousness. He wasn’t sure comparing the body to a car and the energy to the key. “It’s potential that creates consciousness.”
I believe the energy that makes us alive…our life force…our soul…is conscious. It gathers the energetic imprint of our life experiences and then is attracted to those energies in this life and beyond. When we get a visitation from a dead loved one—I believe their energetic imprint triggers our memories of them and we experience them—their voice, their touch, their smell.
Years ago, I was driving to my sister’s house with Jarys and Kyra in the backseat. They were little—6 and 2. I didn’t want to go without Steve, but he had to work that Thanksgiving. And I was nervous. I had been having visions of crashing the car. Suddenly, Old Spice wafted through the car and I felt an oiled leathery hand caress my cheek. Poppop. And I heard, “It’s alright, Poppy.” I felt safe and protected by his love. And Jarys piped up from the back seat. “I smell Poppop!” Yes, he did, thank goodness, so did I.
My grandfather died in 1983 nearly twenty months before Jarys was born. So Jarys never knew him. Or did he? My mother and I were sure Poppop helped guide Jarys to us. Mom was holding Jarys when he was a baby and he reached for a picture in her hall and said “Poppop.” It was his first word. And the picture was of my dead grandfather. So, I do believe the veil is very thin between the worlds. And some of can perceive through the veil. Jarys can.
Kyra, on the other hand, had a close relationship with Nana. When she was just two to three years old, Nana sang to her at night and picked four leaf clovers outside her bedroom window during the day. My grandmother died in 1984. Kyra was born in 1988. Kyra described Nana just as she looked as a very young woman. Not my memory, not even the lullaby Kyra sang for me. My Mom recognized it as one Nana sang to her, but she had never sang it to us or to her grandchildren. And Nana loved to search the lawn for four leaf clovers. Kyra also can perceive through the veil that separates this reality and the next.
Lots of children can and many adults retain or remember their abilities. It’s a gift.
In fact, death is more like a spiritual birthday. While we cry tears of grief here, in the spirit world, Gran is being joyously welcomed. We mourn her physical presence instead of celebrating her freedom. She is free from a body that no longer served her. And we were blessed to have so much time with her. Nearly 91 years!
And the past two years, my family has gotten so very close to Gran. A series of synchronistic events brought her to us. Two autumns in a row, she spent precious time in our home. We’re so fortunate. Gran’s energy, her personality is one of delight. She was delighted to meet you, to share a meal with you, to be with you. She was delighted with the sunshine and the stars, with the birds and the butterflies. She was especially delighted with flowers. A professional flower arranger…she taught me how to make the perfect bouquet…for every season…we collected blossoms, and herbs, greenery and leaves to make delightful arrangements for every table in the house, even outside. I have vases filled with gifts from my garden throughout the house and all the outdoor gathering places. A little bit of Gran…always.
I’ve known Gran since I was 17. She’s always treated me as one of the family…”our Debbie”, she would call me. And my Granny died a few years after my Nana died. Gran was my grandmother too; I shared her with Steve and his two brothers and nine cousins and lots of great and great-great grandchildren. Gran was my only grandmother left on earth.
Gran was unique—someone who accepted everyone for who they were. She saw the good in everyone. Steve said Gran has a Pop soul—my Poppop was by far the most generous man I’ve ever known. As my brother-in-law said yesterday, no matter how hectic their lives were, Gran was always there for them in that little house in Van Nuys. You could call anytime or just show up and she would take you in and get you what you needed to feel whole. She was home for her family.
Years ago when I was going to grad school at UCLA, I stayed with Gran. She took care of two year old Jarys while I pursued my advanced degree. I depended on her to take care of us and she did it so well, so graciously—delighted to spend time with me and especially with her great-grandson. The memories are so clear for me, for she was home for me too.
I’m so grateful that we have created a home for us. Gran loved it here. She loved the garden, the flowers, the butterflies and hummingbirds. She loved being here and we loved having her. Two years ago, she came to stay when my mother-in-law had to be hospitalized. Gran was a bit unsteady using her cane, so Steve took her to the pharmacy to test drive a four-wheel walker. No, no let Medicare pay for it…the family protested. No, no, I was not going to risk her falling on our wood floors or Saltillo patios, so I took her back to the pharmacy and got the walker. Gran cried. And became really mobile for the first time in over a year. She pushed that walker all around the house, into the outdoor room and out onto the patio overlooking the herb garden. We had to stop her from trying to negotiate the steps on her own. The walker had a little seat that she would stack with dishes to set the table or laundry to fold while she watched “Ellen.” She loved helping me cook. Her coordination was not such that she could safely work over a flame, but she was a great prep chef, chopping and measuring. When my mother-in-law got out of the hospital and came to our house to recuperate, she was surprised to see Gran using a knife. “She’s on Coumadin! What if she cuts herself?” I smiled. “No worries, I can stop her bleeding. She’ll be fine.” And she was and free for a long time.
When Gran lived with us, she needed help bathing. The first time, I drew her bath in the guest room. I thought the tub would be perfect…a sitting tub with a little seat inside a shower. I helped her in and helped her sit down, and she said, “Uh, Oh!” Well, not so perfect. The seat was too low and her knees were higher than her hips. “You’re not going to be able to get me out.”
I said, we’d deal with that after her bath, and planned to call Steve if necessary. She must have heard my thoughts. “I’ll be so embarrassed if Steve has to help.” Yikes!
Well, by the time we finished, it was clear that I would not be able to get her up from outside the tiny tub. So I stripped off my soaked nightgown and stepped into the tub with her. She laughed; her youngest daughter did that too. No wonder. I had given bed baths as a nurse but not tub baths and this time I had gotten as wet as washing three little kids. I bent my knees with one between hers, gave her a big hug, stood up, and we stepped out of the tub. She didn’t let me go. “It feels so nice to hold you like this.” I squeezed her tight. It did feel nice. Then she laughed, “But there are only three breasts between us!” I nearly dropped her slippery self. She was right. She had a mastectomy some 15 years before!
A great sense of humor in a vast pool of sweet wisdom spiced with more love than most people ever know. That was Gran. That still is Gran. Because I know she will come to me and to my children and husband and the rest of the family whenever we need her, if we are open to receive her.
So long, Gran. Not goodbye, because we will meet again.
For more on the Spiritual Transformation we call Death: read my article Death and the White Light