Okay, let me tell a couple of my Grandma stories. Grandma -- my mom's mother -- was a very smart, funny, fearless lady who could outcook anybody on the planet... she had a garden full of rhubarb and roses... she played the organ and sang old hymns at the top of her lungs... she drank hot Dr. Pepper from a coffee mug... and she was an absolute demon at Hearts and Euchre. In short, Grandma was a real character, and we all adored her.
But in 1991, she became terminally ill. I went to Ohio to see her four days before she passed, and I was able to make her laugh, so that was good.
Three weeks later, I was awakened in the middle of the night by the phone. I sat up and answered, and I heard a very distant voice say, "Check on Jim."
I was blank for a moment. Then I realized that it was Grandma's voice. "Grandma? Are you there?" Silence. "Grandma, I'm not sure I understand, please say it again." Silence. "Grandma?"
I held on and listened for at least ten minutes, but heard nothing more... only the hiss of the open line. I finally hung up and laid awake for hours wondering what had really happened... had I dreamed it? No -- the phone line wouldn't have been open. Had it been a wrong number? No -- the other party would have hung up. What WAS it?
The next day, I told my mom about it, and I asked her, "So if I'm not crazy and it WAS Grandma, who could she have been talking about? The only Jim I can think of is Jim Flay [a cousin on my father's side of the family], and Grandma never knew him."
"Yes, she did," my mom said. "Weren't you here? One night when she was visiting down here, Jim came by the house in his police uniform and met her. He talked with her for a long time. She adored him, and she always asked me about Jim when we talked after that."
"Well, gosh, Mom," I said. "Maybe we'd better check on Jim."
So Mom called Jim's mother, my aunt. She didn't want to upset my aunt, so she chatted about other things for a bit, and then casually asked, "How's Jim doing?"
"Funny you should ask," said my aunt. "He was over here all night last night, crying his heart out because his divorce was final yesterday."
So that was the first Grandma incident. There've been quite a few minor things, but the other one that really struck me was this:
Four years ago, my mother had to have most of her colon removed. On the first night after the surgery, they overdosed her on morphine and if my father and I hadn't been there, she would have died -- we had to run for a nurse, and they had to use stimulants and so forth to bring Mom back. The overload of drugs in her system put her into a semi-psychotic state, and she was completely out of touch with her surroundings for a week.
After what the hospital had done to her, I wasn't about to leave her alone there, so I sat with her 24 hours a day for four days. I had to -- she was in terrible pain, hallucinating, always trying to climb out of bed, pull out her tubes and IVs, everything. I had to drape myself over the bedrail and hold onto her so I would feel it and wake up if she started to move.
By the fourth day, I was profoundly sleep-deprived, and Mom managed to yank out her nasogastric tube without waking me. She was halfway out of the bed before I realized what was happening, and almost broke her leg in the bedrail.
This led them to do what they should have done the first night: put her in the Critical Care Unit. I was not allowed to stay with her in there, so I spent the night in the empty waiting room. After all that had happened, and in the state I was in, it was so hard for me to be away from her! I was terrified to leave her to anyone else's care, but I had no choice... I could only visit her every two hours through the night.
So I laid down on a couch in the waiting room and fully expected to fall asleep instantly -- but I didn't. I kept hearing a phrase repeating in my head, over and over: "bony fingers." I had no idea where it had come from, but it kept me awake for quite awhile, and it woke me up like clockwork every two hours, when I was allowed to go in and see Mom again.
So... nine days passed, and finally we took Mom home. I got her set up comfortably on the living room sofa, and she was so glad to be home and clearheaded again that she couldn't stop talking. I was barely able to keep my eyes open, but Mom was so chipper and eager to talk that I just couldn't leave. I sat with her and tried to listen, but I started mentally drifting away... and then I heard her use the phrase "bony fingers."
"What? What did you say?"
She explained that she'd been talking about how her knuckles had gotten swollen from playing baseball when she was a kid, and Grandma had always called her "Ol' Bony Fingers."
Sheesh, I'm shuddering now as I tell it. What I figure is that Grandma put that phrase in my head, trying to tell me that she was taking over for me, watching over Mom in the CCU, since I couldn't. It might have worked, if I had been aware of that nickname Grandma had given Mom... but I'd never heard about it until Mom inexplicably brought it up that first day home.
I went to see John Edward (the psychic of "Crossing Over" fame) a couple of years ago, hoping to connect with Grandma and confirm that she really did do these (and other) things, that it really was her. But as I talked with other people seated near me, I realized that my need to talk to Grandma was trivial by comparison to their situations. Some of them had children who had been murdered... some had recently lost a spouse or a parent to cancer... these were people in terrible pain, and as I sat there, I thought, "Grandma, as much as I'd love to talk with you, these people need their connections much worse. If you can, please help their loved ones to come through, and don't worry about me."
And of the six people I'd been talking with in my immediate area, five of them got a reading that night. The sixth was a woman who apparently suffered from some sort of limited mental capacity, and John Edward talked with her companion and arranged to help her privately. Out of an audience of about 2400!
Okay, too long a post, but if I weren't verbose, you wouldn't know it was me. ~ sigh ~ Thanks for listening... and please keep posting your stories!