Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween, My Grandmother's Birthday & Her Spirit

   Halloween was my grandmother Mary's birthday, so it became my favorite childhood holiday. It was a birthday she'd share with her best friend for life - Emily.

   We were very close when she died in my late 20's (late 1980's). We had made an agreement, and renewed the agreement many times: whoever died first would contact the other. The week before she died she called me (in San Diego) from her home in Toronto, Canada. "Debra, I want you to promise me that if I die, and you have made plans to be somewhere, or do something, don't cancel the plans. And don't bother sending flowers. I won't be there to see them anyway." (She had always felt that flower arrangements were a terrible waste of money.)  I was a little perplexed as to why she said these things, but I gave her my word. With her, if you gave your word you had to carry it through!

The next weekend, my husband and I had reservations to attend a Medieval Times event in Los Angeles on Saturday. On the Friday night before , my father called  and said "Your grandmother is dead."  No details... nothing. I was in a terrible  state of grief. I told my husband about my conversation with her the week before, and we agreed to attend the event, as I promised her.

     That night I fell into a fitful sleep. Suddenly, I found my self in a lucid dreaming state, and my grandmother was standing there. Don't ask me why, but I blurted out "Gram, why are you in a hospital gown?
" "Because I died in the hospital," she replied in a matter of fact way. At this point it was clear that our relationship was exactly the same... nothing had changed due to her new "condition". She waved her arm and was shown real-time scenes of my Aunt, Uncle and cousins in her condo in Toronto, Canada. They were sorting things things into boxes to keep, or give to the Salvation Army. Then the scene changed, and we were on a boat crossing a river. There was a beautiful glass or crystal city on an island in the distance. Halfway across the river, she said (in her no nonsense way); "This is as far as you can come with me." I started crying as she enfolded me in her arms.  I woke up in my room, smelling her rose perfume.

       We did go to Medieval Times, which is something my grandmother would have loved. She was very into all things British, especially the Queens. It was very hard for me to go through with that day. I kept crying. On Sunday, my cousin, whom I had seen in the vision, called to give me the Memorial details. I told her I wouldn't be attending. I also told her about my grandmother's visit and what I had seen her and her family doing in the vision. She gasped, and said that it was true... and they did give boxes of stuff to the Salvation Army.

        Time passed. Then, I started having repeated visits from my grandmother. She kept showing me the same scene: In a dresser drawer there were many envelopes and small boxes. She urgently wanted me to see something.
This was repeated periodically for over 11 years. I had no way of knowing where this dresser was. I knew it wasn't something my cousins or my father knew anything about. The only remaining relative in Canada was an uncle who was somewhat reclusive, and I had no way of contacting him.

       On February 29, 2000 (leap day), a small package arrived via US mail. It was postmarked Toronto, Canada. Inside was a small blue box containing silver medallion of Queen Elizabeth, commemorating the 1976 Montreal Olympics. There was a very sweet note from my elusive uncle. "You grandmother always wanted you to have this. You were loved very much."  I knew this would be the end of the repeated dream episodes of urgently searching through the drawer.
     Though those epidodes were over, Mary still visits me. I can feel her loving presence and  smell her rose perfume.

*The above painting was done by myself. Oil and acrylic on canvas. It was done tongue in cheek pointing out the tradition of La Mort in still-life painting. Very Halloweeny and Day of the Dead!