No one told me that Grandpa had gotten worse. I knew he was in Sayre Nursing Home. I had visited him there before I left town ( this was in 1974) because I knew it would be a very long time before I saw him again. He appeared to be in reasonably good health then. He had always been long and slender. His nick name among his friends had been "Slim." His emphysema was troublesome, but was no worse than it had been for a long time. He often just ran out of energy and would sleep a lot. I was unaware that things could change rapidly. It could also be true that I just did not want to know.
I woke from a troubling dream one morning. It was my turn to work in the kitchen this morning and I had to wake early anyway. The young woman in the next cubicle bed area was a friend of mine. She was awake and writing in her notebooks. It was a good time for her to write, when everything was quiet. I was so troubled by my dream that I had to tell someone.
"Brooke" I whispered." I need to talk. Do you mind if I come over?"
She let me sit on her bed and she listened as I told her of my dream. She was an intelligent person and her major was in social work. I figured she could help me sort it out or just be a friend and hug me. I had a horrid sense of dread hanging over me.
I told her the dream. It started with me walking a path in a very dark place. There was a sense of shadows on each side. As I walked along I could feel that others were around me. A shadow separated itself from the darkness at the left of me. I could sense it was a person but could not see or define it. The voice was male and familiar but I could not quite place it. It said," We must hurry!" The shadow indicated that we must walk faster and keep in this path. I could see other shadows flit past us and they had vague outlines. Some were feeling and saying things like " I don't want to do this!" Others were feeling very happy about this walk. Some were eager to go and some reluctant. The ones that worried me most were the misshapen shadows that were downright scared. Those shadows, as I sensed them, seemed to be not very nice or good, I hate to say.
The long tall shape at my side did not indicate any particular feeling except a rush to get to wherever we were walking to. It did not seem to be very long before we could see a light ahead of us. It was then that I recognized we were in a tunnel of some sort. The sides were just not definite or solid seeming. ( Okay. Now remember this. I had never read anything about near death experiences. Had those even been written about in that time period? I do not know. So I was not familiar with the imagery of near death, etc.) The figure at my side began to rush along and hurry me. " Hurry! Hurry! I have to get there."
We got closer and closer to that light. I began to feel warmth and a feeling of being drawn to that warmth. Is it corny to say that I just "knew" that if I could reach that light that everything would be okay. It was everything we love wrapped up into light. It was the feeling of home, family, reassurance and love. It was a feeling of belonging that I have never found since. Then the shadow beside me abruptly stopped. We had not yet reached the end and the light and we stopped. "Why?" I asked. "You have to go back now" the shadowy figure said softly, "You can't stay." I could sense the sadness in having to say this, but it was quickly replaced by joy as the shadow moved forward. I abruptly was awakened in my bed. It was a dream. I could not just dismiss it, though, as I awakened.
Telling Brooke helped me a bit. I was able to feel less disconnected. As I told her," I feel as if I lost something precious. I could not stay and I really am unhappy about that." She laughed and said," Honey, it is just a dream!"
I went to work in the kitchen. As I polished the stainless steel of the counter in the kitchen, I thought of the figure that was in my dream. What was it supposed to mean? I looked up and Barbara W. was standing in the door of the kitchen. She was in charge of running the place, but she was also very close to me. I could see concern on her face. " Omigod! It is my grandpa isn't it?" I said. She nodded, sadly, the warm room creating runnels of perspiration to run down her face, almost like tears in the wrong place. Everything stood out in deep relief. Suddenly the meaning of the dream came rushing at me. Grandpa was dead. That slim figure was his! Perhaps I had not wanted to know it was him. Who knows? He had left and somehow I had walked with him on that last mile. How was that possible? I do not know but I have never doubted that it did happen.
In later years, I have been able to think about this. I do believe that he and I had such a tie that he could take me on that last walk. Yes, I do believe it happened. It was not a dream. I would confirm to anyone who would listen that I did this. I also read some of the near death accounts and I know that is what happened. They match my account. Though I have never read any accounts that talk of the others passing them in the tunnel or of the feelings of reluctance that some were feeling. Those figures that were fearful, what of them? How could they be fearful if the light was feeling so good? Were they not feeling the same feelings I was? Were they not seeing a white light that drew them along as I did? What did they see? Those poor souls still worry me. I know grandpa was happy, and that reassures me. I can hardly wait until I am allowed to return to that place.