Dear Tom Selleck . . .
For months now, Granny has been given days to weeks at the most to live. She is strong and stubborn and if we're being honest, a bit of a drama queen. Much like yours truly.
She hosted a dinner party last night and I was on the very exclusive guest list. Mind you she has been bedridden for months and while there have been small rallies, she has clearly been declining. I had visited last Monday and she was barely responsive. She had not eaten since the previous Thursday, had some nasty bed sores, and I was sure that would be the last time I saw her alive.
Throughout all of this I have kept my emotions in check except when I'm alone or with my closest friends. It's how I roll. On Monday, I could barely hold it together long enough to get out of the door and cried in sobs the whole ride home.
And then I got a text at work on Saturday, inviting me to a dinner party Sunday evening. Certainly this was some sort of bad joke. In my head I imagined her barely and deliriously squeaking out the idea of having a few people over for dinner and my aunt going into 'make it happen' mode. The thought of standing around Granny's deathbed with divided plates and red Solo cups, making small talk and corny jokes is not my idea of fun.
And then I got a call from my cousin, Granny's favorite and mine too. She had talked to her on the phone! The weird just got weirder and was about to get even weirder before it was all over. Apparently all of the bed sores were gone when they bathed her, she was no longer on oxygen, was eating better than any of us, and was thinking and speaking clear as a bell.
She remembers very little of the last two months, including her favorite grandchild being by her side 24 x 7 for 10 straight days. We can't blame morphine because she's refused to take anything stronger than an extra-strength Tylenol. She's pissed because she's living with my aunt and no longer has an apartment or any belongings . . . because she gave everything away to us already. It's as though she's been asleep and just woke up with one other little quirk. She sees and talks to dead people. Especially my dad.
Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get to the party and pump her for information from the other side. I was still hesitant to walk through the door, having NO idea what to expect after what I had witnessed earlier in the week. And there she sat . . . watching NASCAR, talking, joking, laughing . . . same old Gran! My mind was blown!
Of course I hugged and kissed her and told her how much I love her! But did she know some of us already had memory bears made from her nightgowns and sweatshirts? There were plants and flowers sent in her memory? We had her funeral planned and her money spent? Was she just fucking with us?!
While everyone around me acted as if this were any other dinner party, I took the opportunity to ask Granny the tough questions starting with . . . Are you or were you just messing with all of us Gran? Which is it, were you fake dying or are you now faking getting/being better? She didn't know what had happened, just that "no one should ever tell her she can't do something!"
Then I went in for the kill. (pun intended) So Gran . . . I hear you talked to my dad. And as if we were talking about the corn pudding being served in the other room she said yes! The clarity in her eyes and tone of voice took my breath away. I had to know more.
She told me for over a week now, every time she closes her eyes my dad pops up and they talk all of the time. She described him in great detail, wearing his old blue shorts and faded blue t-shirt, barefoot, his long skinny legs crossed, sometimes sitting in a lawn chair and others in a rocking chair, and get this . . . smoking! She told him he wasn't allowed to smoke up there and he told her 'the head angel lets him have one a day to make up for all of the distress he lived under while here on earth'.
We didn't get much past that before someone asked her what else she wanted to eat. She tried to tell me more later and again, someone interrupted wanting her to tell old stories, reminisce. Yet again we tried to talk about it and others wanted to sing, laugh, talk about her getting better.
What the fuck people?! I know they heard her! I don't understand how someone can have a front row seat to death and dying, to communicating with the other side regardless of what you believe, and completely ignore it! How often do we get the chance to ask about what else is out there? To only have one degree of separation when communicating with our loved ones who have already passed?
With everyone pretending Granny isn't seeing and talking to dead people, I knew I wouldn't get all of the answers until we could be alone. So I kissed her before I left and whispered in her ear that I believe her 100% and to tell my dad hi and that I love him. She knows I talk to him everyday, so he would already know I love him but it would be really cool if she could tell him for me. I told her I knew he was waiting for her and that I hope we can talk more about it when not everyone is around.
She squeezed my hand, kissed me, told me she loves me, and looked at me with those eyes that know ALL now and told me she'd tell him and we'd talk about it later.
I called to check on her today and she couldn't wait to tell me she told him! As always, he popped right up last night and after she talked to him about me he said, "That's my girl!"
I believe her 100%.
Edie B. Kuhl