I went to take the clean clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer. Suddenly I had an an image in my mind of me and Nanny hanging clothes on the clothesline at the Oak Road house. We did that a lot in my younger years when she babysat me and my brother and our cousins. I lived next door to her for ten years when my kids were young. She babysat them too.
I thought I was just imagining the smell--something in my house. I walked out on the back porch and the smells followed me. I knew it had to be Nanny so I asked her what I could do for her.
She wanted me to play piano and sing at her funeral. I told her I would 40 years ago. She had not forgotten that promise and reminded me of it a few years ago. I told her then I did not think I could get through it without crying. But there was a special grace with this visitation and even though I did not know how much longer Nanny's spirit would animate a physical body, I knew I would be strengthened to do what I needed to do. I told her I would follow through with my promise to see her off with a song.
Nanny had an illness in 1952 and did not think she would live. She told me about this several times when I was younger. I wrote about it in my book, More Than Meets the Eye, so I'll post that excerpt here.
During the night I had what I thought was a dream. The angels lifted me from my body and took me out of the house and laid me down in a sandy spot in my front yard. Two white doves came and stayed with me all night. They were talking to me in a language I couldn’t understand. I could hear voices far away, and I saw a crowd of people wearing white robes who all looked the same. Without using words I asked the doves, “Where is my white robe?” One dove told me that I couldn’t have mine yet. “You have to wait a while,” he said, “You need to go back and finish raising your children.” I was disappointed. I didn’t want to go back. I wanted to join the people with the white robes. I came back but I had no desire to be here and didn’t want to live. It took a while for me to adjust to being here again. I knew there was a better place waiting for me on the other side. An experience like that never leaves you, and I have never been afraid of dying since then.
I asked her if the angel doves had her robe ready. She said, "It's almost time." She said for us not to cry for her too much. I promised her that our tears would be tears of gratitude for who she is and how she has blessed us all so much.
Less than a month later, my grandmother died. My cousin and I sang at her funeral. There was a tangible grace and peace that let me know Nanny was right there with us listening to our hymns and singing along with the family.
For more information, you might enjoy reading my book, More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife. Purchase paperback on Amazon.com. It's also on Amazon as an e-book for those who have Kindle or Sony Readers. The audio book is now available!