by Jack A. Schoenecker
(San Jose, CA, U.S.)
My grandfather was a wonderful man whose last moments of life were in a hospital bed. It saddens me to think that, as my grandmother waited at home for news of him, that he passed on alone. His death was not a shock as he had been in poor health for quite some time. My family and I visited him for the last time in Minnesota during the winter knowing we were likely never to see him again. My grandmother Loraine told us that while we were there, as we lived in California and rarely were able to see them, that he had been the most alive since he had become ill.
At three o'clock on a cold spring morning, my grandfather Herb died. Around six in the morning he said goodbye to me. As I slept, I dreamed my entire family was eating at a large table in a grandiose dining room. It included my Schoenecker and Simmons family members all eating, drinking, living. In fact, I could only remember happy moments all throughout the dream. It was, in the dream, during our casual discussions over dinner that my grandfather stood and dismissed himself from the table. Noticing his absence I was compelled to chase after him down the hall. Just before he reached the door I tugged on his sleeve, forcing him to stay for a moment. He smiled at me so sweetly.
"I have to go Jack." He said to me.
"Why? Come back to the table." I relpied. He stopped me talking and embraced me. His hug was so tight I felt he would never let go. In fact, I was so focused on feeling the embrace that it wasn't until he was waving goodbye from the doorway that I realized I was no longer with him. My Grandfather said goodbye to me that morning.
I awoke with tears in my eyes. I knew he was dead. I didn't know how but I knew. It was minutes after that my father called me. He told me that he had something very sad to tell me. I said that I knew. I told him that Grandpa Herb was dead as I choked back tears.
For years before that morning I had been actively involved in Wicca. My friends and I had been connecting on levels we didn't realize existed. That morning I knew, whether by my will or his, that my grandfather and I had reached each other. I told my family and they consider it a blessing that I was gifted his final thoughts. I can still feel his arms wrapped around me when I focus on it. I was 15 then.