The Last Goodbye

My paternal grandmother died just one month shy of my daughter’s second birthday.

They always had a special relationship, the two of them. My grandmother was in poor health. She was on kidney dialysis the last years of her life due to chronic uncontrolled hypertension. She had many rambunctious great-grandchildren, but due to her medical fragility she did not always feel up to their visits. My dad, however, would take my daughter Kiera to see her every week. I worried about the impact of such visits on her health but my dad assured me that grandma wanted to see Kiera.

While the other grandkids rattled her with their noise and boundless energy, Kiera seemed to understand what grandma needed. She was quiet, gentle. She would crawl into grandma’s lap and snuggle or read books. She was a calming force. My grandma called her “special” and labelled her as an old soul. She looked forward to Kiera’s visits and actually hid a toy stash especially for her.

Eventually grandma got cancer. Her body was not strong enough for surgery or other treatment. When the cancer debilitated her to the point where she could not attend dialysis, her organs shut down quickly. In those last weeks, she was so ill that we no longer took Kiera to see her.

The night she died, I remember sitting on the couch with my mom watching Kiera play in the floor with her building blocks. My dad came home after spending the evening with grandma. It was evident from the look on his face that the end was near. In hushed tones, he updated us on her condition.

As we spoke, I heard Kiera’s little high-pitched voice from the floor. I could hear the sing-song tone of her voice but it took me a few moments to pay attention to what she was saying.

“Bye bye, geet gamma…. geet gamma, bye bye…. bye bye geet gamma..”

(geet gamma = great grandma in Kiera toddler speak)

Still seated on the floor, she had turned away from us and she was staring up at the ceiling in the far corner of the living room. She opened and closed her tiny hand toward the corner in that adorable way that toddlers wave goodbye.

She continued to chant, “bye bye, geet gamma…. geet gamma, bye bye…. bye bye geet gamma..”

This went on for about 30 seconds. Then she turned back to her blocks and continued playing as if nothing happened. She was oblivious to the three adults in the room that were now watching her silently. Speechless.

I have to admit, when I first realized what she was doing, my blood ran cold. It was an eerie moment. As I listened to her voice, the chill abated and I felt comfort. Kiera sounded happy and cheerful with no trace of fear.

Ten minutes later, the phone rang. It was my aunt calling to let us know that grandma had passed away… about ten minutes before.

I know that not everyone believes in ghosts or paranormal, supernatural activity. Some people have logical explanations for everything, including the above story. I believe that love creates an energy that is powerful enough to transcend time and space. It was wonderful to see something right before my eyes that validated that belief (at least to me). No one will ever convince me that it was anything other than my grandma stopping by to say goodbye to her very special great-granddaughter.

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10 thoughts on “The Last Goodbye

  1. Whoa Amie! This gives me chills. I totally believe in this kind of occurrence. I don’t think they happen all the time, but when they do it is a special connection to the other side. What an amazing experience you were given!

  2. RIP. And what an odd story.

    My grandfather died when I was in high school. He was a portrait artist (drawing the likes of opera singers, jockeys, famous locals), and the day after the funeral, I was in art class, sitting in the courtyard of the school sketching a still life with my class. None of us took it seriously at all, and I’m not an amazing artist, most of us just drew a tree and some flowers or whatever, but I just kind of zoned out and ended up with a reasonably good sketch of the part of the school I was facing, and a pretty detailed-looking tree. I never drew that well again, so maybe there was something – or someone – there.

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