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Thanksgiving Death


I was 9 years old. My younger brother was 4. I wonder if it is memorable the first time he saw a dead body and witnessed all the hub of activity and then was the one to tell his father and then his brother everything that happened. This is not a scary story and involves seeing the spirit of someone who died.

It was Thanksgiving and it was going to be a busy day. My older brother and sister were dropped off at the hospital to see our father, then Mom and the four of us youngest children went to church. The plan was after church the rest of us would go to the hospital, see Dad then we would all go home for Thanksgiving meal.

That Sunday, we were invited to go to someone's house. After some convincing, our mother accepted the invitation. An elderly lady, that I took a shine to was also invited. I called her My Oma.

We arrived at the house of four ladies, all widows who preferred to live together in harmony. We were warmly greeted by them. Each one eager for us to give them our coats. As a team they put their given coats neatly on the bed in one of the bedrooms. One lady starting a sentence and another finishing it we were told there was a TV down the stairs.

There was a couch in the living room, with a little love seat facing it. I had the idea to sit with the elderly lady sitting on the love seat facing the couch. She said that she would prefer to have the chair turned around so she could look towards the kitchen and think about the thanksgivings she had in her life. I asked my mom if I could sit beside her and fully expected her to tell me to go downstairs, but she didn't. She told me to ask politely.

I asked my Oma for permission to sit next to her and she looked at me and smiled, telling me to do what pleased me. A chair was brought from the kitchen and it placed me at her right side. She reached for my hand and so we sat quietly watching and listening to the sounds coming from the kitchen.

I got up once, went to the bathroom and returning when one of the ladies decided to take a picture. As she removed my chair it was obvious a sense of loss came over me. I was assured that the chair would be put back after the picture was taken.

At one point she squeezed my hand very tightly and I heard her gasp and I looked at her expecting her to say something, but her head tilted to the left side resting on her shoulder. I did not realize that was the moment of her death. I turned and asked someone to tell me she was okay. One of the ladies got up and looked at her and said she fell asleep and that I shouldn't bother her.

The ladies encouraged me to go the tv room. They told me that she didn't know that I was with her. I heard them talking about senility. Not wanting to leave her and I promised that I would be still.

I sat with her for a long time. I might have fallen asleep and had a dream that I saw her dancing in front of me, smiling and happy. She was telling me that I could let go of her hand. The dream seemed so vivid and real to me.

Her hand became increasingly cooler and I was concerned she might need a blanket.

I touched her face and felt that it too was cold. I asked the ladies if they could get her a blanket and I was told not to disturb her. I didn't listen, wanting her to wake up so I could ask if she needed a blanket. I bent over her, looking at her tilted head. I made a choice to stroke her cheek thinking that I might wake her up. She didn't. I start to cry, wanting her to wake up so I lightly struck her face. It was more than a caress than less than a slap.

Bolting up out of their chairs the ladies in the room gasped and expressed outrage towards me that I was attempting to wake her.

They realized that she had died as an attempt to loosen the grip of her hand with mine failed. They had to explain to me that she had died before they suggested that I join my brother and sisters. "But, but but" I say, "I saw her dancing she can't be dead". The ladies got excited that I had the ability to see the spirit of a dead person and that all made me feel awkward.

As I went downstairs, my younger brother asked me, "what happened?". He had heard the commotion upstairs. I tell him she had died. Curious to see a dead person, he trades places with me going eagerly up the stairs while I go down and sit at the bottom of the steps, overwhelmed.

I can only sit and think. I wasn't interested in the TV. My thoughts replayed and replayed what happened, and how I felt badly for having struck her a little bit. Also my dream seemed so real.

My brother comes down the stairs and eagerly tells all the details. The doctor we knew from church was called and he came with another man. He added that the police were called, they came and left. They were now waiting for the ambulance to come.

I ask him to find out if the ladies are still upset with me and I told him that I slapped her. He is going to stay upstairs to see what happens and ask.

My brother comes to get me when she is on a stretcher ready to leave in the ambulance.

There was no room for me at the table, nor was there for my younger brother who negotiated standing at the table to eat.

I took my place on the steps and held onto my plate. I wasn't hungry. My stomach was twisted into a tight little ball. I thought that I could add my food to the tin foil pouch being made for my older brother and sister. I went upstairs with my uneaten plate. Everyone was laughing and that is where I wanted to be.

I liked the doctor and happily stood beside him as he talked. We learned that Oma was his neighbour and he had known her all his life.

Right after the meal our mom thought it was important for us to leave. Our brother and sister were still waiting for a ride home from the hospital.

At the hospital we saw our cousins playing in the parking lot with our older brother and older sister. My younger brother eagerly told his cousin who is close to his age everything that happened.

Our mom started to tell dad that someone had died and my dad turned to look at her and said that he had woke with a dream that someone had died.

My younger brother was very eager to talk about the experience and he proceeded with the greatest of confidence telling our dad everything that had happened. When I think of it it seems to me for his age he was a very good communicator.

He even told our father that I had slapped her and that made me cry. I was sure that my father was going to discipline me when he asked me to come to him. I stayed where I was, the tears came and it was hard to stop.

Stop, I did when the curtain in front me quickly moved revealing an elderly man sitting on another bed looking at me. The quick movement me took me by surprise. He looked at me, and asked me if it was true that I held someone's hand while they died. I nodded. He wiped the tears in his eyes with his hand as he asked me for a hug saying he would be happy if he had a hand to hold when he died. My dad encouraged me to go to him and hug.

I went to the funeral sitting with my mom and the four ladies who spoke in unison. They were eager for me to tell them, if I saw her spirit. To my surprise, I did see her standing behind the casket and gasped. She looked radiant and happy. She put two fingers to her lips. When the ladies repeatedly asked me if I saw her, I always shook my head sideways indicating NO and put my fingers to my lips as she did. I did not want them to know that I had seen her.

I spent my life avoiding being around people who might be dying for fear that I might see their spirit and feel the pressure that came with that.

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** this is another story I could not expand to 1,500 words and I want to share it **

My older brother had died a few years earlier, while with my sister and his lovely girlfriend were visiting we noted the day was the anniversary of his death. He passed away on Oct 29th. At ten to nine in the morning the digital clock started flashing. Unusual it was as the clock routinely numbered itself to flashing zeros, but that morning the clock flashed the number for at least 10 seconds so. We all clapped our hands, expressed our joy as we felt that he had come to visit. We also noted that the number reflected the date of his death. To our surprise, at!0:29 we were graced with another nudge from our brother as the clock began flashing again and we thought that his visit was cleverly timed.

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