I believe in our connection to those we have loved and lost. This past year I lost two grandparents in four months. My Grandma Morrissey passed away on June 17th and my Grandpa Moeller on September 9th of 2007. My family and friends had to watch both of them suffer before they died. My Grandma lost her ability to communicate and walk, and my Grandpa’s health took a swan dive. He could no longer do the things the loved like hunting, fishing, and just being outdoors. My Grandma couldn’t be her beautifully social self and was limited to writing on whiteboards and trying her hardest and so very often becoming upset and frustrated with us because she couldn’t convey what she wanted and we couldn’t understand.
On the Twenty-second of June, we had my Grandma’s funeral. All of the grandchildren were the pallbearers so I attempted to hold my own. Though, being the shortest, I really was just there for show. I tripped over the pinecones, and was somewhat relieved to set the heavy casket on the lowering apparatus. The service was short, and at the end a gentleman in a suit, carrying a small, black, velvet box, walked a few feet in front of the seats we were in. The preacher said the man was now going to release a pair of doves, to symbolize the release of Louise Morrissey’s spirit from this Earth. The box was opened, and two doves flew out into the sunlight. All I thought at the time was, “That was nice”.
Not even a full four months later, I woke up with a severe case of homesickness. There was nothing, I thought, to have caused this. No sappy letter from Mom, no package from her either. So I went about my business. I had just gotten out of the shower at Truman State University, where I attend college. My cell phone was ringing, and like all people now-a-days, I went out of my way to answer it. It was my mom. I said I’d call her back when I was all ready and dressed. I could tell something was wrong. When I called her back, she informed me that earlier that morning, my Grandpa had passed away. So my Dad drove three hours to come get me, and drove us both three hours back home.
The day of my Grandpa’s funeral, we went and visited my Grandma’s gravesite, since it was very close by. It had been a rough day, and we were almost ready to head out to lunch. My brother Jeff and I approached the grave first. The mound of dirt they put on top that normally sinks had sunk unevenly and had a hole at the end we were approaching. I bent down to place a rose in the hole, figuring it would be safest and closet to Grandma there. I was surprised and take aback when a pair of doves flew up and nearly into my face out of the hole and off into the sky. My entire family was stunned. It’s as if my Grandma was saying, “I know you’re here”.
So now, the Christmas season has just passed, and I had started to put this event in the back of my mind. However, I was yet again to be amazed. On Christmas morning, I went downstairs to join the rest of my family and start opening presents. I passed through the kitchen to get a glass of water. On my way back out I paused to look out the sliding glass door at our birdfeeder. There were no birds at it yet. But as I was standing there, sipping my water, a pair of Mourning doves flew down and landed among the empty seed hulls under the feeder. I did not say anything to my parents, as this was Christmas morning, and not a time to be sad. I just let myself feel what I would call the magic of the moment, and continued m holiday season, knowing my Grandparents were there all along, wishing they could be celebrating with us.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.