When I was eleven years old, my grandmother Ida was dying from bladder cancer. I didn’t know that at the time, but I knew she was very ill. One day, a friend and I rode our bicycles over to her apartment to visit. She was lying in bed and not feeling well, and I was patting her arm and saying the things that I thought you should say, which was mostly, “Don’t worry grandma, you’ll be okay” Pat, pat.
She turned to me, took my hand and looked me in the eye. She said “No sweetie, I’m not going to get well. I’m dying. But it’s okay, because it’s part of life and I don’t want you to ever be afraid of it” And she smiled.
Two things happened. First, I was shocked that an adult would be that honest and open with me about a such a serious subject, and second, whatever fear I had about death vanished in an instant. I’ve never been afraid of it since and I am 61 and in very poor health myself. It was the greatest gift anyone could have given me up to that point in my life.
When she passed, she willed a diamond out of her engagement ring to me, and one to my sister, to be given to us on our sixteenth birthdays. My parents made mine into a pendant which I wore around my neck non-stop until I was about twenty-two. And then I was in the hospital for a chest x-ray and left it in the dressing room, not noticing until it was too late. It was gone, and I was devastated. I went home and cried my eyes out for hours. Then suddenly, out of blue, I felt her presence with me and the words “You don’t need the necklace for me to be near you” came into my left ear (that’s where I hear my higher self “speak” and no, I don’t hear voices….but they are loud thoughts). A calm came over me and I stopped crying. And Ida has been by my side ever since. I think she knew back when she told me not to be afraid, just how challenging my life would be due to a genetic tumor disorder that has, in fact, been difficult and horrifically painful for me for many, many years. But all I have to do is think of her, and she’s here with me bringing with her a calming peace. Sometimes, it takes years to see that something given years before was indeed, a great gift.
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