By the time I reached the bottom of the stairs, Grandpa had gone
Type of Spiritual Experience
A superimposition of spirit upon sensory input
A description of the experience
The Art of Dying – Drs Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick
Ann Gerry also told us of an experience she had as a child when her grandfather died, which, like many others, is an indication of the strong link that is often forged between grandparents and grandchildren.
When I was ten years old (I am now 39) my maternal grandfather, whom we called, Papa, died suddenly from cancer . . . My parents decided not to tell either myself or my l4-year-old sister that he was ill. At that age I had no understanding or experience of death. At the end of the October half-term holiday we suddenly found ourselves . . . driving with our parents to our grandparents' home in Paignton, Devon. We had no idea of the real reason why. It was just wonderful that we were going to Nanna and Papa's and that we would be having extra days off school . . .
When we arrived at Nanna and Papa's house our parents were whisked off to the kitchen. Dad emerged a little while later and told us that Papa had gone. I must admit I did not understand that 'gone' meant for ever. The next morning I walked downstairs to the sound of someone cleaning the hearth of the open fire in the lounge . . . There was no hallway and the staircase led straight into the lounge. The sound was something I found painful and confusing as the job to clear the hearth had always been Papa’s. I remember looking through the banister rails to see who had had the audacity to do Papa's job, only to find that it was him. I could hear Mum, Dad and Nanna talking in the kitchen and I tried to work out why they had lied to me.
When the kitchen door opened and Nanna came into the lounge he stood up and just smiled. It was not a broad grin, but the gentle kind of smile that says it's all OK. By the time I reached the bottom of the stairs he had gone. I only ever told my sister until many years later, and for most of those years I kept wondering if I had seen him because I had wanted to.