on the grandmas who haunt us.


My grandma Rosemary died when I was ten. My memories of her are few and far between–mostly pieced together from old pictures and home videos.

She was a registered nurse–delivering hundreds of babies in a small town northeast of here. And she was a farmer’s wife. She served–in every sense of the word.

I can’t remember her face or her voice. But I remember the sound she made when she walked. She was always moving–she really never sat down. She always wore slacks (she called them slacks, not pants. also davenport, not couch. and supper, not dinner.) and when she walked–she swished. It was the busiest sound–swish, swish, swish.

I remember sitting in her kitchen the night she died–the absence of her and her sound were deafening.

. . .

Our first night home from the hospital with Johnny was a long one. I was afraid to put him down. Every time he cried, I picked him up and held him on my chest.


I was a new adoptive mother–trying to bond with my son. And trying my best to manage the stress that came with the hours that felt like years before our birthparents gave their consent. I was mentally and physically exhausted–I really don’t think I’d slept at all since his birth.

I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing–I felt totally inadequate–and I think he knew it. We were up most of the night.

I’d sent Danny to the guest room to sleep hours before. And I remember finally giving up at 4am–swaddling my newborn baby the way they’d shown me in the hospital and laying him down wide-awake in his bassinette.

I turned off the light and curled around my pillow. I closed my eyes. And I heard her.

Swish, swish, swish. I could hear that swishing sound. She was moving–in circles–all around his bassinette. And then I felt her–sitting next to me on the edge of the bed–her weight pulling the comforter down tight around my body.

I remember opening my eyes–wanting to see her. But there was no one there.

His bassinette was rocking all by itself next to me though–and he was sound asleep.

. . .

I know I was tired. I know I was probably grasping for something–anything to get me through that long first night of motherhood. But I also know what I heard–and felt. And I like to think if there was ever a time for a little visit–she would have picked that one night I needed her most.

I’ve experienced a few other “coincidences”–as my skeptical Aunt Mimi calls them–since then. Ha. But I’ll save those blog posts for another day.

Who else–anyone else out there know the feeling? I’d love to hear your stories too.

15 thoughts on “on the grandmas who haunt us.

  1. Lisa freeixhs says:

    Mine was my dog, Sherman, the best family Boxer. He tore his ACL and died of pain….in our family room….by euthanasia because mentally and physically his soul was already gone at 10 years old. We tried everything including a few surgeries and he knew we would have kept on going if we felt he could handle it.
    Our whole family was here to say goodbye and it was one of the worst days of our lives. We read books about grief and talked about how his time in doggie heaven provided him health and no pain.
    I believe dreams can be healing, but this dream felt REAL. Sherman’s head was on my side of the bed only 3 nights after he passed. I was petting his head and he was content….just like old times.
    The next morning my husband also woke to say he heard the weirdest thing in the middle of the night….shermans’s clicking toenails on the wood floor. Nope….not a dream….just our little buddy coming back to check on us and let us know he was ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Teresa says:

    Angie, which story do you want to hear. I and my family have had so many experiences. I think the most convincing one is after Bud’s dad passed, there were so many times that Bud smelled his cigar smoke in the basement of the house they lived in ( Bud’s Mother was still living there}. Later, our daughter and young family moved into the house. My Grandaughter, very small at the time was in the basement, and came up the stairs and asked her Mother, our daughter, who the man was standing at the work bench in the basement. This is only one of many things that happened in that house. In later years, we had a renter in there and had a furnace repair man doing some work on the furnace in the basement. The renter was not home at the time. So when he finished for the evening, he came to our house to tell us what the problem was. He came in the house in a panic and I knew right away what was wrong. I said you saw it didn’t you? He said there are ghost in that basement and I will not be back to finish the job. Sure enough another repair man was sent to finish. He was a good ghost, just watching over his property. True story!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. New rule: Jamie can only read Angie’s blog after removing makeup for the day.

    Yes. My sweet great grandma has visited me. As she was passing I was rushing to be at her bedside. I still remember exactly where I was on the interstate when I “felt” her soul leave. And I remember the song that was on my radio, Amazing Grace (the Chris Tomlin one).I was to late. She was a bird lover and just after her passing I was outside her place crying so hard that my nose started bleeding. Suddenly a few birds started swishing around my dad and I in furious circles as though she were pleading with me to stop. In following months we had a bird that would sit on the bush just outside our kitchen window as I did dishes. I knew it was her.

    Sometimes she comes to me in dreams and I can smell her and feel her there. I’ll often wake up and fight the urge to open my eyes because I feel her there but I know she’ll be gone as soon as I open them.

    Thanks for all you share. You make me dig deep. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • I smell my Grandma Eleanor all the time…all the time. She always wore Oil of Olay cold cream and I sniff it everywhere (I don’t use it myself). Sorry I make you cry, not my intention! Ha. I think we may be soul-sisters…start writing again…


  4. What a beautiful blessing to have her presence with you. Love the coincidence. People often say the same thing to me or say here comes another terra moment. Wether it’s a coping mechanism of the brain, a coincidence, or actual experience I think all things for a reason, for a feeling, a part of being real, human, in tune.

    After my grandma passed she was with me. On her deathversary and birthday I unconcioussly wore the necklaces that were hers. It wasn’t until later in the day that I realized what day it was. And the necklace was with me all day.

    My mother in law has stage 4 liver cancer we found out 3 years ago (and just this weekend admitted to the hospital for changes that have taken place over the last week… Found out metastasis to her brain). Our dog was a 5 year old shitzu and they loved each other. She was his favorite and he hers. When she was diagnosed he could tell. She did treatment for that next year and did really well. Defied the odds and kept it controlled. That following summer Taz (our dog) showed some changes, pretty aggressive. Long story short he died of Liver cancer. Very rare the vet said for a dog to get and especially for a young dog. My mother in law thinks he tried to save her some time and took some of it from her because he loved her so. Who knows but that made us more comfortable with his death, he was our baby so to speak. Here we are a year later and my mother in law is progressing towards the end of her life but in peace with it she says.

    Sort of got side tracked in the story there and probably emotionally vented in the light of this weekends changes. I believe in the “coincidences” and am thankful for them.

    Thanks for sharing your story Ang and your strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this!
    When Sawyer was born, and in his room. I refused to go in there at night. I told Aaron he had to because, I knew someone else was in there and I didn’t think I could handle seeing something. haha. I assumed it was my grandpa and great aunts. But it was just a feeling. I slowly gained the courage to go in at night, and I found myself always staring at the glider waiting for it to move or something.
    With Marshall, my screaming all the time baby…when he started sleeping in his room (at the new house), while changing his diaper, he would ALWAYS look at the same spot and smile, and when he learned how, laugh! I would say, I don’t know who’s over there, but thank you! He would just turn his head, look, and giggle! Much needed relief!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, same here. Deano used to play “with his sisters” in his crib. And he’d stand at the back window and say he was watching “his sisters swinging on the swingset” in our backyard (we lost three babies before we adopted Johnny). Would totally creeeeeep me out…haha.


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