Out of Body, I Watch Grandpa Die

I flew very high over the ground which looked like a muted quilt of grays and blacks. There were many fields and rivers but, in an amazingly short time, I seemed to be floating down. I knew where I was headed, even though I’d never seen it from above before.

By Marilyn Taylor, Santa Rosa, Ca., 2004

When I was about nineteen, I’m now thirty-nine; I had an out of body experience that changed my perceptions about death and so much more. I was married to a sailor who was out to sea at the time, so I was alone the night this happened.

I had gone to bed, as usual, and gone to sleep. Some time later I began to dream, or so I thought at first. I woke up and sat up in my bed. I could see through the window that it was still dark, so I thought that I’d just go to the bathroom and go back to sleep. When I got up, however, I happened to look down and there I was still lying in my bed asleep. I was not alarmed by this because I’d had out of body experiences my whole life. I noted in passing that I had my usual shimmery silver “rope” connecting me to me, and since there seemed to be something urging me to do so, I went over to the window and leaned out. The fact that the window was closed didn’t matter; after all I was of no physical matter. I leaned so far out that I began to fall toward the ground, only to swoop up at the last minute, and fly over the tops of the trees.

I flew very high over the ground which looked like a muted quilt of grays and blacks. There were many fields and rivers but, in an amazingly short time, I seemed to be floating down. I knew where I was headed, even though I’d never seen it from above before. The whole trip from my apartment in California to my Grandparents’ in Missouri seemed to have taken only minutes.

Next thing I knew, I was hovering over my Grandpa’s bed as I watched my Grandma help him get settled for the night. She tucked him in, gave him his medicines, kissed him goodnight and leaving the room, turned off the light. I remember noticing their Pomeranian, Beanie (as in jelly bean because he was so small) as he jumped up on the bed and curled up by Grandpa. Despite the fact that he had been dead for at least two years, there he was, laying in a ball, and looking right at me. “OK,” I thought, “They always were inseparable.”

It didn’t seem like that long till my Grandpa sat up, and looking right at me, floated up and away from his now empty body. I could see that he didn’t have any cord or rope tying him to the empty husk that had been him. I’m not sure what made me think of an empty husk, but that is just what it looked like. Without a tie to it, his body didn’t look anything like my own body back home. The difference was that profound. I knew then that he had just “died.”

Before I had more than a split second to react to all of this, Grandpa said/thought to me, that he loved me, that I was not to be sad about his leaving because he would always be around, and that he was happy and very ready for “this.” All of this and so much more was conveyed clearly in my head without his mouth ever moving. He then held out his arms for Beanie, and when the dog jumped up into them, they both floated up and through the ceiling. I hovered there for a moment or two letting it sink in then, I too, floated up and back to my own sleeping form in California. When I got back into myself, I fell into a deep restful sleep.

The next morning, at around six-thirty, I was awakened by the phone. I jumped out of bed and ran into the kitchen where it was on its third ring and grabbed it up saying,”Yea, I know, Mom, Grandpa died last night. It’s ok, I was there. I’ll be all right.” My Mom, having been around me my whole life, was experienced and perfectly ok with these types of things. All she said was, “Ok Hon, if you’re sure you’re all right. Sorry to have woke you. Call me later.”

A week or so later, at the funeral, I suddenly remembered a conversation that I had had with my Grandpa when I was about twelve. We had been talking about his experiences in the south Pacific during world war two, when we got upon the subject of death. He told me that he was not afraid of dying because he had seen his funeral in a dream years ago. He said that he would be sitting on his casket and watching the whole thing. He also told me that he was glad that at least I had worn a light blue and pastel dress, because he didn’t think that everyone should mourn his passing. He wanted us to celebrate, like the Irish do, because he knew that he’d had a great life, and since he was there watching us, being dead couldn’t be all that bad. .

Coming out of my reverie, I looked around, and sure enough, I was the only one not wearing dark mourning colors. When we had packed for a hasty trip to Missouri, I’d been upset that the only thing that I had to wear to a funeral, that was nice enough, was the light blue sweater, and plaid pastel skirt that I now wore. With that revelation, I stopped crying over missing my Grandpa, and looked over toward his casket with a big smile.

From that time on, I have never been afraid of dying. Even in the scariest situations, I have remained calm and rational, often finding myself in the position of saving someone else. I don’t know how my life will end, but whatever comes after doesn’t frighten me anymore. I just try to live as though each day is precious, and to be enjoyed for whatever it brings my way.

Helen Keller said it best when she said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”

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We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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