My Grandparents Said Goodbye
When I was growing up, my sister and I lived in a house with our mother and our grandparents. Our mom worked long hours at a factory in town and so our grandparents were the ones who took care of us most often. Basically, they raised us.
Sadly, when I was 18 and my sister was 21 our grandfather passed away. He had been sick for a few months so it wasn't unexpected; nonetheless we grieved very deeply for the man who had been like a father to us when our own father had abandoned us years earlier.
One day, about four months after his death, my sister and I were sitting in the living room. A few weeks before, my grandmother had finally cleaned out Grandpa's closet and dressers and given away a lot of his clothing and other items to a local homeless shelter. One of the things that she had given away was a box of mens' cologne, Old Spice, which was Grandpa's favorite scent.
My sis and I were talking about how much we missed Grandpa, and how sad we still were; losing him had left a hole in our family that was never filled. Suddenly, my sister looked at me, shocked yet pleased, and said "Do you smell that?"
I smiled at her and said "Old Spice!"
Sis and I both knew that, surrounded by that welcoming scent, Grandpa had come back to tell his girls that he might be gone from the physical world, but he would always be with us, looking out for us.
Sadly, eight years after Grandpa passed our grandmother took ill and passed very suddenly. I was an adult now, 26 years old, married with my own child. My daughter and I came
back home for the funeral and stayed in my childhood home for a month, helping my mother sort through Grandma's things and getting all of her affairs in order. My daughter, who was 4, thought it was fun sleeping in my old room, and my mother and I would sit up nights after she would go to bed, talking about the good old days and looking at photo albums.
Now, one thing that you must know about my grandma; she loved doing laundry and she was VERY particular that it be done properly. She never dried clothes in the dryer either, even though she had one. She hung them on the line in the backyard in summer and on a line in the basement in winter. Often while she had a load in the washer, she would stand beside the washer and would lift the lid to make sure the clothes were circulating freely so they would get very clean.
One evening, Mom, my daughter and I were sitting at the kitchen table, which is next to the laundry room. My little girl looked in the laundry room and smiled. I said "What are you smiling about, sweetie?"
She grinned even bigger and said "I'm watching Nana doing laundry!"
Just then, we heard the washer open and then close. My mother laughed and said "Don't worry Mom; I'm doing laundry just the way you would have!"
In her own strange way, I know that was my grandmother reaching out to us and letting us know that she was happy and still with us, even after passing. And I think she was satisfied with the job my mother was doing on the laundry because we never had the washer open and close by itself again!