I had a dream about him the other night and I can’t stop thinking about it. You know how dreams are, sometimes you can’t really remember all the details but you remember certain little things.
I woke up smiling but also on the verge of tears because I miss him. Only a few weeks prior, my mom told me she dreamt of him too. In her dream he just gave her a big hug.
It’s strange how dreams can feel so real. The fact that we even have dreams is actually really weird. What are they? Do they have meaning? Are they trying to tell us something? Does our daily routine affect the types of dreams we have? There are endless questions.
I was only 6 years old when my grandpa died. I don’t have a lot of memories with him but any memories I do have are good ones.
I remember the little things like the light blue jeans he always wore, the fact that he ALWAYS had candy for me (my favorite were the strawberry ones, but he had smarties and butterscotch candies too), the beaded covers on the front seats of his car and the fact the he was the only person to call my brother Danny.
In my dream he was alive, he told me that he never died, he just went away. I was trying to calculate how old he must have been whilst wondering why he had gone away without telling his family that he was still alive. Like I said, dreams are weird.
He obviously isn’t really still alive, as I said, he died when I was 6. I clearly remember attending his funeral and for the first time, knowing what it felt like to lose a loved one. Thinking how strange it was that someone could be here one day and gone the next. It was really difficult to watch all of the grown-up’s around me completely lose it.
My grandma lived about 15 years after he died. The strongest woman I have ever known, she was a nurse in WWII which is how she met my grandpa who was a B17 bomber pilot. They married and raised 6 children together, my dad being their youngest. War took it’s toll on my grandpa and from what I’ve been told, he gave into alcoholism and was a pretty difficult person to be around when my aunt’s and uncle’s were young. My grandma stayed with him through those difficult times and things eventually got better. They became grandparents of 17 children including myself, and Great-grandparents to 10 children.
I was 21 when Nana died and I was overcome with many different emotions. I felt sad that she was gone and I wished I had spent more time with her while she was here. I felt happy that she was no longer suffering in the hospital and that she was reunited with Poppy in heaven. But I mostly felt amazed by how much love was surrounding her. With 6 kids and 17 grown grandkids there was anything but a lack of love. I don’t think she spent one moment alone in that hospital room. Each day she was there, she was visited by family members and I couldn’t help but think that there couldn’t have been a better way for her to make her grand exit from this world (except maybe in her own bed at home).
I got married almost two years after nana had gone and in the days preceding my wedding there were constant reminders of both of my grandparents in my life. After she died my dad gave me a little coin purse of hers that was filled with pennies and a tiny mesh baggie containing sequins that said “50”, two quarters and a little tag that said, “Bob and Marion Winners 50 Years of Hugs and Kisses”. It was a favor from their 50th wedding anniversary. I kept it in my car as a good luck charm and came across it while planning my wedding. I looked at it and thought, ’50 years!! Wow, that is a long time. I haven’t even been alive for half that many years and my grandparents maintained a strong marriage for that long’. It was just the kind of inspiration I needed as I was preparing to spend the rest of my life with Blake.
At my bridal shower I looked out of the window and saw an elderly woman with the same hair color and style that Nana had. I knew she passed away, but for some reason my mind immediately thought “Yay! Nana’s here!”. I like to think she stopped by for just a moment only to remind me that she would be attending in spirit, I never saw the lookalike woman after that initial sighting.
The morning of the wedding my mom was eager to get me to her hotel room where she had stayed the night with some of the girls including my cousin Meghan.
Meghan is my “twin from another womb”, something our mom’s used to say because we were born just one day apart. She is that one cousin who is exactly my age and therefore we can relate the most and have bonded so much over the years. Meg and I had many similar fond memories of Nana since we were usually together when we were with her. We love to reminisce about the time we stayed the night at our grandparent’s big green house up on the hill, the house that our parents grew up in and where we spent many holidays as children. There was a pool table, a beautiful view from the backyard and a trail going down the backside of the hill that we always wandered on (any kids dream!). Nana was known for making the best french toast in the world and that was what we were spoiled with when Meghan and I stayed the night at her house. The point is, Meghan and I are the babies of the family and we didn’t get to grow up with our grandparents the way that some of our older cousins had the opportunity to. Our time with them was short but sweet and although we know that they wouldn’t want us to be sad, we still sometimes wish they were around for our bigger moments in life.
But back to that morning, my mom rushed me to her hotel room and started encouraging Meghan to tell me about a dream that she had the night before.
I could tell it was an emotional dream since Meg was having a hard time even getting the words out. Our eyes both immediately filled with tears as she began recounting her dream for me.
She said, “I dreamt about Nana, she was standing on the driveway at her and Poppy’s old house, and our whole family was looking up at her. She looked angelic and beautiful as always. She was giving a speech telling us how she believed that the main reason she had worked as a nurse during WWII was so that she could be prepared to raise and be the foundation of such a big family and that she was proud of all of us.”
At this point we both had tears rolling down our cheeks and stopped to grab some tissues. She continued, “Then she began to tell everyone how proud she was of you, how happy she was that you were marrying Blake and that she loved you very much.”
As you could imagine I was a wreck, but in a good way. I was covered in tears, partially sad because hearing this made me miss her, but happy too because it really felt as though Nana was reaching out to me on the morning of my wedding day. Appearing in Meghan’s dream to let me know that she was proud of me and that she would be there watching over the whole event.
There couldn’t have been a better way for me to start that day. It was something that I didn’t even know I needed but once I had it, I knew there was a purpose for it and that there was nothing to worry about. On the days leading up to the wedding I was nervous and stressed out (as any bride usually is). After hearing Meghan’s dream, it was as though I was hit with a wave of tranquility. I was no longer freaking out about what little thing could go wrong and the day couldn’t have gone more smoothly.
This is written in loving memory of Robert Albert Winners and Marion Ann Winners, two amazing people who loved each other, served our country, raised a great family and had the best senses of humor. My grandparents and guardian angels, you are loved and missed by all who knew you.