When I was 21 months old, my mother's father, my Pepere,
left this earth. You'd think that, because I was so young, I would not have
been affected by his death. But throughout my childhood, I grieved for my
Pepere. I didn't know why I was so sad, after all, I had hardly known him.
My mom often told me that I had been very special to him. His wife, my grandmother,
died when I was 2 months old, and it was then that my Pepere came to live
with us. My mom told me that I was the apple of his eye.
As the years sped
by and I grew a little older, I found myself yearning to know
my Pepere. I felt very close to him, and this confused me, but
I liked to talk to him and tell him things as if he were with
me. One year on February 4, I was drawn to go into my parent's
room. My mother had a drawer in her bureau where she kept sentimental
trinkets and many old photos. I knew it was okay for me to look
in this drawer, and I often did. This particular day I felt different.
I felt that I was called to go to the room, open the drawer,
and look into a white envelope tucked on the side. In this envelope
were the obituaries of my Memere and my Pepere. As I read the
obituaries, I realized that my Memere was born on that very day,
February 4. I was elated! I just found this amazing and not coincidental
at all. I felt it was my Pepere letting me know it was my Memere's
birthday, which I had not known before.
Again, the years
passed. I continued to talk to my Pepere and always felt that
he was watching over me. I often found myself crying or just
being sad and wishing he was with me. I grew up and met a wonderful
woman named Donna. As we dated, I found myself more at peace
with not having my Pepere in my life. Then I realized one day
in a shock that Donna had been born on the same date that my
Pepere had died, September 13. One day was talking about my Pepere,
and Donna asked to see where he was buried. When we approached
the site, Donna became quiet. Her mouth dropped open. She said, "Look at the date he died." It
was the exact day she was born, September 13, 1963. She was born
at 7:00 in the morning, but I knew my Pepere had died at 7:00
in the evening. However, later that night, I was telling my mother
about the incident, and she corrected me saying that my Pepere
did die at 7:00 in the morning! To say the least, I was speechless.
Donna and I were married in 1983. It was at this time that I
no longer felt my Pepere's presence. I felt a wonderful sense
Three years later,
I looked at Donna and said, "You're pregnant." She looked at
me like I was crazy and asked why I would say such a thing. I
told her that I had begun to feel my Pepere's presence again
and that I felt he was telling me that she was pregnant. Nine
months later, our son was born. Two years later, the same thing
happened, and our daughter was born. She developed a milk allergy
and from the time she was nine months old she was a very cranky
baby, crying many hours a day. I was attending graduate school,
Donna was baby-sitting daily to help out with the bills. So our
daughter's condition challenged us and drained our energy.
One evening about
10:30, I was working on a paper and the baby started to cry.
I decided to let her cry for a few minutes, hoping that she would
fall back asleep. Donna was exhausted from dealing with a crying
child all day and was in bed, but she kept the baby monitor turned
on near the bed. She was about to get up to rock her when she
heard a man's voice over the monitor saying, "It's okay little
girl. Go back to sleep. Shhhhhhh." My wife was thankful that I had gotten
up to comfort our daughter. About 10 minutes later, she came out to the
kitchen where I was working and said, "Thanks, Honey, for taking care of
the baby." I told her that I had not left the table. "I thought she
went back to sleep on her own," I said. Donna didn't believe
me and told me she had heard my voice over the monitor. I denied
this and we argued for a minute. And then suddenly we both knew.
It had been my Pepere's voice Donna had heard comforting the
Several years have
passed since that night. Donna and I still recall the incident
and we feel blessed that my Pepere is there, close to us, always
watching over our family. I hardly knew him in life, and I was
too young to remember his death, but I know he lives on and I
love him as my grandfather and my friend. I know he has influenced
my life in many ways I'm sure I'm not even aware of. Someday
when it's my turn to go, I will meet him face to face again,
and I will know my Pepere's love again firsthand.