NOVEMBER 1st, 2015
By JOHN LILIES
In July this year, Lana shared his first paranormal experience (a ghosty visit from his grandmother that kept him safe from harm) and I decided that it’s time for me to share mine. My experience involves my paternal grandmother and though no ghosties are involved, Lana says it qualifies under the paranormal umbrella.
My father’s mother began living with Ma, Pa & Sister Lilies before I was born and lived with our family until I was six years old. Those years with Grandma Lilies were incredibly important and formed a bond between us that tugs at my heart to this day. When I was eight, after some time ailing and deteriorating in her home country, Grandma Lilies passed away leaving a permanent hole in my heart.
Before Grandma Lilies died, I had already been feeling ‘things’ and knowing ‘things’ without understanding the source. To this day I have not wondered how or why I feel, see, hear or know ‘things’. It just is and it’s just me. My relationship with Grandma Lilies provided the first distinct moment that I can remember, when I felt and knew ‘something’.
It was January. I was eight years old, Grandma Lilies had been back in her home country of Trinidad & Tobago for a little while and I knew she wasn’t well. Ma & Pa Lilies had explained that Grandma Lilies might not be around much longer and so we planned a trip to visit her and say goodbye. It was my first trip on a plane, my first time outside of Canada and my first visit to this mysterious place from where my father emigrated. I was excited and nervous.
I have disjointed recollections about the trip because there was so much to take in and figure out but I remember that everything was different… so incredibly different. The food and music were the only familiar experiences and I was grateful for that comfort. Prior to this trip I had met and spent significant time with some of my relatives living there, but there were more to meet and spend time with. The weather was drastically different from the cold and snow we had left at home. The bugs were different… oh how they were different and so much bigger! Spiders were not the spiders I knew from home and it was on that trip when I saw my first ever cockroach – big and with wings! It was this place that spawned my love of bats and reptiles. It was here I decided I could do without any more roach encounters and I didn’t feel the need to live with any other bugs of any sort but how I so enjoyed the wee lizards running around everywhere. I felt like a complete outsider and I felt like I was at home.
My most vivid memory of this week was visiting Grandma Lilies in the hospital. There was some sort of gathering taking place outside – I remember a large crowd of people and a man with a megaphone. Ma Lilies tells me it was a church assembly but I only remember being afraid because there were so many people and it was so loud. I knew that at home we were to be quiet around hospitals so this group was worrying me – I was deeply concerned that the patients wouldn’t be able to rest with people yelling outside the walls. I was already nervous to see Grandma Lilies in the hospital, knowing she was dying, and now I was scared from the experience of this crowd.
Entering the hospital, I was struck by the smell and the layout. At home, I had been inside hospitals and they looked very different. Here, where Grandma Lilies was, everything was so open. The ward was housing so many people in one room – I didn’t know where to look and had I been left on my own I was sure I would never have found Grandma Lilies among the many sick & dying in this room. I remember a couple of nurses smiling at me and I couldn’t understand why they were smiling when my grandmother was dying. Ma & Pa Lilies pushed me to the side of Grandma Lilies’ bed and told me to talk to her, to tell her that I loved her. I remember looking at her and thinking that she didn’t look like the Grandma Lilies who had lived with us – who I knew so well and loved so much. I looked up from the bed towards the eyes I could feel on me and there was this woman – a patient – sitting on her bed staring at me and smiling. It wasn’t a smile that warmed me. It made me feel cold to my core and I remember immediately feeling like she was an empty person. She scared me and though I didn’t entirely understand what evil was, I knew that was the word that entered my head when I looked at her and I knew how scared I was. I looked back at Grandma Lilies and suddenly felt so exposed I didn’t know how to say anything to her. I actually don’t remember if I did say anything. I know in my head I told her that I loved her and I that I hoped she would be okay when she died but I really don’t know if any words actually left my lips.
The next few days are a blur. I remember a patient transport van bringing Grandma Lilies home to my aunt’s house to stay in her final days. I remember my parents discussing plans to return home – Pa Lilies had to get back to work but Grandma Lilies would probably not last much longer so what should we do, etc. In the end, we all came home. After a short three days at home we were traveling back for the funeral. Grandma Lilies had moved on.
The day that Grandma Lilies died hadn’t been an unusual day by any means. I don’t remember much about it until the end of the day when I was in my grade three art class packing up to go home. Without warning I burst into tears - uncontrollable, deep sobs. Everyone turned towards me in a panic asking what was wrong and all I could say was, “I don’t know… something’s wrong with my grandmother.” The teacher knew we had been away visiting my ailing grandmother and must have just figured it was the stress that was causing my episode but I knew something was wrong. I didn’t know what – I just knew that something had happened. I knew something had changed.
Something had definitely changed significantly. Grandma Lilies had passed away at that same time and though she was 4,000+ kilometers away, I had felt her death. I don’t know how nor do I know why but I know how intensely I felt it.
Trinidad became a different place for me after that but I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to see Grandma Lilies in the days before she died and I am sincerely appreciative of the time I had with her in my first six years and the profound influence she had on me.
I’ve since had other incidences surrounding death and, I guess, premonitions of sorts. Though Pa Lilies will declare he doesn’t believe in ghosties or forewarnings or anything like that, his own stories and those about occurrences within his family make me think that my experiences (some people call them abilities but I don’t know how able I really am with it all) must come from the Lilies family. Perhaps that is what allowed me to feel my connection to Grandma Lilies change when she died, or maybe it was just a strong relationship between us that gave me the privilege to be a part of her transition in that way. Whatever the reason, it seems to sit outside the realm of ‘normal’ – well, society’s normal I guess. For me that’s just the way life is and though I’ve never delved deeply into it and I haven’t invested time to learn more about it or strengthen my ‘abilities’, I’ve also never questioned it or fought it. There might be a part of me that is afraid to learn about it – like I’ll lose the intuitive part of myself if I start focusing on it. I once had a dear friend who was also somewhat of a teacher for me when it came to this part of my life and though she is gone now I feel like she is still teaching me. I suspect she has recently had a strong hand in placing certain people in my path… but maybe you’ll read about that another time.