My grandfather was very sick when I was growing up. I didn't really understand that at the time. He always seemed so happy to see me and would go for walks with me every time I visited, though some days he had more trouble moving around than others.
One day, he was bed-ridden. There were several family members visiting which was very exciting for me; I didn't understand that they were there to say their good-byes. Though the small house was mostly filled with adults, there were some older kids. No one wanted to play, of course. I happened to look out in the back yard and found some children my age.
We ran around the back yard for a bit, sliding down the big slide and playing tag. Soon, I was called to go inside. We ran in and the kids made for the bedroom my grandfather was resting in. I chased them, partly to keep playing and partly to stop them; he needed his rest, I had been told. There were some adults in his room, sitting with him.
The kids ran to the other side of the bed and dove under it as I entered the room, giggling as children will do. Someone made to grab me, to hold me back, but I slithered away. When I got to the other side of the bed and peeked under, there were no children. I looked around, out of breath and a little confused, and all I saw were shocked adults, aghast that I would be so disrespectful of my grandfather. He laughed a little and told me to hold his hand.
"Don't be confused, [grand]son. They've been playing here all day. I think you and I are the only ones who can see them."
I was quickly ushered from the bedroom by a well-meaning aunt. My grandfather passed away soon thereafter. I never got to ask him if he was going to join those kids in the backyard. And I never saw them again.
They didn't register as ghosts. In retrospect, I would say there were gods of some sort. But my reasons will have to wait for another blog.
My grandmother was the oldest of 14 children and helped her mother raise her siblings. Then she was married and had children of her own. Before long, her husband (my grandfather) fell sick and she took care of him. She spent her life caring for others.
After he passed, suddenly she was the one who needed care. It wasn't in her nature; she just couldn't do it. It was about a year after my grandfather's passing that my grandmother passed away as well. She went from being alert and mourning her husband's passing to thinking she was 6 years old and waiting for her daddy to bring the carriage to the front of the house.
I went to my first two funerals within a year of each other. Both my grandparents. Both before I was 7 years old. Life, and death, isn't all fun and games.