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Alexander's Experience

"The event occurred in June, 1994. My son, Alex was one year, seven months old. His father (Dave) and I had already been separated, so Alex and I were living with my parents, in a large farmhouse located in upstate New York. Alex's father had recently enrolled in a truck driving school in Utah, and would be gone for about six weeks.

I was not much of a morning person at the time, routinely staying awake until two or three o'clock in the morning. Alex had begun to sleep through the night consistantly. Nevertheless, at around two o'clock in the morning on this particular night, my mother and I sat in the kitchen watching television when we heard Alex begin to stir on the baby monitor.

I turned up the volume, curious to see if he would settle down on his own, before I went upstairs to put him back to sleep. Contrary to my expectations that he would either go back to sleep, or start to cry, his behavior took on a playful attitude. He began to babble, sing and giggle. My mother and I listened to him for about fifteen minutes, laughing at his antics, and commenting about the impression he gave of chatting with someone. Finally, I decided I had better go upstairs and get him settled down before he was wide awake.

Upon entering his room, I found him standing in his crib,
holding on to the railing, smiling and bouncing on his mattress.

"What are you doing?" I asked, unable to keep from smiling myself.

"Pway," he responded. "Pway wif Dada." He giggled, and babbled on good naturedly about 'Dada' playing with him.

"Oh yeah?" I asked critically, "Where? Where's Dada?"

Without hesitation, Alex pointed at the wall across from his crib, up high, near the ceiling. I glanced in the direction that he pointed, and of course, saw nothing.

"That's Dada there?" I asked, feeling slightly uneasy.

"Yah. Dada!" Alex giggled.

"Well, it's ni-night time now, Alex. It's still all dark outside. Say Ni-Night. Say Ni-Night to Dada."

Alex did as I said, and allowed me to lay him back down without any difficulties.

I returned to the kitchen, and reviewed the conversation with my mother, as we listened for Alex's steady breathing on the monitor that would mean he was sleeping. We joked that even half way across the country, Dave found a way to make my life difficult.

"I should call him in the morning and tell him not to wake Alex up in the middle of the night," I laughed.

Although I didn't go to bed until about 3:00 am, I awoke at 6:45 feeling refreshed and ready for the day. I knew that I would probably be tired later on, but I was so wide awake, I decided to climb out of bed anyway.

. . . just as I was coming to the kitchen, the phone rang. I answered it to find that it was my husband's brother. He was calling to see if I had a phone number where Dave could be reached.

"I'm sorry to call so early," he said, "Dad died last night, and I need to call Dave and let him know."

It didn't strike me immediately, the coincidence of Alex's night visitor, and the death of his grandfather.

. . . When Dave came home for the funeral, I told him what had occurred with Alex on the night his father passed away. I hesitantly explained that I thought perhaps his grandfather's spirit had come to say goodbye.

In return, Dave stated that at about one o'clock that morning, he had been overcome with an unusually strong desire to listen to classical music. A genre' that was a favorite of his fathers, and rarely a selection that Dave would make.

We felt eerily certain that the spirit of Alex's grandfather first visited Dave, giving him a desire to listen to classical music, and then visited Alex, so that he might play with him one last time.

I was not frightened by the idea that Alex's grandfather had stopped in to visit upon his death. Rather, I was left with a feeling of awe, and gratitude. I was relieved that I had 'played along' that night, telling Alex to say Ni-night to his visitor. Surely it had been best to let him say goodnight to the spirit of his grandfather, if it was he who had come to
call. . ."

S. Brooke Miller
November, 2000