So Long and Farewell: The Final Goodbye

by Tony Harrington

partingI remember the last time I spoke with my Grandfather.

It was the early part of 1984 around one O’clock in the morning. I was eight years old and he came into my room and sat on the edge of my bed.

He always called me Nino, explaining that it was the Italian name for Tony. It was a kindred spirit thing as I was named after him. He explained the nickname every time he said it and I would nod and smile as though it was my first time hearing it.

That night, as he came into my room and sat at the foot of my bed, was no different. He just looked at me and said, “Nino, it’s time for me to go. You know why I call you Nino, Right?” I didn’t answer, I couldn’t. Something was different about him. Granted he felt familiar and his presence filled the room as it always had, but there was a profound sadness this time. It was as though he was saying goodbye for the last time.

After he explained what I already knew about the origin of my nickname he said, “I am going down the hall to say goodbye to your mother.” And then he was gone.

A few hours later my mother came into the room that I shared with my twin brother. She leaned in and told us to get up and get dressed, that we had to get to the hospital as my Grandfather was fading fast. He had been hospitalized for the last few weeks in the final stages of lung cancer, a disease he acquired from years of smoking unfiltered Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Due to the horrible physical condition that my Grandfather was in, my twin brother and I were not permitted to see him, we were too young and my parents thought the image would have been devastating. I remember sitting in the waiting room as my older sister was escorted to the hospital room to say her goodbye. She emerged broken, trembling and crying, no words were of comfort to her. I knew it was bad.

The morning stretched on as family filed in and out of the hospital room as my brother and I sat in the waiting room. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, my mother emerged from the room and said the two words that broke me that day. “It’s over.”

After the heartbreak passed I remembered his visit early in the morning and his words to me. “It is time for me to go.” I knew, I just knew, that he had said goodbye in his own way, knowing that he would not get to say goodbye to me properly.

It wasn’t until a few years later when my mother told me of an experience she had the night before his passing. She recounted an experience where she dreamed her father came to her room, sat on the edge of the bed and told her that he had to be going. “You know me,” he said matter of fact. “I am not one to stick around a place for too long.”

She awoke from that dream and woke my father and told him to get ready, that the phone was about to ring. Seconds later it did, it was the hospital letting my mother know that her father was about to pass.

Neither my brother nor my sister ever mentioned a visit from our Grandfather the night before the morning of his passing, so I am not sure if they discounted it as a dream or did not receive the farewell visit.

The phenomenon is what is known as the “Farewell” apparition, and it is experienced more than any other type of paranormal activity.

The realism of the visit is what sticks with most people. It is described as having a dream-like quality, but the visitation is so real, the dialogue and the image of the visitor so lifelike, that afterward it is confounding for the person having experienced it. Most people do not share their experience openly because they either feel that it was simply a dream, their imagination, or they don’t want to face possible ridicule. Some people don’t share it because it is a deeply personal experience and it could raise issues with other family members who did not get a farewell visit.

I am sure it is the latter reason that it took my mother years to talk about her experience, at the time I was too young to understand what it was that I experienced. I never told my mother about my experience until I was well into my adulthood.

What exactly is it that happens during one of these visits? Is it truly paranormal, are we actually seeing the spirit of a departing or departed loved one coming to say goodbye one last time? For the millions of people a year that experience the phenomenon it is real and it offers a glimpse of hope that we truly go on after we shuffle off our mortal coil. It provides closure and healing and a message that love is eternal and transcends the earthly confines of this plane of existence.

Scientists believe that what is actually transpiring is simply a coping mechanism, that our subconscious concocts the visit to help transition us through the stages of grief as a way to lessen the blow caused by the loss of a loved one. We inject our memories of the loved one into the visit, their voice and mannerisms defined by what we remember. It is why the visits often reflect the individual how we remember them, not in the sickly state they are in at the moment of their passing.

These types of visits though are not reserved just for those left behind. It would seem that the ones who are crossing over from this world to the next get their own visits as well. In a related type of apparition called a “Deathbed Apparition”, at the hour of death, the dying sees familiar faces of those who passed on before them.

My family recounted stories of how my Grandfather saw his brother, and several friends and family who had passed standing in his room. He interacted with them as if they were there and conversing with him. Perhaps it was those friends and family who showed him how to transcend his dying frame and say his final goodbye to those who were open to receiving it.

I had a friend who worked as a hospice nurse and she recounted many instances of patients having received visitations from those who have preceded them in death. She reported that they seemed aware of their current surroundings as well as being able to see what she could not; the presence of others in the room. These visitations often brought a sense of peace and more times than not the patient seemed to be relieved of their suffering and pain until their death took them from the world.

Who is to say what is actually happening during these visits? It could very well be our minds providing solace and comfort in the face of a tragic loss, or it could be something more. It could be that our loved ones truly find a way to get their message to us, or, at the end of our lives, find a way to see us once more to carry us home.

What has been your experience with farewell apparitions and the deathbed phenomenon? Have you experienced a visit from a dying or recently deceased loved one or have you witnessed a dying loved one talk of others in the room, people who had gone before them?

Share your experiences with us in the comments section so that others who are new to the experience know that they are not alone.

8 thoughts on “So Long and Farewell: The Final Goodbye

  1. What a beautiful story . I am also a twin .. I wanted to also add that this can also happen with pets . My dog of 15 years was killed by a car . I was laying in bed that night crying and I turned over and Neko my dog was laying right next to me his head on the pillow . He was sleeping . I closed my eyes and opened and he was still there . Them I reached for him and blinked . He was gone . But I knew whole heartedly that he was okay an safe . I felt comforted .

    1. Sandyi:

      I recall seeing my pet one last time. It was my black lab named Ebony. She had cancer and a botched operation to remove the tumor caused her to deteriorate quickly. We put her to sleep. The next night I could feel her in the room with me and for a brief moment in time, I saw her laying next to me, her tail wagging, and her wet nose twitching as she smelled the air around her. Then, she was gone.

      I wrote an article on this blog a few years ago about pets who crossed over. If you search for “Dog” using the site’s search bar it should bring you to the blog entry.

      As always, thank you so much for your feedback and your continued visits to the blog.

  2. I didn’t have a “goodbye” visitation, but the night my grandfather died I woke up right before the phone rang to tell us he had passed.

    He visited me in a dream a few years later when I was pregnant with my first child, we had a long conversation and he told me I was having a girl. I found out a couple of weeks later that I was indeed carrying a girl. 🙂

    1. Nancy:

      Thank you for stopping by and for sharing your story. I have known many people who have had a visitation weeks, months, even years after the passing of a loved one.

      Perhaps they know when we are ready and will show themselves to us then.

      It is not a type of closure everyone gets to experience, so your having been able to have that conversation with your grandfather is truly a gift.

      Thank you for sharing your story, it gives others hope that the end of life is not the end of love, that we go on and can come back to communicate with those we have left behind.

      Tony Harrington
      The Spirit Seekers, Inc.

  3. My grandmother came to visit me the night of her funeral. But even before that, the day she died, I knew in my heart it was going to happen. I remember waking up, frantic and wishing to go see her and I told my mother. Not a minute later did the phone ring, the call we’d been dreading. But the night of her funeral, she came to me in a dream and said to me the words I had been aching to hear. We didn’t get a chance to say goodbye in person, you see. My goodbye was the songs I sang at her funeral, her goodbye was a simple “Oh Taylor, that was beautiful” her hand stretched out over my cheek…her eyes smiling. I’ve written about it on my blog. Anyway, thank you for sharing this beautiful, personal story. What a profoundly beautiful experience.

    1. Once again, thank you for sharing your story. I have followed your blog and I encourage our readers to do the same.

      Your experience was very touching and sad, yet optimistic. It is my sincere hope that it brought you peace and closure.

      I know my experience did.

      Thank you again for stopping by. 🙂

  4. I had what was my soul mate, he was my best friend. We were raising our kids together. He was single I married. But we did everything together. He got stage 4 cancer and didn’t tell anyone except his ex wife. Who was also a friend. He had it knowingly for what I know as 3 months. I think he knew a lot longer. Anyway, he took his own life one day because the pain was to much. When they went into the house on his kitchen table was every card and gift I had given him, so I feel I was one of the last people on his mind that day. He had a cell phone that used calling cards and nothing else. It didn’t text or do anything special. But he called me at least twice a week just to laugh. I moved to Maui he lived in California. So, I came to his funeral. And first I noticed no matter where I sat his picture would be looking rt at me. I showed my friend and she agreed , I even moved around to different seats it didn’t matter. There was a woman in his life he couldn’t stand but aan had his needs rt? So she went up and announced that they were boyfriend girlfriend and I knew this would have been the worst for him. Still I said nothing. But I guess he talked about me to a lot of people where he worked and how much he carried for me. Many came up to me and knew who I was and told me how much he truly carried for me. After it was over I was at my mother’s watching TV when my phone went off with a text message. First he had a name for me that only we knew. Spunky. And that’s how it started, spunky, I knew you would come. We are so spiritual connection I can talk to you. Now you know why I hate Barbra so much. That was the first of 3 messages I received that night the last one telling me how much he loved me and always will. I was in shock and upset thinking that was a mean joke knowing what he means to me, so I called his boys who lived in his home and wanted to know where his phone was . They found it in a draw dead. Without batteries. I told them what had happened and was there anyway someone was playing a joke on me. But it was impossible. And he talked of things only we knew. They were so special to me. I do know he also went to his ex wife’s house and did a visit to her. They two were close. I only wish I would get another message but it’s been years. Now I only get visited in my dreams and not very often. So, if you are lucky enough to have something like this happen to you from one you truly love. Never forget them for me it was only the once. Thank you for letting me share Lesa Soman

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