I do not know how my brother and I got off on the topic of our grandparent's deaths last night on the telephone, but we did (yes, he is the brother that was on the train bridge with me.) Anyway, he was telling me that my maternal grandfather called and told my mother he wanted everyone to come over one night. I was away at College and my older brother was living in New Mexico. My grandfather had been diagnoised with cancer three years earlier and we all knew that at any time he could go. For the first time I heard what went on that evening. My grandfather ate some soup and read his favorite passages from the Bible to everyone, fell asleep for a short time, talked about how it was soon going to be his time to go, talked some more about his favorite scriptures and hymns. My brother was a senior in high school and he remembers watching television and hearing my grandfather give his final sigh and turned to see him die. But what he remembers the most is while my mother and grandmother were crying and my father was taking care of all the calls, he sort of sat there stunned because he realized that my grandfather called everyone together because he knew he was going to die.
Meanwhile I was in my dorm room with a group of others, seriously studying - not! I knew the instant the telephone rang that my grandfather had died. I remember I was doing something from my top bunk and I stopped completely and looked on as my roommate took the call, knowing what was being told to her.
Two years earlier, the same thing had happened when my paternal grandfather had died, while he had alzhiemeirs (spelling?), his death was not expected, but I knew the call coming in was about his dying.
Flash forward five years and I am teaching in So. Georgia. The 10 pm news is over and I suddenly get this feeling that something is very wrong at home. I mean very strong. I sort of toss it aside, but it does not go away. By the time I think I should do anything I realize it is around midnight at my parents house and probably not a good time for me to call. In the end I would have driven myself crazy because in the time before cell phones, neither brother living in the area, they would not have been home. I did not call and tossed and turned all night. I got up and went to school. When the rates went down, I tried calling them, no answer. Eventually they called me that evening. My great-uncle on my father's side had died at 10:30 my time and by the time my parents got to my aunt and uncles house and things were settled enough to call anyone they felt it was too late to call us. Of course they did not know I was tossing and turning in bed, wonder if I was whack or if something had truly gone wrong.
Now my brother's story - he had a golden retreiver named Megan that my step-grandmother loved (and she did favor boys over girls - she made no secret of this). As she was getting to the end of her life she lived with my parents for a time and then moved into a group home where a woman took care of three of four elderly women. My brother goes everywhere with his dogs. When Megan came to my parent's house she would go right to my grandmother and sit down beside her and she would pet her. She would then tell Megan her arm was tired and Megan would get up and walk to the other side of the chair. They kept this up until my grandmother finally told Megan she was too tired to pet her any more and Megan would go and lie on her feet. My grandmother would then tell her what a good girl she was for keeping her feet warm.
The night my grandmother died, Megan, who never got on my brother's bed, was up on his bed crying, nuzzling him and kept trying to get him up. She would not leave him alone, but did not want to go outside. My parent's informed us of my grandmother's death the next day. My brother is convinced to this day that Megan knew, because the time of death and her making such a fuss fit.
Because he once showed up to visit her without the dog, and she really bawled him out, he told Mom that he would not come to the funeral unless he was dressed "as is" (which in those days for my brother was pretty bad) and with the dog. So Megan showed up at church and went to the cemetery. At the cemetery she left Mike's side and went straight to the grave site and put her nose inside the grave and laid there until the service was over.
And no, I did not know ahead of time that the telephone calls informing me of my grandmother's deaths was coming like I did my grandfathers. I have no clue why - age?