I retell this story on the anniversary of when this happened to my family, and that happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. It’s very appropo as my dad had a party every year to celebrate his heritage on this day.
Our family is of Irish descent, my dad was about as Irish as they come and every year as we were growing up he would throw a big party on St. Patrick’s Day. So when he died one of his requests was that we spread his ashes in the Atlantic Ocean off of the island he lived on for half the year in Florida on St. Patrick’s Day and have an Irish Wake. Every year on the anniversary of this event I retell this story, it’s a story of hope, and it really happened to us and I want to share it with you…
Today marks the 16th year anniversary since we spread my dad’s ashes in the Florida Keys as per his wishes on March 17, 2005. My father died suddenly at their house in Florida May 3, 2004. We had a St. Patrick’s Day memorial party in the afternoon at the house as dad had requested with all his friends, but none of my young nieces or nephews were there. The younger ones didn’t know why we were all in Florida, they thought we were just on a family vacation.
In the evening (about 9PM) the family (including the nieces and nephews) gathered on the patio to enjoy mom’s key lime pie and other desserts by CANDLELIGHT. My nephew Kevin (my sister gave me permission last year to use his name) was the only youngin’ to join us on the patio as the other kids ate inside watching TV. Kevin was a little over 2.5 years old (he had only met my dad about a handful of times as my parents lived fairly far away.)
He had never been to my parents house in Florida, and he was never in the backyard before this night (we all rented houses on a different parts of the island and had dinner at each others house the previous nights.)
AS we sat around the table on the patio enjoying each others company, two and ah half year old Kevin suddenly stands up and points into the darkness towards the water where my dad’s boat use to be docked (as it was given away after dad died) and states “POP-POP, boat.” He says this a few times. He goes on to say Pop-pop, minnow. “Pop-pop, home” “Pop-pop hello.” “No bait to fish” .
A very emotional Mom then asked me to go get a photo of dad and give it to Kevin’s dad. His dad pointed to the photo and says to Kevin , “Who is this? Kevin said Pop-pop.” Kevin where is pop-pop? said his dad; then Kevin pointed towards where the stern (back) of the boat would be, and where my dad spent many hours tinkering (I think the boat was 22 feet long and has a definite stern, middle and bow section). We were all sitting to the left, at the far right in the darkened part of the patio is a hammock that dad spent lots of hours on reading and snoozing).
As time went on, things got quiet and bob sat silent, my sister Tracy said to me that it was like the movie the Sixth-Sense, I leaned over to her and said “Can Kevin see dead people?”. (I don’t think Kevin heard me, but his mother came over and tapped me on the head and looked at me with a disapproving look.)
At this point kevin went on to play a game of stepping on someones toes, and then someone trying to step on his toes. This was a sight to see as he was clearly communicating and playing with someone (Pop-Pop?) as he was squealing in laughter and looking up. After a bit, as we were all sniffling and in a bit of shock, Kevin’s frazzled dad said it was late, and time to go, at that point the usually mild manner boy just burst out crying and actually threw himself on the ground backwards (not violently though). As his dad picked him up, Kevin turned 180 degrees towards the water, where the stern of the boat would have been, where my dad spent so many hours, and said bye pop-pop, bye as he blew Pop-pop a kiss good-bye
We all know how blessed we are to have had this amazing experience. And for months following this incident, Kevin would occasionally see Pop-pop and announce it to his mom and once had his mom call Nana to tell her, but sightings haven’t occurred in about 2 years, and eventually he didn’t see pop pop anymore and really doesn’t remember him.