The Grandparent Connection
by Elisabeth Hallett
During my two pregnancies, I felt very close to my favorite grandparents, who had passed away many years earlier. I remembered them more clearly than usual, and felt the atmosphere of their home all around me, like a waking dream that enfolded me with nurturing warmth. Because I was interested in the possibility of rebirth, I pondered whether my grandparents might be returning to be born as my children. Was this the reason for their "presence" during my pregnancies? Or did I simply need the memory of their kindness around me then more than ever?
When she was about six, my daughter asked me one day, "Is this my first life or my second life?" Before I could come up with an answer, she went on, "It's my second life -- I was your grandmother last time!"
Evidence of reincarnation? Maybe... but during her early years I was gathering stories of people's unusual experiences before and after childbirth. I may have commented aloud on the special connection between new babies and grandparents that seemed to turn up so frequently.
Just after I began working on this article, the universe gave me one of those funny little nudges... the kind that can make you feel you're on the right track. A new friend, Susan, and I were chatting about the uncanny wisdom of our little girls, when she confided that she believed her daughter Hanna might be her grandmother reborn.
"There is a strong physical resemblance between Hanna and my mother's mother," she said. "Of course that may be just genetics, but it goes down to facial expressions that make my Mom say, 'Oh God, that was just like my mother!'" Hanna has mannerisms and personality traits that were typical of her great-grandmother, such as a fondness for wearing old-fashioned kerchiefs on her head and a penchant for practical jokes. "At the age of two," Susan recalls, "she always pretended to be mixing ingredients and baking -- and I'm not a baker but Grandma was -- and she would say 'shugah' with what sounded like Grandma's New York accent."
The most startling incident took place when little Hanna was only about eighteen months old. "I was putting her to bed one night when she looked up at me and announced, 'I'm the Grandma, you're the child!'" Susan reflects, "My grandmother died when I was six, and all through my life I wished that I had known her." That quiet yearning for a lost relationship plays a part in other stories of the Grandparent Connection.
Leslie had many vivid dreams about her unborn baby, during her second pregnancy. In one dream, she saw herself with a baby boy. Then she heard a man's voice saying, "Remember, when you are taking care of me, that you already know who I am." A few days before the birth, she made a request while going to sleep: "If I already know who you are, who are you?" To continue in her own words:
I dreamed of my grandfather looking at me and laughingly saying, "You and I have a lot in common." Well, that was more excitement than I could stand, as nothing seemed to have devastated me more in life than the death of my grandfather when I was thirteen. I had always secretly hoped and felt that someday my child would be my grandfather and that the gap that had been made with his passing would be made whole again.
Leslie's son was born within a day or two of the anniversary of her grandfather's death. The old man had died on a respirator, a victim of myasthenia gravis. By eerie coincidence, the newborn baby had serious difficulty breathing and had to be placed on a respirator for the first week of his life! But this may have been more than coincidence. Roger Woolger and Ian Stevenson are among the researchers who have found evidence of physical carryovers, such as birthmarks that mimic fatal wounds of a previous life, or complications at birth that echo the circumstances of a previous death.*
Fortunately, Leslie's baby overcame his early problems and grew into a healthy little boy. "He gives me great comfort and happiness," she says, "and whether imagined or not, I find the gap now closed that I had lived with all these years after my Grandpa died."
Do some of us actually return to the same family again and again, trading roles with each other in the cycle of generations? Leslie's story has another surprising spin that hints at such a possibility. She says, "About eight or nine years ago I had an aura reading done. I was told that I had been an Iowa farmer, a town patriarch of sorts, around the turn of the century. Little did I know at that time, but a few years later my genealogist mother sent me a package about my grandfather's family, and guess what my grandfather's father was: an Iowa farmer, town patriarch!"
Stories like these have led me to think that, at least in some cases, there is a process of "prenatal agreement" between unborn children and potential parents. If the unborn soul does have some choice about its new parents, then a loving connection with a granddaughter or grandson could be a natural pathway back to the earth dimension. Do the parents also have some choice about who will become their child? The following story can make us question our assumptions about when and how the conception of the soul may take place.
Ellen writes that as a child she was very close and attuned with her Grandma V. and was bereft upon losing her. In fact, Ellen's early life was marked by the deaths of many family members. A few weeks into her second pregnancy, she heard the voice of her deceased father speaking to her. He said, "You have a healthy baby girl. Do you want to keep it?" "Yes, I want to keep her," Ellen replied.
Two weeks later, she heard her father's voice again. He asked, "Which of your dead relatives do you want the baby to be?" "Grandma V.," was Ellen's request, and thereupon she suddenly smelled her grandmother's perfume, which she had not smelled in thirty years. She sensed a final message from her father: "This will make up for your early losses." Ellen says, "I understood that the baby's body would be the container for the soul of my late grandmother."
An added detail of Ellen's story suggests that choosing our own child may not be a very common situation. When she became ill a few months later, the physical discomfort was causing her to regret her pregnancy. Once again she heard her father's voice. "Do you realize," he chided her, "what a privilege it is to be able to pick the person that you get?"
Other stories of the Grandparent Connection show it taking a different form. Instead of returning to birth in the family, the grandparent seems to act as "guardian angel" to a new family member. A woman writes:
At eighteen, I awoke to see my great-grandmother standing by the side of my bed, looking at me. She remained there momentarily, and then floated away, disappearing through the wall. I told no one of this experience. Months later, I was listening to a tape of a psychic reading done for my mother. The reader said that my mother's paternal grandmother was looking after her second child. I am the second-born in my family!
Several accounts in Sarah Hinze's book, Coming From the Light, portray yet another form of the Grandparent Connection -- as guide or escort between the realms of life. One mother recalls:
I was putting three-year-old Johnny to bed when he asked for a bedtime story. For the past few weeks, I had been telling him of the adventures of his great-great-grandfather... As I started another story, Johnny stopped me and said, "No, tell me of Grandpa Robert." I was surprised. This was my grandpa. I had not told stories of him, and I could not imagine where he had heard his name. He had died before I had even married.
"How do you know about Grandpa Robert?" I asked.
"Well, Momma," he said with reverence, "he's the one who brought me to earth."
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*see for example, Other Lives, Other Selves by Roger Woolger; Children Who Remember Previous Lives by Ian Stevenson, and Born to Live by Gladys McGarey
Have you experienced a special "Grandparent connection"? I would love to know about it. Please click to e-mail me -- let me know if I may share your story!
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