It was real. Real-er than real, if that's possible. So when I woke up, I immediately asked Nolan to make me a plane reservation for as soon as I could get to Rector, Arkansas, and went to visit my Granny.
From the time that I was five until I was fifteen, I spent three weeks of every summer visiting my Granny and Papaw. I have nothing but absolutely wonderful memories of those weeks; playing with cousins, dancing in a summer rainstorm, eating the most fantastic food imaginable, being rocked to sleep, swinging with granny on the front porch, helping her bring in laundry from the clothesline... Her house was a safe place. Nothing bad could ever happen there, because my Granny was there. She was the ultimate caretaker. Of everyone.
When I flew in to visit her last year, Granny had been in a nursing home for almost nine years, I think. She was completely bedridden, and a tiny like thing, so different from the bustling woman of my youth who never, ever stopped moving (until, of course, her 'stories' were on TV). My dad went to see her every day, taking her something he'd made for her to eat, reading her the Bible, and just talking to her. She couldn't see very well by this point, and you had to almost shout for her to hear you, and she didn't eat much at all, but he went to the nursing home every day. When I walked in her room, after some time gazing at me, she told me that she'd know me anywhere. That my hair was the same (than you, Paul Mitchell), and that my laugh was the same. It was a great visit; my Dad and I went several times over two days, and I talked to her, and was able to sing some hymns with her. She couldn't remember yesterday, but she sang every word of Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art. Dad said that she had good days and bad days, but when we walked out of her nursing home that evening, he said, "Oh, she had a great day. Really, really good. The best in a long time."
The next morning when we came in to see her, she'd had a stroke. She spoke, sort of, but couldn't focus, and within ten hours, my sweet Granny was gone.
I miss her. I always, always, always will. But I'll tell you this: I think that dream I had was a gift directly from God. I believe God gave me that dream so that I would get to love on and talk to and sing with and hug my Granny one last time before she went home. I was there when she slipped from this world, and I was there to help my Dad and Aunt plan her funeral, and got to spend some sweet time with family, who were all having the same pain and grief that I was.
So here's this, for what it's worth. When you pray, don't just talk, talk, talk, and never take the time to be still and listen to what the Lord has to say to you. Sometimes He's a still, small voice, sometimes He's in what other's say and do, sometimes He speaks through a dream. Pay attention and don't dismiss things out of hand, or chalk it up to coincidence. God is all around you. He's in the little things, and I thank Him more than I can possibly express for the gift of Labor Day, 2015.
She passed away on my Papaw's birthday, and we buried her on 92nd birthday. She was a great woman, certainly an important woman in my life, and I miss her today.