Wednesday, October 15, 2008


An October Moment...

(Don’t know what an October Moment is? Now you do.)

Because you asked so nicely:

October 3, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I was sleeping in. I had been up during the night to deal with the Éclair, who had a head-cold and thought everyone should know about it. I finally got her settled around four and slept on into the morning, well after the kids got up, well after the Éclair awoke again. So everyone was downstairs having breakfast while I slept on.

At some point, Blaze came into my room, as he often does in the morning. Half-awake, I remembered his cold nose pressing up against a dangling hand. He does this most mornings--his idea of a wake-up call, although it seemed to me that he was being rather more insistent this morning. I assumed at the time that he had to go for a walk, but I was still tired, so I waved my hand at him, pushing him away. “Go downstairs!” I muttered. “Thomas’ll put you on your runner.” I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.

Next thing I knew, I was aware of a growing light in the room. I was facing the windows on the west side of the house, so it was odd that light should be coming up from them so early in the morning. I flopped my arm over my face to shield my eyes and then...

And then...

I was shaken violently. Not in a physical sense but in a way that’s not easy to articulate. It was like some kind of concussive force--like an earthquake, or a blast of air--had been detonated in the room and I was snapped awake by the power of it. I dropped my hand from my eyes and sat up instantly.

And there, standing over my bed, was my Dad.

I was so disoriented, so thrown, so completely struck deer-in-the-headlights by this image in front of me that I was rendered instantly awake. I didn’t know where I was or what was going on, but for that moment, it was like I was 10 or 12 again and my Dad had been forced to come yank me out of bed to mow the lawn or haul wood, as he had sometimes done on weekends in my childhood when I had overslept.

“Get your ass outta bed right now!” he shouted in my face. I thought he was mad but later it occurred to me that he was simply urgent--an emotional shading that was often hard to differentiate in my Dad. And I felt more than saw that he was being at his most seriously insistent. He wanted--needed--me to get up. Right. That. Instant.

Man, I was out of that bed in less than half a second, colliding with the dog, who had apparently remained at my bedside, continuing to try to wake me. But now Blaze bolted out the bedroom door ahead of me, yelping as though kicked, running like his ass was on fire. So was I.

I headed for the stairs in that panicked, mostly instinctual state of the suddenly awakened. All I could think was that the house must be on fire, and that I had to get out. But then Blaze stopped dead at the top of the stairwell, waiting for me to go down first. Or so I thought.

But it turned out, he was refusing to go down the stairs because someone was coming up them.

Specifically, the Éclair.

The baby had snuck away from her mother and, quietly, sneakily, started crawling up the 14 steps to the landing on the second floor. All by herself.

She was one step from the top when I arrived on the scene. And as she stood on that penultimate step, teetering crazily on her little unsteady legs, she turned slightly sideways to look back down the stairwell, so she hadn’t seen me or Blaze yet.

And a second later, her foot slipped.

Moving with that superhuman speed all parents have in times of near-doom, I lunged, burning my knees on the carpet of the top step, stretching out my arm so quickly all the joints in it popped...and snagged my falling daughter by the collar of her jammies, catching her literally at the very beginning of what would surely have been a terrible headlong cartwheel down the stairwell.

With a wrench that made my back go into painful spasm later, I yanked her up onto the landing and we both fell backward onto the floor. She squawked in surprise, the Éclair did. But she recovered quickly.

Which is more than I can say for me.

While the Éclair got to her feet and toddled into her brother’s room to see if she could find something interesting to play with, I lay gasping on the landing, t-shirt drenched with cold sweat at the thought of how narrowly disaster had been averted. I mean, if I hadn’t been right there, right at that second...

Blaze seemed to be reading my mind as he gave me the most baleful look, and then trotted after his young charge.

I was a long time calming down from that, but later, when I did, I remembered the dream that had brought me awake.

Because that’s what I have to call it, of course. I don’t know why, but I tend to have my most vivid dreams in the morning, when I drift between wakefulness and sleep. And in my head, I know the logic of what happened: Blaze’s unusually urgent efforts to wake me, coupled with whatever sounds I was hearing in my sleep (the Éclair likes to talk to herself and I have no doubt some echo of her efforts up the stairwell was filtering into my room), caused my subconscious to form an image calculated to send me into instant action, and so it was that I had a waking dream of my Dad, 18 months in his grave, alerting me to a dangerous situation involving the granddaughter he never met.

I know that must be what happened. I know it was a dream. I know it.


The next morning, when I woke up, I heard a strange, keyed-up whining. I sat up, and saw Blaze lying just outside my bedroom door, his eyes shining.

“Hey boy,” I smiled, and patted the side of my bed. “Come here, buddy.”

But Blaze only trembled and wouldn’t move an inch closer to me.

In fact, ever since that morning, he refuses to step one paw into my bedroom.

Maybe he saw my Dad too.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

More! More! More!

I love October tell them so well.

Glad to see that your dad's keeping a close eye. I had a "dream" like that once of my grandfather. I enjoyed the visit, whether it was real or "dreamed."
Oh man I have chills! I love October Moments.
Serious chills down my spine.
Holy Crap! MM, you have the most amazing experiences. Of course it wasn't a dream. Once again, your family from the other side was looking out for you & your's.
Wasn't this about the time the Brownie started crying? Maybe there's a connection.
I've been waiting for an October moment and now, here it is! I'm glad your dad, or your dream (I'm partial to thinking it really was your dad) was there to wake you up. Thank God for super human speed, eh?
That's just amazing.
Good Lord. I hate to echo the other comments, but I got chills! What a great story!
YAY! Awesome October Moment! Thank God the Eclair was saved yet again by you and the mighty Blaze (and your Dad?). Chills here, too. I don't know if your wife would necessarily agree with me, but you should be proud of yourself for your ability to listen and to act on information. you happen to be taking requests: 1. BB ouija board 2. Ruth's predictions/advice and guidance (that's a TWO year old tease and we haven't heard one word about her since!)

Thanks so much for the October Moment, MM.
Wow. I don't believe it was a dream at all. Your father is still looking out for you and your children. That's fantastic.
My goodness. I have chills too!!! MM, you have such a connection with people - living or gone - that it amazes me.
Amazing story and you tell it so well. I did'nt get chills... I got tears.
Goosebumps. I love these stories - they're just amazing.
After the Duck night light, could there be any doubt?

I wish I could have more concrete moments like yours.
I think you know it wasn't a dream MM, you're just afraid to admit it.

It's been awhile since we had a nice October moment...thanks for sharing this one. I'm glad you woke up in time to save the Eclair!
chills and tears - thank you for sharing.

i prefer to think that your family's still there, keeping track... and nice catch!
I tell myself I don't believe in ghosts or spirits, premonitions, etc., but there are times when I wonder, really wonder if they aren't there after all. I had a dream about 10 years ago about my Mom talking to me and it was so real -her voice, her presence, etc,. that when I actually began to wake up, I was afraid to move a muscle at first, then opened my eyes very slowly and started to try to touch around me to make sure I was still in my bed and not on the couch -which is where I was sleeping in my dream. It was the eeriest feeling I think I have ever had!
And the "child rescue" scare -oh my, I can relate to that too as my granddaughter (age almost 4 at the time) had wandered off, away from her mother, from me, at a big picnic we were attending last 4th of July. My daughter, son and a neighbor friend and her daughter were all hunting for the granddaughter when the neighbor's daughter asked my son if he'd checked down at the big fishing pond on the property. He hadn't but said he would head right there and when he did, he found the granddaughter, wading about while some adults were on an inflatable raft-type thing, totally oblivious to this little four-year-old's presence. My son scooped her up and carried her to his sister and we left as soon as my daughter could get some dry clothes on the little one -both of us nervous wrecks, as was my son. That night, I couldn't relax and go to sleep because every time I closed my eyes, all I could see was a child's small body floating in a body of water. Even though I knew she was safe and sound then, that vision kept appearing to me, over and over -very unnerving. Anytime we have a close call, especially where children are involved, it does really shake you to your very core, doesn't it?
Just glad that the Eclair was caught in the nick of time for you just as I am still so relieved that my son found my granddaughter before she might have fallen in the pond and disappeared from our lives. Peace!
I believe.
Very spooky. Well told, MM.
Oooooh MM. It was your Dad. I just know it. Probably not a popular belief in the times of scientific evidence, but, if he could, he'd be around to watch over his grandkids.

And I know your Mom was there too. I just think he was probably better at getting you out of bed, and pronto.

Thanks for sharing with us.
yay! october moments! woohoo!!
awesome, as usual
My Grandmother stood at the end of my bed the night she died and told me she was okay~ I believe your Dad was there and continues to watch over you and your lovely family. A lucky man you are~
I saw a psychic once, who told me that my deceased grandma, who loved boys (having three of her own) and never got to meet my two boys, used to go into their rooms at night to check on them while and slept. I believe her.
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