Jacob's Wake - Dorothy's Vision


The first day of my father's wake blurred into a second day or grief and endless activity. People had to be fed, friends and relatives continued to come through the day and evening.. Many brought food. Mike and Alex sent for more beer and whiskey.

Margaret, for the most part stayed upstairs with grandmother and tended to all her needs. From time to time we all took our turn tip-toeing up the stairs to look in on her. We were anxious to see her and yet, warned not to disturb her.

By the time I got young Tommy and Stanley to bed and finished with all my other chores, including helping Alex milk the cows, I was exhausted. We were all exhausted.

Only Dorothy (age 7) remained in the kitchen with the family and her dog Pinky. We had tried to explain to the younger children that Pa had died and was now in heaven. We left Dorothy as she was explaining the most difficult to Pinky. “Don't be sad Pinky, don't be sad. Pa went to heaven. He can see us from there, but we won't be able do see him, but we can still talk to him.” She was petting Pinky as she held him in her lap.

It was getting late. Ma, buoyed by family and calmed by some anisette that Mike had mixed in her coffee, turned to her, “Dorothy, it's time to go to bed. Put Pinky out on the porch.” This she did, and kissed Ma good night.

Dorothy was always very obedient. She entered the living room and opened the door to the stairs. After a few seconds she returned, “I can't go upstairs.'' she said there's a beautiful lady sitting there and she's smilingly.” Several adults got up to accompany her to the stairs. Again, she hesitated and pointed, “See the beautiful lady is there. She's wearing a white dress.” She kept telling them to look and pointing, “She's smiling at me.”

No one saw a thing; no one said anything. Mary took her by the hand and walked her up the stairs. She kept looking back. “She smiled at me. The pretty lady smiled at me.'' And then she went quietly to bed. I don't know what was said that night--except for what I heard later. I slept so soundly, I didn't hear a thing.

About midnight however heard Margaret cry out from the next room, “Help it's grandmother. Something's happened to grandmother.”

“What, what, we shouted almost in unison'' as we rushed to her room.

''She wanted some water.” Margaret cried, “and as I helped her up, the water just spilled from her mouth and she fell over.”

We were all screaming. I rushed down the stairs as my brothers ascended.

The doctor was called but it was too late. Grandmother was dead. We were all in a state of shock. Once again the household was filled with tears as we tried to wrestle with the unbelievable. Ma, who had been comforted to some extent by Mike and Alex and a bit of anisette was again consolable

As for Dorothy's visions the news spread through all of Morea. My grandmother was a wonderful woman and everyone had their opinion, but we were certain God had sent an angel to take her to heaven.

A second a ice box, this one containing grandmother's body, was placed in our living room.

The vigil and wake continued for three more days. Mother's brother Theofil was immediately notified of his mother's death. He was lining in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We received a wire that he would arrive for the funeral. Alex and Mike met him at the R.R Station. He was there not only for the funeral but for several days thereafter.

Uncle Tee was very friendly. He hugged everybody and shed tears with the rest of us.. We were all very depressed over our loss. Uncle Tee saw that but he sensed something more. Overwhelmed by our own personal despair, we found it impossible to respond to others. Mike and Alex had to return to Mahanoy City. Sister Mary however, was able to stay with Ma for several more days.. We were all sitting around the kitchen table stunned and sad. Uncle Tee kept talking to us and trying to cheer us. And then he started to sing. He had a wonders voice and he knew many songs. I remember one song which was a favorite: 'On a Monday a am. my daddy cut; the hay and so did I. The both of us cut the hay. On a Tuesday morning--etc. The song went on through all the days of the week-- By the time he left we all knew it well and we would join him.

Before he left, he gave Ma some money and all us kids coins to use as we liked. We felt great sadness when he left. We never saw him again.