I felt it across my ankles: tap tap, pause, tap tap. It was something long and straight, like a ruler or cane. It wasn’t painful, just a light tapping that was enough to wake me up.
It was 1:50 Sunday morning and before the ankle taps, I was sound asleep. I sat up, startled. In my not-quite-awake-yet state, my first thought was that Chris did it to annoy me. It’s something he would do. But Chris was sound asleep next to me.
Harry, my 18-pound black cat, was lying on the bed next to my feet, but facing the wrong way for it to have been him. I thought maybe Elizabeth, my little seal point Siamese mix, was trying to entice Harry into a middle-of-the-night romp through the house. But she was nowhere to be seen.
I spent the next I don’t even know how long unable to fall back to sleep, but afraid to open my eyes, convinced there would be a ghost in my bedroom. I also curled my legs up into the fetal position to avoid any additional ankle taps.
The next morning, I thought maybe it was just a waking dream. And then I was concerned that perhaps a family member, likely my 93-year-old grandmother, died in the night and came to say goodbye. My grandmother is alive and well, and as far as I know, no one else died.
My mother said if it were my grandmother, she would have gotten right up in my face rather than just tapping my ankles. But she also told me this: My grandfather (my mother’s father) who died in 1972 or pancreatic cancer used to tap her on the ankles to wake her up in the morning.
He died three and a half years before I was born, so I never met him. But I’ve heard many wonderful stories about him. Sunday was Father’s Day and my mother said he came to say hello in honor of the day.
This makes sense to me. I didn’t know about the ankle tapping, so there is no way I would have dreamt it with him in mind. I also hadn’t even had a thought of him in weeks.
It would be easy to dismiss the experience as a dream, but I really don’t believe it was. There was someone in my bedroom trying to get my attention. I felt someone standing over me, even though I didn’t see anyone. I’m just sorry that my reaction was one of fear. I hope that I didn’t scare him away and that someday, he returns. Next time, I’ll know.