"My Nana was 82 in 1996. She was in decent health and, then, somewhat suddenly, suffered two heart attacks. She went to the hospital. During that time in the hospital, I remember I had stopped at a vending machine in the hall of the hospital to purchase a candy bar to abate my hunger. I had not known when I went to visit that Nana was on a diet restriction.
I walked into Nana's hospital room eating the chocolate candy bar. As soon as she saw it, she pleaded with me to give her a bite as they weren't letting her eat anything due to her heart and testing. I felt really bad and wanted to sneak her a piece but my mom and the nurse said she couldn't. I remember my Nana was almost in tears because she couldn't have some of my candy bar.
Nana recovered and was sent home. She was home for a few weeks when her heart started acting up again. She returned to the hospital for a month and then was transferred to a nursing home.
There was a lot of contention amongst her children. My mom and one uncle wanted Nana to live with one of them as they could give her round the clock care. The other three of Nana's children felt she was best cared for in a nursing home. In a vote of 3-2, the nursing home won out.
Nana was coherent when she went into the home. She started getting much worse soon after and developed kidney failure, too.
I had not been visiting Nana because I was 20 years old and struggling with the idea of her being in a nursing home. The day I did visit, my mom was there. She stepped out of the room for a brief time and left us alone.
Nana seemed out of it, completely unaware of her surroundings and me, until she looked over at me from her hospital bed and said with complete clarity, ‘Johnny, I saw a plan for you but it didn’t work out.’ I asked her what she meant but she didn’t answer and returned to her prior condition of being unaware.
That was the last time I saw her. Nana passed a week or two later. To this day, I still try to interpret what Nana meant by her comment and what she was actually seeing.
Nana would come to me often in my dreams after she passed. I remember one vivid dream that happened several weeks to a month after she passed.
In the dream she was with me in my car and I asked her what she wanted to do and she asked me to take her for a ride. We wound up in front of a Target store and she asked me to go in and get her candy. When I returned with the chocolate, she thanked me and began eating it. We just sat in the car while she ate and then she told me she loved me.
I really believe Nana was contacting me from the other side.
In the years that followed I would have frequent dreams of her sitting in her reclining chair in her home. (Pictured above) Unfortunately, she never spoke to me again but I had the reoccurring dream of her sitting in her reclining chair in her old house for close to 20 years.
During that time I got married, started a family and had two daughters. My wife and I named my first daughter's middle name after my Nana. Nana's name was Jenny but in Italian her birth name was Giavanni and her family would almost call her Gianni, so it sounded like Jonny. So we decided to honor my Nana we gave our first born daughter the middle name Giavanni.
From the second my daughter was born, it was uncanny how much she resembled Nana.
One day, I took my toddler daughter to a basketball game in Philadelphia and drove down the street where my Nana lived. I showed my daughter where I grew up and where her Great Nana and my mom had lived. I will never forget the following as long as I live. My daughter was in her car seat in the back and she matter of factly responded " I lived there. too. once upon a star."
I told my mom that night what my daughter had said and we both speculated that perhaps my daughter was Nana reincarnated.
So here's how the story ends.
Last year The Philadelphia Eagles won the Superbowl. I promised my daughter who was 10 at the time that we would go to,the celebratory parade.
She and I picked a spot along the parade route in my childhood neighborhood. After the parade was over, we had to walk about ten blocks to my car. Along the the way, we passed my Nana's old block.
I asked my daughter if she would like to see where her Great Nana and I and my mom had lived as she didn't remember me showing it to her when she was three years old. We walked to my Nana's house and I asked my daughter to stand at the bottom of the steps so I could take a photo of her in front of the house.
As I am taking her photo, this guy and his daughters pass us and walk up the steps. He turns around and, somewhat annoyed, said, 'Look at this these people want to take a photo in front of my house.'
I said " I'm sorry I'm taking a photo, but I lived here years ago and it was my Nana's house.'
He asked me what my Nana's name was and I told him her name was Jenny Bruno. He, in seeming shock said, I still get mail in her name to this day. After that his demeanor changed and he asked if we would like to come into the house and take a tour.
So there we were in my old Nana's house. The man had completely redone the inside. He had moved in about ten years after she had passed. I told him my story about how close I was to my Nana and I showed him the photo of my Nana and me in the house. He asked if I would like to recreate the photo with my daughter in the same spot in the house. (Photo below.)
Here is the clincher. Above the spot where my Nana had her recliner, he had a giant picture of the Brooklyn bridge. My Nana was actually born in Brooklyn. That synchronicity blew my mind. And, he had a chair almost in the same spot she had her recliner.
I thanked him and we exchanged contact info. He asked if my Nana was and Eagles fan and I told him how she would sit in her recliner and watch the Eagles every Sunday.
Since we went inside my Nana's house, I have not had a dream of her since.
I often wonder if getting to see her house one last time helped me have closure. And, I ask myself if my daughter getting to go into the house perhaps brought part of Nana's soul closure , especially if she really is my reincarnated Nana."