Christmas Eve 1965
When I was 7 my great-grandpa was in the hospital and he was not doing very well. We all knew that he might die. It was Christmas eve* and my family went on with their celebration for the sake of my cousins and I. After dinner we left Grandma's house in a rural Iowa town and went to spend the night at my aunt's home a few miles away. It was snowing heavily and very windy, and the power and phone lines went down. We were cut off. We went to sleep and at about 4 in the morning both my mom and Aunt Gin heard my great-grandpa, Lee, call their names. It woke them both up. I was in bed with my mom, so when she woke up I did also. They lit a candle and sat and talked about it. They wanted to call the hospital to check on him but the phone was still out. Finally they got back to sleep.
The next morning--Christmas Day--as soon as phone service was restored we received a call. He had passed away at the exact time they were hearing him call their names.
*Christmas Eve was a big thing in our family, more so than Christmas Day. I always wondered why until a German woman I knew shared holiday traditions in Germany. It is apparently from our Elschlager side that we chose to have our dinner and gift exchange on Christmas Eve. In Germany the tradition was that the tree would be secretly decorated (if there were children) and brought in on Christmas Eve, fresh and green. In the olden days real candles would be used, safe only because the tree had been freshly cut.