Nancy Lee Grahn: Woman Extraordinaire

In Depth Interview 02/03/02
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Soul Survivor
Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) finds the strength to go on following the death of her beloved father
Watching GENERAL HOSPITAL as Alexis let down her guard and danced with Sonny, one would never have guessed that the lady lawyer's portrayal, Nancy Lee Grahn, just had been through an ordeal for which nobody really can prepare - the death of her father, Bob. "On some level, there was closure," she tells Soaps In Depth. "Yet, on another, it was a whole new beginning.
"It was made glaringly apparent how much joy working here brings to me. My feet weren't on the ground in the 50 scenes we shot when I got back. I felt like I was not on Earth yet."
A Message From Above
Terrified of the day that her father would pass on, Grahn had been working for the past 20 years in preperation. "I've been studying near-death experiences, trying to make it so I couldn't argue with it," she explains.
She began coming to terms with the concept of life after death 15 years ago when she was visited one night by her deceased grandfather. "I had a dream about my pa that I'll never forget. We were on a soundstage. There was a coffin on the set. I looked in, and he sat up and went, 'Hi.' I gasped. He said, 'Don't be afraid. I want to tell you the secret of life.' He whispered it to me, but I couldn't remember one thing he said.
"Then he started walking out, and there were angels following him," she continues. "The soundstage doors opened, and I said, "Pa, what's it like when you die?" He turned around and said, 'It's beautiful.' Then he flew off."
Crossing Over
After her father died, Grahn stayed with him for some time, holding onto every moment. "When you're close to the veil between heaven and Earth, it's like witnessing a miracle," she says. "You have this sense that it's all good.
"I thought this day would rip me apart," she ads. "But it was like he allowed me time to prepare. I watched him and he did it with ease. It didn't look like he was afraid. It looked like he was communing with people, as if it was meant to be. I said to him with assurance that I was happy... and that he had nothing to worry about. I wanted to experience this with him, and he allowed it."
An Answered Prayer
When he slipped away, Grahn told her father, "If you give me a sign, I wouldn't mind." Three days later after his death, she believes that she got what she asked for. "I fell asleep with the TV on, but the volume was down. Then I felt like somebody was saying, 'You're up, Nancy.' All of a sudden, my eyes were wide open, looking at the TV. There was this picture of a being all in white with his hands out, and in each [hand] there was another being in white. They were crossing him over to heaven from Earth.
"I thought I was dreaming," she continues. "Then I went, 'This isn't a dream, Nancy. This is the sign you asked for. Pay attention.' I grabbed for the clicker, and I turned it up. I heard, 'It's the most beautiful thing you could imagine... this sense of love and knowing everything.'
"It turned out that it was a dramatization of someone's near-death experience," she concluded excitedly. "We can say that everything is a coincidence, but that was one thing that I asked from him, and all of a sudden, I opened my eyes at that time, at a specific image."
Saying Good-Bye
In the end, watching her father pass away brought a new enlightenment to Grahn. "My father was my best friend and clearly the man I loved beyond and above any other. He was the wind that always blew me high," she smiles. "The day I expected to be the worst sorrowful day of my life wasn't. I had a sense of gratitude for life... a sense that he is more present than he has ever been.
"When he died, I felt like he had gone someplace different and exciting and that he could breathe. I had very distinct, clear moments of that gut-wrenching thing. But then I became aware of how much joy I got from my job, that I didn't want to be sad. It's not like I tried ot deny anything, but I had a compulsion to go where it made me happy. I felt like I was being told that life goes on. During that period of time, I had a real sense of promise. I was lighthearted at a time when I thought it would be the heaviest. 
Rosemary A. Rossi

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