Several years my husband and I bought a one-hundred year old house. We expected the problems that come with that kind of home and we got ‘em all…the dying furnace, the unreliable appliances, and yes, God help us…the plumbing. What we didn’t expect to come along with our new purchase was a ghost.
But according to my son, we have one. Apparently, it’s purple and it tackles him late at night. While I am pretty damned sure, the kid is just trying to stay up later, this is a toughie for me because I’m a believer in all things ghostly. Yes, I’m the one who drags her husband on ghost tours around the country…San Francisco, Williamsburg, Montreal…we’ve scouted the Undead in Savannah. I’m even thinking of dragging my kiddos along for a ghostly tour right here in my hometown. And while I’ve never actually seen a ghost on one of these tours, I still wonder if I should carry my portable proton-pack accelerator system. ‘Cause you never know.
But as I explained to my son, not all ghosts are scary poltergeists. Trust me, I won’t be wandering off into the bright, white light emanating from my television screen any time soon, but I have experienced a run-in with a gentle, ghostly spirit that changed my life. For reals.
In my early twenties, I moved in with my grandmother who was dying of cancer. She’d had a long struggle, much of it on her own, but she was a tough Italian broad and not willing to go out without a fight. While she sat in the hospital bed we’d ordered for a small, first floor room, I’d pull up a chair and we’d watch Matlock, eat Haagen Daz and flaunt our matching light-up troll rings. Anything to make life seem less dire. Sometimes the morphine might cause her to see a vision that needed to be chased away and I was happy to do battle with whatever creature popped into that small room. Of course, there were doctor appointments, laundry and home-health care workers, but we tried to make everything else feel…fun. Time is short. Together, we made every moment as full of love as possible.
Shortly after her death, I was sleeping in my corner bedroom upstairs, and her spirit came to me in a dream. I’ll never forget her wide gray eyes focusing on me as she whispered a secret into the air around me. I woke up unable to breathe, certain in the knowledge that my grandmother had come to say goodbye. The secret she told me…in her ghostly, unspoken way…gave me hope during a time in my life when I was struggling, and I will always believe she came that night to reassure me, to tell me everything was going to be okay. My own personal, prescient ghost.
Of course, tonight, I’ll be doling out candy to faux-specters and vampires, enjoying each one of their scary, shining faces as they choose between a glow-in-the-dark bag of Cheetos and a snack-sized Snickers. I don’t think any of them will whisper secrets to me or tackle me in a haze of purple, but each one will remind me, there’s still lots of reason to be a believer.
What do you think? Are you a ghost-hunter? Ever had an otherworldly experience? Or is it all about the candy, and if so, what kind of sweet will you be stealing from your kid’s treat or treat bag tonight?