Sunday, May 4, 2008
I've been thinking a lot about ghosts this weekend, as I do periodically. I love the ghost hoax photos of the 19th century (see above), and I love reading ghost stories. I adore getting that chilly spooked feeling--I find it both delightful and heartening. And I will tell you a secret: I do believe in ghosts, as surely as I believe in myself.
Here's my own true ghost story, as it happened to me.
My father died in January 2005, at home, after a long illness. He died in his comfy easy chair, in his living room, with us at his side. The next day, we visited him for the last time at the funeral home. When I bent down to say goodbye, I whispered a little wish, "dad, please, I would love a spooky visitation from you." Just those exact words. I don't know why I did this, except that maybe I didn't want to say a final goodbye, and maybe I knew that he always knew my penchant for the macabre, the eerie, and the supernatural, and might enjoy hearing, and even honoring, this somewhat silly but nonetheless heartfelt request. I felt foolish, but I meant it. Somehow I thought he might understand.
That night, after a restless evening, I settled down to sleep. Out of habit, I placed my cell phone on the bed beside me. I had done this the last night of dad's life, when we left him for a few hours with his carer, to go home and rest a bit. I had programmed his phone so that he could press send and reach me, without having to dial the numbers.
Anyway, I did finally fall asleep and slept soundly until, in the very heavy, chilly dark of an early winter morning, I was startled awake by something. It took me a moment to get my bearings, and then I realized it was my cell phone ringing, insistently ringing right next to me. I grasped for it in the dark room, finding it by the little light of its screen...on which showed, clearly, my father's cell phone number. I blinked, looked again, literally rubbed my eyes to get the sleep out of them...but it was his number. When we left his apartment the day he died, we made sure to leave the cell phone, along with his glasses, the NY Times crossword puzzle, and his familiar gold Cross pen, on the little table next to his easy chair...
In the night, in bed, I picked up my phone and listened. What did I hear? My own voice, a message I had left for my dad on my birthday, January 8th, a week or so before he died. It said "Dad, where are you? I can't get hold of you by phone...call me back if you get this..."
When I hung up the phone, I could see by its clock that it was nearly 4 a.m. I lay there for a long time, until the first light.
And that's my story, and it's all true. I'm still not sure exactly what it means, except that I really like to believe that dad had his odd sense of humor, even after the very end, and I got my "spooky visitation" as I dearly wished I would.
Now I pose it to any readers out there. Do you have a story for us, something that happened to you? If so, I would absolutely love to hear it. Please do share; I know I'm not the only one!