My mom has given me lots of advice throughout the years, some of which I've actually taken. A good deal of her advice centered around social protocol, and practically since birth, she has been warning me about the dangers of discussing religion, politics, and money with strangers. In my case, there isn't much to worry about: I'm not rude enough to ask how much someone makes, I have zero interest in politics, and I don't consider myself religious. As long as someone isn't harming themselves or others, and not telling me what to do, I could care less about their religious or political affiliation; I have a hard time understanding how people can get so passionate about forcing people over to their way of thinking. Live and let live, I say. My mother should have added one more thing to this list of polarizing subjects: spirituality. Like religion and politics, I find that there is very rarely a middle ground when it comes to this subject. People tend to either wholeheartedly embrace the idea of life after death, or they want no part of hearing about it. Put a believer and a non-believer in a room together and bring up the topics of ghosts, and things will likely get heated. At the very least, the believer will get an eye roll and be branded as naive or kooky.
I've seen lots of weird crap. Seriously, you have no idea. Some of it can be easily explained away, and some can't. I tend to err on the side of skepticism: I will look for any possible explanation, but sometimes you just have to admit that there is no other possible explanation for certain things. And the older I get, the more I enjoy experiencing the unexplained. First of all, it keeps life interesting; who doesn't love a good mystery? Secondly, like many, I have a fear of dying, and believing that there is something out there after this is a comfort to me.
When my grandmother died, I felt her presence very strongly, for years after her passing. I could often smell her, sometimes it felt as if she was standing right behind me, and I would find things that belonged to her in random places. I also used to dream about her all the time. All of this made me feel as if she was still with me, but was it proof that she was around? Definitely not.
For some reason, when Grandma was alive, she absolutely detested the idea of me waiting tables. In her mind, it was a shady job-I still have no idea why. Every time I brought up working in a restaurant, she would act as if I worked the overnight at a "massage parlour." (The quotes are there for a reason.) She would have been so excited to see me graduate from college, but sadly, she was gone by then.
When I went back to graduate school for acupuncture, I sometimes thought about how much I wished she was alive to know what I was doing. She would have been so proud, and she was one of those grandmothers that lived completely for the accomplishments of her family. Somehow, though, I had the feeling that she wasn't missing out on knowing what path I finally chose.
One night, a few semesters into grad school, I had the most vivid dream of my life. I dreamed that I was in bed, sleeping, and something woke me up. When I opened my eyes, I saw my grandmother sitting on my bed, watching me. I burst into tears because I was so happy to see her, and I asked if she was okay where she was. She said yes, and then reached out and squeezed both of my wrists. As she did so, she told me how she loved me very much, she continued to watch over me, and that she was so proud of what I was choosing to do with my life. She then stared deeply into my eyes, and told me that it was very important to her that I look for a piece of her jewelry and wear it because she had always meant for me to have it. Remember, she kept saying, remember to look for it. In that slow, dazed way that we speak in dreams, I explained that I didn't care about jewelry, that I never wear it and I didn't need it to help me remember her. Yet, she kept insisting that I look for a piece of her jewelry, that she needed me to do this. As the dream became fragmented and started to fade, I felt her press her fingers very firmly into my wrist one last time. I jerked awake, realizing that I could still feel the warmth and pressure of her fingertips against my skin. I also noticed that my pillow was soaked. Apparently I had been crying for quite a while.
I'm not generally prone to emotional outbursts, but I spent the entire next day on the verge of tears. This dream, or exchange, or whatever it was had left quite an impact...so much so that I called my mother and asked her if she knew where any of Grandma's jewelry was. She said that she would talk to my uncle when she had a chance, as he had some of her pieces in storage.
A few days later, my mother called me, completely freaked out. She had decided to dust off the top of a very tall dresser that she never used. As she climbed up to reach the top, she noticed a sheet of paper. It said one word, "Grandma." There was also an arrow drawn beneath the word. Although she hadn't opened any of the drawers in years, she decided to do so...and found a pile of my Grandmother's jewelry.
Coincidence? Maybe. Somehow, though, I really doubt it. I love that, even in this day and age, we still have the opportunity to dwell in mystery and wonder. Do any of you have a good ghost story to share?