Seeing ghosts is nothing new or special in my family, though I myself seem unafflicted with that particular talent. It’s fine by me. Really.
But there have been times I’ve had a close encounter of the creepy kind, and what with it being Hallowe’en I thought I might as well get into the spirit of the whole thing and share a few tales of my family’s adventures with the Great Beyond.
On the day we buried my grandfather I was sitting halfway back in the huge church, trying not to wail like a baby. We were close and his loss meant that I had a huge hole in my chest, a raw, gaping wound that sometimes still pains me to this day.
And then I smelled him. He always smelled like cheap aftershave and Listerine, and along with his fragrant hair pomade the scent was unmistakable. I haven’t smelled it since in the decade he’s been gone. He sat by me in the church, and I felt warm and for a moment or two, stopped crying.
When my grandmother came to Halifax to visit with us a few weeks later she reported that since his death lights would turn themselves off and on in her house. They hadn’t done it before.
My brother, who still lived at home then, was up late watching TV, and the closed door to his bedroom started to rattle. When he looked he could see the knob turning. But everyone else was in bed, asleep, and when he went to check the hallway was empty.
I was in the midst of a late night bathroom visit when I heard him call my name, a large, harsh whisper that I chose to ignore. Every hair on my body stood at attention, and I rushed back to my room and pulled my covers over my head.
My mother once saw her own deceased grandfather when she was staying at my great-grandmother’s house. She too had used the washroom, and when she came out he was standing there looking at her, clear as when he was alive.
“Hello Pay,” she said, and went back to bed, completely non-plussed by the whole thing.
My Auntie Em sees ghosts all the time, and they’re not all benevolent family members who have departed this mortal coil.
Once she saw an evil man in her room, felt the sheer rage bubbling off of him, and she had to tell him to leave and never come back. Another time she was visiting a daughter in Halifax, and saw a woman in the doorway of the bedroom she was sleeping in. Once she spotted the woman my aunt felt like she couldn’t breathe and was being suffocated. She didn’t sleep all night, but the daughter in the bedroom with her slept soundly.
I don’t know about ghosts or the afterlife, but I do think it’s kind of arrogant to assume that everything has to be based on scientific fact. Not everything can be explained rationally or logically. Take my attachment to the Habs for instance. Sometimes you just gotta have some faith.