Monday, October 31, 2005

My Haunting

Debra shared a personal ghost story for Halloween, and since I'm never one to mind stealing, er, I mean borrowing a good idea, I'll do the same. I'll skip ahead past my childhood, when I can remember having a cozy conversation with my great-grandma after she died. And I'll skip the details about the many, many times I've had dream visits from people who have passed on. Nothing much happens in those dreams anyway. They just show up and we sit and talk for a while. Although the one where one of J's nephews and I had nearly-identical dreams bout J's father on the night before his funeral...that was a little weird. But in the months after my mom died, I had a couple of weird things happen here at home that I'll tell you about. They may not sound like much, but they felt significant and I'm convinced that Mom's spirit stopped by to say hello. Both times it happened, I was home alone. And both times it happened, I was in the studio, working at my sewing machine. The first time, I was completely alone in the house, with all the doors and windows closed and locked. Even the dogs and cat were out in the yard at the time. Suddenly I felt a chill at my back and the hair on my neck stood up. Even though I knew I was alone in the house and knew no one had walked or driven up, I could feel someone standing a few inches behind my chair, just off my left shoulder, watching me. I didn't want to turn around, because I KNEW I wouldn't see anyone, but at the same time I was equally certain someone was there. Finally, after what seemed like ages, but could really only have been a few seconds, I couldn't stand it anymore and started to turn to my left, to look behind me. I felt something brush against the back of my head, exactly as if someone had just gently stroked my hair, and then, it was over. Poof! Just like that. No more cold, no more feeling of being watched. I went ahead and turned around anyway, but I knew before I did that whoever or whatever had been there was gone and there would be nothing there to see. And of course there wasn't. But I can still feel that sensation in my memory. The second time something weird happened, I was at the sewing machine again and again was all alone in a locked house. I heard a noise coming from another room, very quiet and subtle at first, but gradually growing a bit louder. I couldn't place at first what the noise was, so I got up to look around. I tracked the noise to another room, where I realized my treadmill, (which used to belong to Mom but she gave it to me when she entered hospice care), was running by itself. This is a treadmill that J and I normally unplugged when we weren't using it, but let's say for a moment that one of us forgot to unplug it the last time it was used. I'll grant "logical explanation" that far. But even once it's plugged in, in order to start it moving you have to insert a plastic "key", slide a reset button to the far left, push a start button, then slide the first button to the right again to set the speed. In order to stop it, you have to pull out the key. So even if we left it plugged in, how did all those other steps get done in just the right order to start it going at a gentle walking pace - about the pace Mom used to use it? You can think what you want, but I know what I thought. I said (out loud), "Hi Mom. I'm always glad to have you around, but could we maybe visit some other way? Because this is kind of freaking me out." Then I stopped the machine and unplugged it. And I've never had another incident quite like that since. After that, I've only visited with Mom in my dreams. I'll save the fact that I think I have a ghost cat in my house for another Halloween.