Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In Honor of the Day of the Dead

I don't believe that life ends when we die. I think some of us stay behind to make sure our loved ones are okay; or poke back in to see what's going on. And certainly there are many other reasons why spirits linger but the point of this blog is to focus on the positive aspects of being a ghost because on the Day of the Dead, we remember our loved ones who are no longer a phone call away. I'd like to tell you about the ghost I grew up with.

Her name is Mary and she and her husband built my mom and dad's house after World War II. My parents were 20 years old when they bought it for $19,000 in 1973. Mom was more than six months pregnant with me when they moved in. Eventhough grass and weeds grew up through the floorboards and there were bullet holes through some of the walls – the previous tenants had a run in with the police – Mom said it felt like the house welcomed them.

As Mom and Dad settled into the house, they started hearing voices from the hallway. Dad would be out back and hear mom holler, “Mike!” He’d run inside only to find that she hadn’t called him, or that she wasn’t even home. One night Dad woke up from a sound sleep to see a woman standing at the foot of the bed. When he got up, she was gone.

When I was three, my mom found me talking in someone in her closet. I told her how I met the nicest lady whose name was Mary and who had a daughter named, Mary Anne. By that time my mom knew the story of the previous owners and my invisible friend wasn't my imagination.

One day Robert went to work and died of a massive heart attack. His widow, Mary, was stricken with grief. The neighbors told my mom that she would scream his name in the middle of the night. One morning her son found her dead from an overdose in the master bedroom.

The only encounter I can clearly remember of my nice lady friend is when my mom had to help our neighbor. (I think she fell down.) Mom locked me and my then baby brother in the master bedroom with the TV. A lady opened the door and told me that she could no longer visit with me. But she would always watch over us and protect us.

When I was in high school, our ghost started acting up by slamming doors, turning lights on and off and even touching us. So I did some research and found out where she was buried. We took flowers and there was a photo of her and her husband on the gravestone. The woman who came to me in the bedroom when I was a little girl, was the same woman in the photo.

There are lots of other stories I could tell you about Mary, but it would take all day and I can hear my Little Dude waking up from a nap.

Oh wait, there's one quick story about my Great Grandma. She died 21 years ago this past Saturday. One night when the Little Dude was really little, he had a tough time going to sleep and I was beyond exhausted. I remember trying to rock him to sleep but he wouldn't stop crying. Crying myself, I said, "Grandma, please help me." The room got really warm and just like that, the Little Dude settled down into a deep sleep. I know she was there with me that night and every now and then I can feel her with me; especially when the Little Dude is pushing my buttons and I'm holding onto my patience with both hands!

Now I really have to run but I like the celebrate Day of the Dead by remembering my loved and remembering they're always with me.


Unknown said...

Oh wow, Mary! I got chicken skin from my head to my toes, particularly about your great-grandma calming your little boy.

Was it just a coincidence that your name is the same as the lady who built the house? AND her daughter's name?

I love hearing these first-hand stories about connecting with the other side. A childhood friend of mine had a similar experience to yours--growing up in a house where the former lady of the house watched over the children. Funny thing, tho. My friend's parents had added a master bedroom to the one-story house. They could hear footsteps throughout the house but the resident lady-spirit would stop at the door of the master bedroom, never going beyond it. They assumed that since that room had not existed when the woman had lived there, she was puzzled and could not step beyond her home's former boundaries.

Happy All Hollow's Day

Unknown said...

Gillian, my mom intended to name me Nicole up till she moved into the house. So maybe Mary had some influence!


Unknown said...

Ooooo, what a cool thought. Mary really WAS your guardian angel! :)

Bethany Hiitola said...

We could swap *ghost* stories! In my parent's home (old home now), there was at least one visitor that had a fun time with lights, doors, stereos, and a few scant visits in person. Ahh... the joys of living in a 100+ year old house. :-)

Unknown said...

beautiful post, mary!!!