I have a special attraction to ghost stories this Halloween and I'm sure it's not hard to figure out why. I well and truly believe that the energy that creates a person's soul doesn't just disappear when they die. I don't believe it has anything to do with God or a master plan (never did), but rather the idea that there is something intangible, in the very nature of being alive, that makes us who we are. I don't believe that every person is set up to become a ghost. But I think there very well could be a convergence of energies that could make it possible for a person's soul to remain in a ghostly form.
I don't think that happened with Alex, because I haven't heard or seen him, except for in my imagination. BUT for some unexplained reason, today I wore the blazer I hadn't worn since the funeral and in the pocket were the tear-stained tissues I used on that day. And my amazing husband didn't bat an eye when I asked if it would be weird if I didn't throw them away (in fact, he got me the sandwich baggy so that I could preserve them for a bit). Not a ghost, but a message of some sort that I'm still trying to figure out in my addled brain.
I believe my house is haunted. Not haunted in a chain-rattling, things-moving-for-no-reason, scary sort of way. But I believe there is a spirit there...a friendly one. If I had to venture a guess it would be that the spirit is a woman...a mother.
When Steve and I were looking to buy our first house, we were limited in what we could afford. We knew we wanted horses, so a certain acreage was a necessity. But generally, the houses in our price range with the property we wanted were less than well kept (putting it politely). We looked at one house that literally had two feet of water in the basement...and another that had a bathroom that had sunk into the ground about a foot (and probably would continue to do so without some major shoring up). So we were pretty well convinced we wouldn't find a place for a while by the time our real estate agent said, "I have one that is at the upper most limit of your price range (exactly at our limit), but I think you should take a look at it." Unconvinced, we took a look. The house was so-so. It's an old farmhouse and needs a lot of renovation, mostly cosmetic. The barn and acreage were beautiful...perfect for us...so we bought it.
When my mother walked into the house for the first time, she looked at me and said, "This is the most welcoming house I've ever been in." And she's right. It's a comfortable house despite it's many worn down characteristics. It feels like home. The reason it felt so-so was because it already felt like ours. I could see all the improvements we were going to do...I could see us living there...our future (or at least the happy parts of it).
We moved in and had Sam shortly thereafter. It was no surprise to me the evening we were sitting in the living room and Sam started giggling into space. Usually he was looking up the stairs when he would see whatever it was he saw. He would spend almost a half an hour at a time playing and cooing and talking to whoever it was. It wasn't the sort of playing and cooing and talking that you normally see babies participate in when they are left to their own devices. This was an engaged, focused attention...he was enjoying the company of someone else...someone we couldn't see. And it happened just as often when we were holding him or dancing with him as it did when he was sitting in his bouncy or playpen, seemingly unengaged in other activity. Whenever our ghostly friend would appear to him, his attention was fully on them and no amount of silliness from mommy or daddy could pull him away.
I have to admit that at first I was a bit spooked by it. But seeing Sam laugh and giggle and acknowledge whoever it was that was there, made me feel like we really were home. This house has seen things and been through things we could probably never imagine. The original portion was built in 1840 and the remains of someone's wildflower garden still grow in our back yard. Someone planted the Violets and Star of Bethlehem...loved babies...and made this house a home long before we did. And here we were, connected by this house, to this person we couldn't even see.
Maybe someday I'll get to the Historical Society and look them up so I can put a name to our other-worldly entertainer. Or maybe I'll just leave it alone. Sam hasn't talked to them since before his first birthday. I don't know if it's because he can't see them anymore or because he's afraid to acknowledge that he does see them. In either case, I know they're there. I hope they know I do my best to keep their flowers growing each spring and I'm in love with our home. I suspect they know that. I wonder if they cried with us when Alex died. I suspect they did.