Challenged By A Ghost
In June 1971 I had been keeping company with my future husband for a few weeks. We had met because I rented a place next door to his a few months earlier. As I moved in, his six year old daughter had come to meet me and my roommate, wearing her cat. Jennifer frequently carried that feline draped across her shoulders like a fur stole. For some reason, the cat didn’t seem to mind.
A few weeks after that initial meeting, her mother died suddenly and tragically, leaving her then-husband with three kids from six to seventeen. That was a major reason why our courtship proceeded faster than the local gossips and mavens approved. I didn’t care and he didn’t really either; we did what we felt was right for us.
Anyway, that Sunday afternoon we were sitting in my living room listening to music, having found we both had eclectic tastes and shared some favorites. It was peaceful and lazy for the kids were off somewhere as was my roommate. We could enjoy some rare quiet time. He worked mostly nights as a sergeant on the small town police department and I was employed by the Army as a trainee in Human Resources, called Personnel Management at that time. It was a treat to have some free alone time to share.
Suddenly the room turned very cold. It was a warm day but the air felt almost frigid. Jim was lying on the couch with his head in my lap. He jolted out of a near-doze, as startled as I was by the sudden drop in temperature. Very shortly I felt an almost tangible sense that he was being tugged and dragged although there was no physical motion. He did go somewhat stiff and seemed to fall into a near-trance. It took me only a short while to sense what was going on.
This seemed like a classic “ghost” or restless spirit situation. A woman who had been dead for less than six months was very upset that a new and younger person was stepping into her life with her children and spouse. She was going to take him back if she possibly could and probably the children later.
I am not sure why something moved me to start singing along with the operetta and musical comedy tunes playing on the stereo. I almost literally sang my heart out—mostly familiar old songs of love and happiness. At the same time, I sent silent waves of thought and energy to the strong but invisible entity.
The gist of those thoughts ran a bit like this. You have to go now. There is no way you can come back. Life is for the living and those you left cannot go to you or with you at this time. I promise I will take the best care I can of them and love them to the greatest of my ability. Your children and your life-long love are hurting, grieving and missing you. They always will but they have to keep living. I cannot and will not actually take your place. I do not even want to. I promise they will not forget you or cease to love you but you have gone beyond and you must allow your spirit to leave now. Please go because there is nothing else that any of us can do.
I continued to sing for an hour or more. Gradually the strange chill eased until the day’s normal warmth again filled the room. The final record in a stack of several played and the machine shut off.
Finally Jim stirred as if awaking. “I had such a strange dream,” he murmured. “It seemed very real but it’s fading now… I can hardly remember but it seemed like Rosemary was here… Wanting or asking me to get up and go with her.”
Later I learned the day was her birthday. Perhaps that was why she chose it to come back and try to connect again with those she had left behind. I will never know and there is no way I can prove it, but to this day I believe I convinced a ghost to go on to the spirit world where she now belonged and leave her former husband and two youngest children in my care. Jim and I were married early in September that year and remained together until his death by a massive heart attack on November 10, 2003.
I never told the three kids about this but as time passed they all seemed to come to accept me as at least a substitute mother. We became and remain friends. I am closest to Jennifer, the youngest, who was fifty one this past Monday, a mother herself now, and still a cat lover. Jim has of course rejoined his first love on the other side but has come back to give me a subtle sign a time or two since his passing.
A friend once told me there are no husbands and wives in heaven. I am not sure if I believe that or not but I think kindred spirits do recognize and connect with each other in many places, times and ways. Perhaps when my day comes to cross over, one spirit will be moved to thank me for caring for her loved ones and for convincing her to go on and leave life to the living as was necessary.