Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Ghost of a hope

I catch a glimpse of my father every once in a while.

Walking down the street, I'll see a head of white, curly hair at the right height out of the corner of my eye. Or a profile like my dad's. Or a flash of a smile.

I turn immediately, I always turn. And of course it's someone else.

I know, I know in my mind he's dead. But emotional memory, muscle memory, they take a long time to fade.

Nick humors me. He knows I hope for the reality of ghosts.

The other day I was feeding Jordan, and he kept looking over my left shoulder and laughing.

I looked, and I looked, and there was nothing, just the room. No mirror or window to catch his reflection. No toy, no motion, no music.

And yet, he'd focus on me, then turn, look over my shoulder, and laugh. Over and over.

I'd turn, quickly, hoping to catch him, if briefly.

It must be my dad.

Because you know, when I was young, we used to play this game at the dinner table. We'd compete to see who could make a worse face, my dad and I. He was not one of those "your face will freeze like that" kinds of people.

And he would love Jordan, and Jordan would love him. Who better to make faces over my shoulder?

It must be my dad. I say this to Nick, who wants to think it's possible for me, but in truth, he does not.

I can still make ridiculous faces. I can even frighten myself in the mirror with terrible facial contortions. I'm not kidding. I'm a huge chicken; I can scare myself into a panic if I'm home alone at night.

And yet, I long for a ghost.


  1. I'm with you. I truly believe that your dad was there making faces at Big J.

    I never understand how people can NOT believe in ghosts. If you believe that we have within us a soul, lifeforce (whatever you want to call it) that makes us more than flesh and bone, then why couldn't that part of us choose to come back?

    Anyway, I hope the glimses of your dad and his interaction with Big J bring you some peace.

  2. i think your dad is all around too. this post, even with a bit of a melancholy undertone, made me smile.

  3. I kind of think that each of those glimpses IS the person, even when it's not.

    My sister and I were walking in Philly, a place that our grandparents, as far as we knew, had never been. And an elderly man, with darkly tanned skin and salt and pepper hair cut just so, stumbled between us. Sibling and I just looked at each other for a second. And for just that second, Grandpa K was back.

    I think they come back in us, whenever we see them - even if it's for just a moment at a time.

  4. My mom lived with us the year before she died. She had a bit of dementia. She'd occasionally come into our room in the middle of the night, flip on the light and say, "what's going on in here?" I'd lead her back to her room and explain again where she was.

    The evening after her funeral, my husband and I had turned out the lights and were just dozing off. Suddenly the lights in the bathroom that is attached to our room flipped on. We were like - freaky. It never happened before or since. I know that it was my mom...and her quirky sense of humor. And it is comforting to think about it.

    I am with you...your dad is visiting his beloved grandson. Why not?

  5. I truly believe it is your dad.


  6. this is going to sound weird.

    my dad died when i was 4 or 5 ? my mother will not tell me when. i could find out. but why ? he is gone. gone forever.

    that may as well be true. but will that stop me from seeing (pretend) him everywhere ? NO !

    i have (pretend) memories about my dad. memories that facts prove wrong or my mother tells me are otherwise.

    i have this thing for older men. many call it Electra Complex, which is stupid when applied to a 31 year-old virgin.

    memories, sometimes can be good. it carries us through the day. i do understand that your memories are hard. harder than mine. mine are imagined after all.

    i am an indian. thought you might find that amusing/interesting.


    (long time reader/lurker)

  7. Your post made me cry, but in a good way. What a wonderful gift your father is giving Big J, by visiting. Based on personal experiences, I absolutely believe in spirits and their ability to show up and check in on their loved ones. Maybe it's easier for Jordan to see him, because he neither doubts nor hopes to do so?

  8. Lisa,

    The day my mom passed away I asked her to please send me a sign that she was still here in spirit.But I did not want an obvious one. Later that day, as we were cleaning out a drawer in her nursing home room, something was quite stuck and the drawer would not pull out. When all of us stood around it and I finally dislodged the item? It was a stack of books by my moms fave author Mary Higgins Clark. The titles...Remember Me, I'll be Seeing You and We'll meet Again. We were all dumb-struck. And my father does the same. Although less now than when he first passed, but with such vim. Besides, There is just as much evidence for as against...but for feels better when it's a parent we so miss. I think of your dad and Jordan often. I know you see what he is missing. But I am comforted that you feel he is enjoying his grandson. I believe so too.
    Hugs, Lynn in ND

  9. My Dad died when I was 19, a long time before Ben was born. However my mum always called Ben her Ross baby after my dad because he had dads colouring. Dark hair and olive green eyes. Many many times when Ben was a baby he would stare at "something" and laugh or be listening intently but there was nothing to there. Mum told me it was Dad, a friend of the family had told her. It is amazing how Ben never knew his Poppa Ross but has his mannerisms, he stands the same way and talks the same way. Recently I caught up with some friends who have found some video footage of my dad, I cannot wait to see it, I want so much to hear his voice again. Its been 25 years. Now Ben is going to get to see and hear his poppa Ross for the first time ever.

  10. I'm a fallen away Catholic but I continue to hold on the the belief that an afterlife, in some form, does exist.

    A few years ago, a dear uncle of mine was in hospice, dying from colon cancer. My dad was there visiting him. My uncle's grand daughter Emily (3 at the time) was sitting on my dad's lap and kept looking up at the corner of the ceiling in the room. My dad said "Emily, what are you looking at?" and she said "There's an angel there, looking at Granpap."

    My uncle/Em's granpap died the next day.

    There is something about the innocence of babies and toddlers that makes them see things we as adults no longer can. So many stories like yours and mine exist.

    I know your dad was there. I know Jordan was seeing him.

    *strong, tight hug*

  11. I definitely agree with the others... your Dad popped by for a visit. What a treat for your son. And for you.

  12. cla517 - I do believe that your energy, life force, soul, whatever it is, doesn't just evaporate or get buried or cremated along with your body. So totally agree - why couldn't it be here?

    brookem - Thanks. There was some melancholy, but honestly, I like the idea that he's here sometimes.

    Dagny - I think you are right. I really do.

    Kate - I believe that was your mom. It's just too much to be a total coincidence.

    mrsmac - Thank you. Hugs back to you.

    mysterious_malady - I don't think it sounds weird. I can totally understand having memories, even what you call pretend memories. Four or five is old enough to remember - it might just be that with time they're less accurate - but doesn't mean they're not real. And I do find that interesting! Thank you for commenting!

    Susan H - I think that is totally plausible, that it's easier for a kid because he lacks the doubts or hopes. And is just more open to the world in general.

    Jennie - Thank you. That idea really makes me happy.

    Lynn - I love the story about your mom and the books. And I like that you asked for a sign. I hadn't thought to do that. I know I strongly want to believe in the evidence for. It definitely comforts me to think that they would have a connection now. Hugs to you, Lynn

    Go-Betty - Same thing - I totally believe it! And it's wonderful for you that he's got the mannerisms of your father. It's going to be extraordinary to see the videos. I'm so glad for you.

    Peace Turkey - I don't know how to think about the afterlife, although I want to believe in it.

    The story about Emily gave me goosebumps. I appreciate you sharing it, and your belief that my dad was there. Big hugs to you.

    SheLikesToTravel - Definitely a treat. He laughed and laughed.

  13. crystalginger3/03/2010 12:45 AM

    I love this post. I've been following you using Google Reader for far too long without coming back to visit your actual page, so I don't think to comment...but I just had to for this one.

    Both of my parents, though neither religious or particularly spiritual, firmly believe this. My father and mother both saw strange birds that sang beautiful songs at my house and my grandmother's house within days after she passed on separate occasions (and each was alone at the time). They were struck by the fact that they had never seen that type of bird before, nor did they recognize it, and truly believe my grandmother was visiting them. They have never expressed any other belief in ghosts or paranormal activity.

    I was also incredibly close with my grandmother. I was here in DC when she passed back in PA, and was heartbroken that I could not be there with her and felt guilty for staying to work that day. The night she died, I watched TV in my room for awhile, turned it off, and took off my glasses. I was pretty blind without them. I was trying to sleep and was still upset, when my TV made a noise like an electric shock had gone through it and I could have sworn (though practically blind) that I saw something bright in the opposite corner. Afraid though, I closed my eyes tightly almost immediately and whispered to my grandmother that I wasn't ready for this and tried to calm myself down.

    Though I was scared at the time, my TV has never done anything like that since and had only done it previously while it was on, and I have come to believe that it may have been my grandmother trying to connect with me. I want it to meant that she wanted me to feel ok about not being there that day.

    I think that sometimes we see or hear things because we want them to be true, and I am ok with that. I don't need to know if it is true or not.

    With children however, these things are different. You can't deny that J was focusing on something specific. Someone was there, and it certainly does sound like it was your father. How great that he can occasionally be there to bring a smile to your son's face!

  14. I think it's awesome that Nick tries to believe for your sake.

  15. Ah, thank you for this beautiful post. Made me cry and cry.

  16. Kids are definitely more tuned in to that sort of thing. I truly believe he was visiting. Hope you find comfort in that

  17. I'm with you. He was there.

    I hope he goes easy on the munchkin at first. ;-)

  18. My dad died 3 1/2 years ago and I too sometimes forget he's gone. I dream about him, I catch myself wondering what he'd think about X, I almost always imagine for a split second, before I catch myself, that he's going to be there when I go visit my mom.

  19. My dad has been gone since 2002 and yet I feel his presence often and I see him everywhere as well.

    I have very vivid dreams about him that are so real.

    I am willing to bet that was your dad Jordan was looking at :-)

  20. i really truly believe that babies can see ghosts, angels, what have you. i think that babies are special like that.

  21. Sweet friend, you are amazing. Very proud of you for all you have done! Thanks for sharing yourself with us! I want to give you a hug, too! Trust yourself, trust your husband, trust your son! To me, it all makes sense...

  22. My dad died Sunday. I hope he visits my 2 year old son and next week when his grand daughter is born I hope he is there watching over her.


Tell me about it.