I’m often asked how I came to this life, how I knew that I had a connection with the dead. I honestly don’t remember when I didn’t have that connection. My first memory was when I was almost two years old.
I was sitting at the back of the funeral home while my mother and her sisters were preparing it for my Grandpa Wood’s funeral. I remember admiring my pretty new oxblood red Buster Brown shoes. They were my first big girl shoes and I was happy to have them although I had no idea that they were bought for such a sad event. My reverie over my beautiful shoes was interrupted by the smell of cherry pipe tobacco.
Grandpa smelled like that! I looked up to see my grandpa sitting next to me. He raised his fingers to his lips and made a soft shhh sound. I looked at him again because he looked pink. My grandfather’s skin tone had always been gray when I was around him and he rarely smiled because he was in a lot of pain. He was a plater at the American Nickeloid in the early part of the century before there was any OSHA and developed rheumatoid arthritis from the heavy metal poisoning. But my grandpa was sitting next to me all pink and smiling. It made me smile back at him.
A loud noise from the front of the room caused us to break our gaze. My Aunt Dorothy was screaming at the funeral home director because the VFW sent over the wrong sized flag for the casket. I looked up at my grandpa and saw that he was chuckling. He said, “Dorothy was always a little excitable.” And he laughed. I laughed even though I didn’t understand what excitable meant and turned my head to watch the funeral director scurry off with the flag. After a few minutes I looked up and grandpa was gone.
I jumped down from the chair and went to my mother who was ironing table cloths in the next room. I told her that I saw grandpa. She nodded her head at me and kept working. I told her again, that I saw grandpa and he told me that Aunt Dorothy was excitable. My mother dropped the iron and looked at me with a shocked, white face. She grabbed me by the arm and proceeded to spank me while shouting that I shouldn’t lie about things like that. Lie? I was a week away from my second birthday. I don’t know that I could formulate a lie like that much less use the word excitable in proper context. My aunts came in and took me away from my mother because they were afraid that she would hurt me but the damage was already done.
After that I was afraid to tell anyone about what I saw and heard. I knew the people I was talking to were not real, not flesh and blood real. I knew that if I wanted to fit in and survive I would have to keep these things to myself. At some point I convinced myself that they weren’t real and learned to ignore the energies that tried to contact me.
Little did I know the price I would pay for ignoring the gifts I was given…… (to be continued)