It is funny, I never really thought about the afterlife much until John got ill. We were both raised Catholics but left the church when we got together since the church didn’t accept people that were divorced. I think in the back of our minds we both believed in some sort of Heaven but we didn’t talk about it.
John was a very logical, smart man. He was a Chartered Accountant (before his death they changed the name in Canada to Chartered Professional Accountant “CPA” and he hated that name). He worked a great deal with lawyers and other professionals that valued his intelligence and his dedication to his career. It was not a job to John but a way of life. He was one of those people that never worked a day in his life because he loved what he did.
While John was dying he would comfort while he held me. He kept telling me just to listen harder and he’d still be talking to me. He spoke with such calmness, so sure that we would be together again that I would stop crying.
One day he was in the hospital being treated for a massive infection that the hospital gave him and he started looking at the door. My daughter Amanda and I were with him at the time and I asked him what he was looking at. He replied, “your dad is here … he’s waiting for me”. Then a few minutes later he said that my dad had left and would be back later. He didn’t remember saying this to me later.
Just before John passed away I had changed his clothes, made him comfortable with the PSW that came to help me. He had been sedated for 10 days. I went to sit in the other room for a few minutes to talk to my daughter Laura and there was a loud knock. I went in to check on him, took his hand and he opened his eyes and died looking at me.
It has been over a year since he passed away and I know in my heart he is still with me and he’s waiting for me. He has shown me this by me finding the Valentine’s day card, or the email that he sent me years ago. Every once in awhile I catch a glimpse of him in the corner of my eye or I can smell him. He is doing everything he can to let me know that he is waiting for me. He also wants me to stop being sad and to live my life with joy and happiness in it. I know this with every fiber of my being. When my life is over we will be together again. Forever and all ways.
I no longer own a piece of paradise in Florida. It sold a few days ago. I know it was the right thing to do … to sell it … but it still has taken another piece of my heart.
John loved our condo. He worked so hard making it perfect for us. He laid the floors, painted the walls, put the trim up, designed the kitchen and built me a beautiful craft area. It was our dream that beginning October 2016 we would spend our “semi-retirement” there. I knew he was happy sitting out on the lanai looking out at the golfers and palm trees reading his book and he knew I’d keep busy working on various crafts. I planned to knit, sew, draw and paint there. Over the past 9 years we slowly moved all this stuff down there so we’d have lots to do while we were there. Then life changed everything.
(John’s chair and view from his chair)
It just wasn’t the same for me there without John. My friends Don & Tena took such good care of me, inviting me out almost every day, but it doesn’t fill the void. I could see John in every corner, I could hear his voice and I could almost feel him there. But instead of feeling comfort I just felt lonely and empty. I wanted to be home with my children.
I have been home a week now. It is been a hard week for me because I need to work on filing an estate return for John in order to get my funds for the sale of the condo. It means I have to go through all the paperwork of his death again. I spent one day (the day I had to pick up a death certificate from the Purolator office) in tears. It was almost like I lost John all over again.
I know people think I am strong but I’m not. John kept telling me I was strong and I could get through this but I think he was wrong. I go to bed every single night thinking I’m one day closer to when I’ll see John again. Cross another day off the calendar. Another one down … how many left? I need to get everything in order first, the house, the business and my estate so that the children are taken care of when I die.
Laura arrived right in time. I had such a stressful time regarding selling the condo and missing John that I was thinking that I didn’t want to go on anymore. I was tired of the emptiness and feeling so alone. The only time I’d feel alive again was when my children and friend Anne FaceTimed me. Getting a text is not the same as hearing a person, seeing a family member … not quite the same as being able to touch them but it was the next best thing. The oldest daughter, Julie loves to FaceTime me and we do it no matter where I am. She was always there with a smile, always ready to chat whenever I needed her. Adam also FaceTimed me regularly. On days he didn’t FaceTime we chatted by text. We did discuss business matters but we also just had nice chats.
On Saturday Laura arrived. I was late getting to the airport but her luggage was last off the plane so it all worked out. We went straight from the airport to the ship. We decided to start our vacation by having a couple of drinks on the Lido deck of the ship. It was a great start to our holiday and the entire week was filled with laughter, some tears and good times. I felt “normal” again. We went to Georgetown, Grand Cayman and to a private beach off the coast of Cozemel. We did have wonderful chats about John. We laughed over some memories and cried over others but it felt good.
The cruise was only 5 nights so we had a few days back at the condo before we flew back north.
While we were onboard the ship there was an offer on the condo made by my neighbours that walked away from the deal earlier. I had to sign all the paperwork on the deal but Laura and I were in a hurry because we were going out that day to get groceries and to have some fun. When the agent left I told Laura we needed to freshen up and we’d leave. I was in my bedroom, got cleaned up and ran out into the family room and was stopped in my tracks. I swear John was sitting in his chair in the living room. He was sitting there smiling at me. For a split second I felt whole again. I called to Laura and he disappeared. I cried but I felt he was letting me know it was ok for me to sell the condo. He wouldn’t have done it if the situation was reversed but he understood why I was selling it.
I got home on Sunday. I feel like I’ve been running since I got home but it feels good. I’ve been cleaning up after the renovations that were done while I was away. I had work to do for my business because I was away too long. I have cried every day since I’ve been home but now that I’m back with people that love me I feel more complete.
My head tells me there is no such thing as ghosts but experience tells me otherwise.
When I was a little girl my maternal grandmother lived with my family. She was an unusual woman. She read tarot cards, studied Edgar Cayce and told me about the afterlife. She was not an affectionate woman, in fact she had little time for me other read my cards daily. Recently I found a letter she wrote to my mother when I was a teenager and I was quite surprised that she said she loved me in the letter. She had a stroke and spent some time in a nursing home. She didn’t know who anyone was but me. She would beg me to take her away and it broke my heart.
Her oldest daughter, my Aunt Delores, was another unusual woman. She was a practicing Druid. I spent many Saturday afternoons with her learning how to spin. She taught me to card the wool, dye it and spin it and my mother would weave the wool. My aunt would tell me how to respect nature, the spirits and to listen to my heart. My aunt was larger than life and it is said she haunts her old home.
I mention my grandmother (who I was named after) and my aunt as a bit of background to my story. They both believed there was nothing to fear from spirits as long as you were strong enough inside.
When my children were young (my daughter was 9 and my son was 5) we were in a hotel near an airport. Early the next morning we were to fly out for a vacation to Florida. We all were sleeping and I woke to the most evil sounds. I could feel the evil in the room. My children were in the next bed sound asleep. This voice said to me he was going to take my children and I was powerless to do anything about it. I was unable to move … I felt frozen in place. Then I just said to myself that no one, no THING would harm my children if I could help it and I forced myself to turn over to face it. The moment I turned to face my children I could feel the presence begin to slip away and there was this flash of light in the room. I sat up and sparks began to fly out of my fingertips. I woke my husband up and the sparks would travel from my fingers to the edges of the bed. My children woke up and saw this phenomenon. What was this? I have no idea. I have never felt that fear again, have never felt that evil again. It was like I faced my challenge and won.
That has not been the extent of feeling a presence near me. One time I was in an elevator at the nursing home where my parents live. I had an upsetting visit with my mother. She suffers from dementia and gave me a very hard time that day. I was leaving and alone in the elevator. I started to cry (not sobbing just tearing up) and I very clearly heard my Aunt Betty say to me “You are her angel”. I heard it as clear as anything, recognized my aunt’s voice and felt her with me. My aunt Betty and my mother were best friends. My aunt died a few years ago …. just at the onset of my mother’s dementia. My aunt gave me strength that day that I still feel today.
My husband and I bought a building for our business a few years back. It was a very stressful time for me. There were times I was ready to give up on life because I was so worn out from work, the children and the renovations to this old building. One day, I was sitting in my office and I could smell bacon and eggs cooking. Then I could smell fresh coffee. It was just like when I was a little girl and my grandmother was downstairs making her breakfast. I could feel my grandmother there watching over me. It came to the point where I would say good morning to her when I got to work and goodbye when I left. Then one day, I took a nap in my office. While napping I dreamt she came to me and said I was fine and she could leave. I never felt her again.
There is more but that is for another time.