Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ghostly Adventures - Grandma's Breath

Old enough to sleep on a mattress on the floor, I took the single bed in the front bedroom at my grandparents' farm that night. I don't remember how long Grandma had been gone by that time, but I do remember that I still missed her. I still became teary-eyed thinking that I'd never see her again. And for some reason I was thinking of her as I settled down alone that night.

My sisters were in the full bed on the other side of the room, several feet off the ground and safe from any creatures that might creep across the old oak floor, breathing quietly in the deep sleep of children.

Summer nights on the Texas coast could be still and dark and heavy. "Close" my kin would say. Where I lay was well below the windowsill and the night air had definitely been close all night. I had kicked off my sheets and stretched out flat on the thin mattress in my short cotton nightgown. I tried really hard not to think about the scorpion that Grandpa had killed in the other bedroom the previous summer. It hadn't been very large, but it terrified me and my sisters for a long time afterward. Usually all of us got to sleep up on the beds but that night the house was full of family and I was old enough to take a floor bed. Old enough and brave enough. Or so I thought.

I have the worry gene and very good hearing. Tiny noises convinced me that a giant scorpion, its tale full of poison, was creeping across the floor toward my mattress. Mom and Dad were playing 42 with the aunts and uncles at the other end of the house. They would probably have heard my screams, but I convinced myself they'd never get to me in time. And opening my mouth would only invite that monster from my mind to pounce. So I just tried to keep thinking about Grandma, about her smile and her cool hands and her sweet, sweet iced tea.

That's when the breeze touched me. Cool and soft, it drifted over my face. No other part of my body felt anything, just my face. Like a kiss blown from the palm of Grandma's hand. Instantly my fear eased. The tiny noises disappeared and I was able to open my eyes and look around. Moonlight filled the dark room and I could see that there was nothing to fear. I was convinced that Grandma had come to comfort and protect me, and I was able to drift off to sleep like my little sisters.

Some would say that breeze came through the open windows, a cross-current sweeping through the bayview farmhouse that early summer night. But I rarely experienced a night breeze there, just a hot and sticky stillness.

Now a cool breeze is weak evidence of afterlife, but that night I was certain that Grandma had come to visit. Even now, decades later, I'll take that incident as proof that some part of us continues beyond death. How about you? What are your experiences? Share.

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