Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Just a Fat Question Mark Where There Ought to be a Period.

There are things I want to believe but my head won't let me. There are things I want to know but my heart gets in the way. Then there is the body I want to have were it not for the cheesecake, the life I want to lead if only I had no couch, the book I want to write if only I weren't afraid to fail. Or succeed. Now this is getting away from me, this introduction to a thing I'm not even sure is real.

I believe in ghosts (so long as they don't make me a fool).

My father had two brothers. They grew up in Rye, New York. When they had left the house and she was older, my grandmother bought a second house in Santa Fe. She loved Native American history and culture. Eventually she got cancer of the everything, and when she got very sick my dad and his brothers went to Santa Fe to be with her when she died. She died and my dad bought his older brother a Native American pin to wear on his lapel at the funeral. My uncle lost the pin the day that he went to pick up my grandmother's ashes. (To ashes and dust to dust) Nobody thought much about it, there was so much going on.

Months later the brothers went back to Rye, New York to close up their boyhood home. It had sold and the house was bare. They brought their sleeping bags to sleep one last time in that house, the three of them lined up on the black and white checkered floor of the foyer. In the morning the wind began to blow. It was August in New York, hot, thick and still, but the wind was blowing so my uncle got up to check the windows but they were already closed. When he got back to his sleeping bag he slipped his hand under his pillow and there was the Native American pin he had lost the day he went to pick up his mother's ashes.

From Santa Fe to upstate New York. The house was bare. My dad swears that neither he nor his other brother put the pin under the pillow and I see in his eyes that he is telling the truth. This is the story in my family and we all just kind of tell it and stare. My grandmother was an Auntie Mame kind of lady, funny, a lady almost broken who made a party out of the everyday. She taught me how to fold my cloth napkin into two perfect pointy breasts, the punchline of a joke I don't quite remember. She blew spitballs through her straw at The Apawamis Country Club and then blamed my brother, so why wouldn't she steal her son's pin and make a grand show of giving it back 3,000 miles away?

Sometimes at night I ask for her to come to me. Grandma Do, I whisper, I miss you. She died when I was twelve and I can't help but wish I had known her as an adult. Come to me, talk to me. It's okay, I'm ready. And then I feel my neck naked and I say no! Forget it! I'm not ready! I'm scared! And I hide my head beneath the covers hot with no air. So far she has not come.

I want to believe in so much, but more than ghosts, more than the possibility that there is nothing but this so on and so forth the end, more than anything I am afraid of being duped. How silly is that? In the grand scheme of life and death I am afraid of being made a fool?

Last night Zoey could not fall asleep so I sat on the edge of her bed and tickled her face lightly. Zoey? I asked. Did you choose me to be your mommy? Yes, mama, she said and smiled. It was one of those nights impossibly soft. Then again she also said that she'd just seen a scorpion when that was months ago in Costa Rica, yesterday and tomorrow the same as today, that her plush chihuahua was thirsty for juicies, that there was a fairy beating its wings against her window. tap tap tap There are things I want to hear but I am too tired.

Watch this video and tell me what you think. Or feel. Whatever. Tell me what is true, please, if you would, about life and death and ghosts, reincarnation what in tarnation. But please watch this video before you comment.


xo,
S

24 comments:

Pati said...

I do also believe in reincarnation. I also believe that we, as humans are all connected. Sometimes I think we pick up the vibration of a soul.The energy someone leaves behind...some call them ghosts.It makes sense that someone who died suddenly or violently would leave behind some strong energy..but on the whole I think people who die, don't need to be here and move on to a different reality. They are on to their next soul journey.Children are more open to that energy and maybe have memories that haven't faded yet...I know as my children grew up, I quizzed them and had a few cool things happen.Well that's my opinion anyways....not easy to articulate.Great post Susannah!!

Anonymous said...

I do believe that we all have energy that is released back into the universe… some positive some negative. As for reincarnation I whole-heartedly believe.
When I was a child (6 or 7) we were driving through Pennsylvania and go lost and I can remember telling my dad to go two more blocks and turn left at the wall with the picture. Sure enough there was a wall that someone had painted a mural on. It was obviously faded but it was there. Both parents were shocked considering we had never been there before.
BTW - I have been debating for years what I want to come back as – an over the top gay man whose mother absolutely adores him or a rich little daddy’s girl. Either way my next life I am going to live it over the top.

Lacey said...

What an awesome video...I totally believe in ghosts and that reincarnation could happen. My mother swears she sat up in bed and had a conversation with her father after he died of cancer twenty+ years ago.

erinps5 said...

I totally believe in reincarnation. It makes sense to me that our energy must go somewhere after it leaves our body. As for the story of the native american pin - I believe that too. When my dad's mom died, my Aunt Bette put a religious relic, a scapular, in the casket with her. After the burial, she went home, only the find the very scapular on her kitchen table. I have had other personal experiences after the death of my dad that have made me a firm believer in life after death. Interesting blog topic! As usual, I enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

erinps5 said...

Interesting blog topic! I read the book about James Leininger. I really believe his story. I think that some memories from a past life are so strong they are hard to forget. Your story about the native american pin made me think of a story my Aunt Bette told me about something that happened when my granny died. She had put a religious relic, a scapular, in the casket with granny. After the burial, she went home and there, sitting in the middle of the table, was that very scapular. Who knows how it happened, but it sure does make you want to believe that we go on to someplace after we die. Thanks for an enjoyable read!

Oonafey said...

I believe anything is possible.

christy said...

I believe that our family never really leaves us. I don't know that I believe in the "haunted ghost", but I do believe some spirirts never leave.

When my son was a newborn, my husband and I were seperated (long story!). I was living in our house with this newborn with a ton of weight on my shoulders & wasn't sure how it was all going to fall into place. I remember nursing my son, half alseep in the middle of the night & longing for some reassurance. I felt this presence over me & a hand on my shoulder. I knew it was my dad & I was so at peace, not freaked out, but comforted. My father died when I was under 2 years old & my sister a newborn, he was killed in a car accident leaving our mom with 2 young babies to care for. I think he gave me the same reassurance he gave her after the accident. He also visited her shortly after.

lottie said...

oh my god, that story just made the hair on my arms stand up. amazing, thank you for sharing it!

Jeanette M. said...

I'm in.

ModernMommaBlog said...

Wow! Something to think about. I don't know what I believe. Just when I think I have it all figured out, I change my mind. BTW, I really believe my husband has a little kid ghost who LOVES to play following him around to every house we live. One night, when we just moved in together and he was out of town, I came home and EVERY light in the house was on - even the table lamps that we never turned on, the ones you actually have to switch on with you fingers. I called him and I said something weird is going on in the house. Before I even got the words out of my mouth, he stopped me and said 'every light in the house is on.' I replied, 'Yes! How did you know?!?!' He said that it's happened to him all his life - he believes a little kid ghost plays with him. Nearly 10 years and 4 or 5 houses later - there are times I still find every light on in the house.

Kamryn said...

I feel like the end of the Miracle on 34th Street -- I believe. Whether that makes me foolish or fortunate remains to be seen. (I also still believe in Santa a little bit, and I'm much to old for that.)
I've had experiences and my family has a long list of stories too. My own April 2006 baby told me she saw "the Grandpa" and correctly identified him when I held up an old photo. He died when I was 9. I got goosebumps watching that story.

Brandi said...

It's so funny...my co-workers and I were just having a conversation about whether or not we believed in reincarnation...ofcourse...me always the pessimist said no...but now...maybe so. Thanks for a hair raising read.

Carla Fox said...

Yes, yes, yes.....this is so true. My son, when he was 2 or 3, would tell me all about his family, his kids, his parents, etc. He would point out places he'd been (not in this life, though). One time, when I was telling him what to do, he said to me "Well, when I was the parent, and your were the kid, this is what happened......" I believe we are born knowing our past lives, and these memories fade the older we get, the longer we are in this life. Now that he's 15, he doesn't remember anything (except video games and texting;-)

Anonymous said...

You should read the following books:

"Many Lives, Many Masters" by Brian L. Weiss (former chief resident of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.) Originally a skeptical scientist, he became a believer in past lives when one of his patients began recalling past-life traumas that seemed to lead to her present-life anxiety attacks.

"Old Souls" by Tom Shroder. A fascintating story about the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson (University of Virginia, Psychiatric Medicine,) who studied children across the world who remember past lives.

I'm inspired to read them both again!

nicole said...

what an amazing story!!! i totally believe. i'm real fuzzy on the whole heaven thing...i dont believe in hell....but reincarnation seems way more palpable after watching that!

Petunia Face said...

If energy can neither be created nor destroyed, then what happens to our soul after our bodies have died? Isn't our soul energy?

Wow am I sounding woo-woo. Then again, just because I cannot prove it with concrete evidence doesn't mean it's not real. After all, I've never been to Greenland but I still believe it exists.

I'm not necessarily saying reincarnation, ghosts and the like for sure exist, but there is the possibility. (And hope lives in possibility.)

Feeling more and more like Sequoia Na Na.

Love hearing all your stories!
xo,
Susannah

jen said...

I have thought, so many times, that I want my mom to Show Up and then, at the last second, recanted out of fear. Right after she died my dad looked for signs everywhere; if a towel was missing it was because she had taken it and hidden it from him. I haven't felt her presence yet except in the awful awful dreams I have of her either dying all over again or telling me she didn't want to be my mom anymore. Awful. And we had a great relationship so those dreams sadden me AND piss me off.

However, at my wedding I had the undeniable prickly feeling that my grandmother was there, watching. She'd died 5 years before and we weren't very close because she was 80 years older than me, but still, it was nice to know she was there.

pillow mint said...

i totally believe. whenever i have a completely random thought of my grandmother (who died 13 years ago), i believe it is her coming to "visit". After the thought i always say, "hi, nana. thanks for being here."

The Lil Bee said...

I am so blown away. I just watched the video twice and made Paul watch it with me. That is amazing. I definitely believe in reincarnation and had one very surreal experience with it... but this is just beyond words. He is truly an old soul with the way he carries himself.

The Lil Bee said...

BTW I just read some of the comments and ModernMommaBlog's story gives me the goose bumps! Both of my cousins had similar stories of ghosts in their homes. I think when it happens to you or someone you love, it really sinks in.

mosey along said...

I wrote a while back about my aunt and how I felt her with me in my room, very clearly, a short time after she died. It had never happened to me before but I wasn't frightened - it was loving and peaceful. I can't explain it, I can't put a label on it, but as with anything spiritual, I just try to be open to the possibilities out there.

This post made me sigh.

Anonymous said...

Loved this post and the video. I'm going to listen more carefully now to my 2 year old who sometimes tells me about when she will be a baby again and when she'll be a grown-up and I'll be a baby, etc. Also, I saw the title of your post and thought you were going to say you were pregnant. ha!

Robin said...

I have been meaning to come back and comment on this all week. I totally believe in reincarnation, in spirits, in past-lives, all of it. It was never a leap of faith it just felt like "the truth" - to me. As for being worried about looking foolish - let's just think a moment about every religion out there, who thinks they have the market cornered on G-d. Given how contradictory some of their beliefs are - there are a lot of fools out there, right?! Faith in spiritual beliefs or in religious beliefs, have to be just that: Faith. To me, the essence of faith is believing in something that cannot be proven, just because your hearts tells you it is right.

Anonny Woo Woo said...

I believe.

I haven't admitted this to anyone but my husband but when I am in that weird dreamy state between awake and totally dead asleep I sometimes have weird experiences. Like, once I was listening to this very high pitched Asian woman talking talking talking to me and finally, still asleep but still awake I said, "LADY! I am trying to SLEEP." It stopped immediately. And I woke up 100% and laughed. I once had some man SCREAM my name in my ear, too. That one freaked me out.

On the flip side, I have TWICE now had a very horrible experience where I am lightly sleeping and something very bad is holding me down. I can't talk. I can't move. I am pinned and this thing is very, um, violating. It has lasted a few minutes each time but it's gd terrifying. It's like I am not asleep when it happens but it's so otherworldly that I feel like it must be a dream (but it's happening right there at that exact time in my room.) In the most recent one I tried to turn to my husband and was mentally BEGGING him to wake up and help me. And then, like a flash, the whole thing was over and I was panting in fear. That stuff sucks!

I try to remember that good thoughts beget good experiences and I try to sweep negative energy from my head...

Now I'm woo-woo Susannah Na Na!