I see dead people.
And yet my experience with them is not the stuff of horror films.
Every time I’ve seen a ghost, my life has been enriched.
I believe in ghosts in two senses: I believe they exist, and I have faith in their goodness. Drop your fear, and a ghost is the same thing as a spiritual being: life energy that has dropped its earth-suit.
When we are not afraid of ghosts, we are not afraid of the mysteries of life.
I’ve had many experiences with them; here are four that have made the most impact on my life.
One: The Loving Hand.
At age 12, I was very upset one day. I threw myself on my bed and sobbed and sobbed. Suddenly I sensed a female presence sitting next to me. I couldn’t see her, but I felt her stroking my head.
Peacefulness flooded my body like warm water through my veins. I’d never felt anything like it before. But I trusted my senses. I knew she was “real”—whatever that meant. I knew she was conveying to me a deep, eternal truth: that no matter what, everything was okay.
Two: The Dead Lover.
At age 29, I went to the funeral of my on-again, off-again boyfriend who’d fallen from a ladder and died of a brain injury. Sitting in the back of the church, I glimpsed his nose peeking from the casket. It was so strange, that body I’d recently touched and that had touched mine, was now a weird, empty vessel.
The minute that thought passed through me, I heard his voice. I could tell he was there in the church, but not in his body. I sensed his presence hovering high in the corner of the church. I felt his smile, heard his unique tone of voice conveying to me without words: Yep, I’m not in that body anymore. All is well.
He was dead—but not.
I didn’t know how that was possible. In spite of the womanly presence that had visited me as a child, I had no beliefs in the afterlife.
Clearly, though, there was something eternal beyond what my rational mind could grasp.
Three: The Father.
At age 43, a few months after the death of my beloved father, I was sitting at my computer engrossed in writing, a rare moment when I was not subsumed in grief. Out of nowhere a feeling enveloped me that I can best describe as this: Dad walked into the house of my body.
My fingers froze at the keyboard. I didn’t want to move for fear he would leave. I felt him wholly, fully throughout every cell of my being. It was an extraordinarily blissful sensation, my skin electrified and tingling.
Hello, he said.
Hi, Dad, I responded.
He told me all was well, that he was fine and I should be, too. Don’t worry. Enjoy your life. It’s to be lived and loved. And then he was gone, back into the mystic.
Four: The Mentor.
Dead for three months, carried away by cancer, she came to me when I needed her most: during my own health crisis.
I was 51.
I’d had a seizure, which led to the diagnosis of a brain tumor. Right before that seizure, she—my mentor, my friend, my other-mother—came to me in a dream.
Vibrant and beautiful, she said to me: The veil between the worlds is thinner than you think. When you really look, you can see the perfect beauty of it all. Moving from one state to the next is like lifting a gauze curtain. There’s no reason, ever, to be afraid of dying.
Moments later, I awoke gripped in the seizure. I couldn’t open my eyes, and a horrible moaning escaped my lips. I was terrified until I remembered what she had just said to me: There’s no reason to be afraid of dying. Suddenly, I was able to think of what was coming next as an adventure, and I let go. Like you do when a roller coaster drops.
To my surprise, I awoke, alive. An MRI located the tumor in my left hemisphere—in the same spot where I’d felt a loving hand stroke my head almost forty years before.
During my brain surgery and recovery, I sensed the calming presence of all my loving ghosts. Deep down I knew if it was time to heal or if it was time to shed my earth suit, all was well.
Perhaps Walt Whitman had it right when he wrote in “Song of Myself”:
All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses;
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
Author: Kate Evans
Editor: Renée Picard