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My Dad Still Visits My Niece After His Passing


My niece is just getting into kindergarten, and was very close to my father- as close as my sisters and I were. He passed away suddenly around 2 years ago after falling ill and was gone within 24 hours. We still aren't sure what fully caused it, but it was rather fast, and we don't believe he was in any pain at the time of his passing.

The kids were not brought to the hospital due to my sister and her husband not wanting to scare them by taking them to the ICU. Dad was fairly normal (for him) the last time they visited "Papa", and I imagine looking at their grandfather laying in a bed and hooked up with tubes could be scary for them.

What bothers me a little is that my niece claims that he still visits her- always at night, and he never says anything. He just smiles at her and then leaves. She didn't give me a lot of other details on how he comes or goes and I didn't press her since talking about it made her a little sad, and we feel that she has just finally started to accept his passing. The last time she saw him, she told me, she woke up to find him looking and smiling at her fish tank. The tank was a birthday present that was given to her by my mother, and that was after he had passed away.

I don't see any of this type of visitation as hostile or anything, as she seems happy that she still gets to see her "Papa". But I am concerned that this might be some sort of imaginary friend? I have no kids of my own and am not sure how to respond. She didn't seem to accept that he was gone until she badgered my mother into showing her his ashes, after which she broke down and cried, saying she missed him.

She seems to accept it now that she has seen the ashes, and has no fear of asking to open the container to show everyone else, and apparently wants to "bury him with Grandma's watermelons since he liked watermelons".

What has thrown my Mom for a loop, and one of the things I wanted some advice about, was how to answer her when she asks why he can only visit her at night. We have been somewhat realistic about paranormal activity, as my sisters, mother and I have all had our share of experiences personally over our lives, but even so, we don't know what to tell her.

Do you think she could be dreaming it out of a subconscious desire to see him again? Or do you think he really is visiting? She is the only one that sees him, but like I told Mom... Maybe she just needs him more than we do. I would like to know what to tell her, but she is only a kid, and I don't want to tell her something that makes no sense to her or that she will never understand.

I think we all would like to have something to tell her, aside from "Well, honey- I really don't know why he only shows up at night." Or is this just a child's overactive imagination? Rook was kind enough to give me some ideas while the story posting feature was down, but I wouldn't mind hearing other opinions about this, if only to help my sister figure out what she can tell her daughter when we get hit with these awkward questions. Thank you.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, intrepid713, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

zzsgranny (18 stories) (3327 posts) mod
11 years ago (2011-07-15)
intrepid: Thanks for the update!...Sometimes the simplest explanations are the most satisfying... She sounds like a really smart cookie... But just be prepared for newer, different questions in the future 😆...Be as honest as you can, and let her talk it out... But sounds like I don't have to tell y'all that! 😊

Looking forward to more stories from you...
intrepid713 (1 stories) (4 posts)
11 years ago (2011-07-15)
An update, as requested...

Well, she had another visit from Papa the other night, and asked my Mom again- "Grandma, why does he only come at night?"

Based on some of the advice given here, Mom told her that maybe Papa just liked to visit when it's quieter, since it might be easier for him.

She seemed to be fine with this answer- as much as a kindergardner can be, anyway:)

She's been giving us some unusual observations and opinions- the other day, she told Mom that the reason it rains is because "Papa's crying- but only 'cuz he's happy!"
taz890 (12 stories) (1380 posts)
11 years ago (2011-07-11)
interesting story and good question, have to agree with granny, turn the question around and see what she thinks.

Hope you keep this updated if you can 😊
redphx (4 stories) (827 posts)
11 years ago (2011-07-11)
I agree with what BJJ has said. I have nothing else to add except to just humor her for the time being. Don't tell her that he isn't real or anything like that because it will destroy her confidence and may even cause her to close off completely to all paranormal. I am trying to teach my stepson to accept his gifts rather than hide them away. It is important for children with gifts to keep them. Just explain to her that his visiting is a secret for only the family to talk about. She doesn't need to be spouting off anything to strangers, especially if she goes to school. Teachers don't really like that. I learned that the hard way when I went to school as a kid.
ghostfacep (1 stories) (27 posts)
11 years ago (2011-07-10)
Maybe in time, (and maybe just maybe) if these visits annoy her or prevent her sleeping, Your sister should tell her that his Love is all she needs because when people die (conv. Between us) they are dead and there is no real reason why she should be seeing him. And if by chance Ghosts do hear or understand then Grandpa will know he is loved and will let her be/rest. The same for everybody. 😁 ❤
intrepid713 (1 stories) (4 posts)
11 years ago (2011-07-10)
What you say makes a lot of sense, JuuJuu- I have seen Ghost Hunters, and they go a lot into the theory of electromagnetic energy and the ghosts' ability to use it as a booster in order to manifest. Rook pointed out pretty much the same as you did in his email about the nighttime being easier- I think we can use the flashlight analogy if she asks about it again.

I wonder at times if he shows up for my nephew, too- if he is, he's not telling. With my niece, we feel she still sees him since they had a very strong bond before he passed- maybe it connects them similar to how you said children are connected.

Thank you for your input!
BadJuuJuu (guest)
11 years ago (2011-07-09)
Why does he only show up at night, and why only to her. Good questions, and like any good question can only be answered with a (hopefully) educated guess.
Ghosts generally have low energy levels, and will manifest when they have built up enough energy to do so. My guess is that he's present always, but is just quietly hanging around, absorbing energy where he can to be able to visit your niece. Ghosts pick up stray energy from people, from electronics, batteries, etc. By the end of the day, he will have gained enough energy to pay her a visit. Another theory is that it's easier for a ghost to appear at night, since everything is off and they will be more noticeable when the environment is quiet. Don't know if you watch Ghost Hunters, but I've heard them say before that it's similar to turning a flashlight on in a lighted room. You can barely see the light from the flashlight. Turn the same flashlight on in a dark room, it's light is impossible to miss. He could simply wait until everything is quiet, so he can be sure he will be noticed.
Why he only appears to your niece. Children are much more open to paranormal visitations than adults. There are a couple of reasons why I think that is. As children grow, they are told "there's no such thing as ghosts." Eventually, they believe it, but while they are still young, they haven't closed down the part of their mind that believes in the impossible. If a child sees something, the child believes it. When an adult sees something, they try to convince themselves they didn't, it was just a trick of light, a shadow, brought on by stress, you get the idea. Children also tend to be less frightened by visitations of family members, whereas adults will frequently be scared because "ghosts don't exist." Your father may be appearing only to your niece because she will be able to believe he's there without being afraid. He may be unwilling to appear to you or your sister because he's afraid you would be afraid.
Another reason I think children are more open to visitations is because I believe the unborn and the departed reside in the same Otherworld together. Babies and young children are closer to the Otherworld than teens and adults, giving the little ones a connection to the other side. That connection makes it easier for the children to see and communicate with ghosts. As children age, that connection usually weakens.
I'm sorry about the loss of your father. He's still very much an active part of your family from the sound of things. This extra time he's spending with your niece is a beautiful gift, a rare and wonderful experience. He will probably stay until she has fully accepted his passing. It sounds to me as though she logically accepts it, but hasn't quite emotionally accepted it yet. When she has found emotional acceptance, his visits will probably become fewer and further between.
intrepid713 (1 stories) (4 posts)
11 years ago (2011-07-09)
Thanks! I didn't think about the "Answer a question with a question" bit- that makes sense.

As for keeping an open dialog, let's just say that we've all seen enough to believe that there is more out there than the eye can see, so to speak. We don't want the kids to be afraid to talk about anything they may have seen or experienced- hopefully it will keep them from having any bad experiences.
zzsgranny (18 stories) (3327 posts) mod
11 years ago (2011-07-09)
intrepid: Geez, kids and their questions, huh? 😆...I think a good thing to tell her is that during the day, she's very busy and maybe he's around and she just doesn't notice...Or, you could give her the old "adult stuck for an answer" response, and answer her question with a question 😊, like, "Why do YOU think he comes only at night?"...She may come up with her own answer that suprises all of you...

I think it's cute that she wants to bury him with the watermelons! LOL!...Also, I'd like to say "good job" on keeping the dialogue open with her about her experiences... Some of us weren't so lucky, as kids, to have an adult who believed us...

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