This past December (2012) we set off for Mozambique. Excitement aplenty as we packed the car on the evening of the 14th of December, we would leave 3:00AM on the 15th. Thanks to my aunt, who never fails to make a late entry, we were only on our way at 4:10AM. I drove the first shift. By 7:00AM I was fighting with myself to keep my eyes open, they kept closing involuntarily. And, as luck would have it, the last time I had my eyes shut too long, I had a persistent tugging on my hair. Charlie woke me up before I got too close to the vehicle in front of us. I was suddenly wide awake.
We got stuck at the border between SA and Mozambique, 4 and a half hours. It was boiling hot in the vehicle and everyone was getting quite uncomfortable. I had a chance to check in with Tim before we crossed the border and our communications were cut off, and he told me Gran was with mom, making sure she was coping (after all, she had had major surgery only a week prior to this excursion) and Charlie was in the back with us, as happy as a kid in a candy store.
Our 16 hour trip eventually came to an end when we arrived at dad's house just after 8:00PM. We were exhausted, to say the least, but we made it there in one piece. We had great days and some not so good, but that's the chances you take when you take people along for a three week holiday. My aunt, unfortunately, has a knack for being unhelpful and, I'm very sorry, there is no other way to put this, extremely stingy. Seeing as how she is also Gran's daughter, this upset Gran. As Tim told me one night after I had made sure to get a local starter pack and was able to communicate again, Gran really felt that she had taught my aunt to behave better. After all, she was 9 when Gran passed away.
On one specific night, Gran was fed up with my aunt. I got a message from Tim and Elaine that, when my aunt went to lay down, I was to stay out of the room, it was time for mom to give her daughter a stern talking to. At one point Tim sent me a message and said, listen for the closet door. And, sure enough, I heard the closet door bang shut. Gran was busy with my aunt for nearly 45 minutes, then Tim sent me a message and told me she was done, I could go to bed if I wanted. I was wide awake, sitting in a very comfy chair, watching one of my favourite movies. Charlie had sat down on the floor in front of my feet, his back against my legs (my legs had tingles all over) and then Gran was sitting on the side of the chair (my right) and she started playing with the chain around my neck. Tim told me she was fascinated with the chain, she wished she could have had something that lovely when she was alive, and that's why she keeps touching it.
Earlier on this specific night, I told Tim I had something that I wanted Gran's opinion on. He told me she was walking around outside, under the carport. Now, with the high risk for Malaria in Mozambique, we tended to be indoors before the sun went down, just to make sure we do not get bitten by mosquitoes. So I knew I'd have to speak to Gran through a window, she'd always hear me. I walked into the bar and closed the door behind me. When I walked up to the window I could see the back of the trailer, and my aunts vehicle. I started to speak, and as I did, movement caught my eye. In the darkest corner, to the left of the trailer, stood a greyish figure. And the figure was looking right at me. I couldn't make out very much detail, only outlines, but I knew it was her. I finished talking and went back to my room, where I immediately sent Tim a message.
"I think I just saw gran!"
"Yes, and I'm not sure who was more surprised. She assumed it was your dad coming into the room. But, even in her shock, she smiled at you." Came the reply from Tim.
That evening she told him to tell me that she wanted me to start focusing more on "hearing" her. She wants to communicate with me directly. In the meanwhile, she cut herself off from both Tim and Charlie (no boys allowed, Gran's rules) and suddenly turned to communicating through Elaine. Earlier that day, I had been in the ocean with the boys, and distinctly heard a male voice calling my name. Twice. The best way I have to describe it, is that, he sounded both far away, and as if, he was all around me at the same time. Tim later confirmed that this was Charlie.
I took to chatting with them most evenings, and I got so comfortable with Gran and Charlie around me all the time. Gran loved sitting outside under a mango tree and watching the boys play. Every time one of them fell, Tim could tell me where they were grazed, because Gran told him. Going to the beach was fun. My boys enjoyed the water so much it was a battle to get them in the car when it was time to go home, and Charlie was no different.
One night Tim and I had gotten onto the subject of previous relationships and Charlie decided it was time to tell/show him the hell my ex husband had put me through. He showed Tim things that I had tried to hide from myself. Pain, terror, anguish. Charlie even knew that my ex husband had planned to kill me. He had tried a few times, but never really saw it through, or perhaps Charlie stopped him, I'm not sure. Charlie had always kept a wood baseball bat in his car when he was alive, it had YANKY engraved on it in silver. And Charlie told Tim that he would have loved to take that bat and use it on my ex husband, that's how much he hates him. I remembered things that night that I had hidden from myself, frightening to remember what I survived, and liberating as well. Afterward Charlie kept apologizing through Tim, he never meant to cause me pain. Charlie was there, every day, and I never knew it.
On New Years night I was woken up by blood curdling screams. My mom. I rushed out of my room and as I neared the corner to where she was, I was suddenly pushed up against the wall, Charlie. Then mom screamed again. It's a sound I never want to hear ever again. Charlie let me go (sensing it was safe enough for me) and I ran around the corner. Mom was still screaming, looking into the kitchen door, and holding my son in her arms. I immediately felt Gran radiating vicious energy and when I asked mom what was wrong she told me there was someone climbing into the window. They had tried to break in, he was literally ¾ of the way into the kitchen when mom walked in on him. When she screamed the second time he basically reversed and fell out of the window.
Gran was in the kitchen, between mom and that window. I have never seen my mother so scared in my life. The would-be burglars got away, but I'm convinced he got a look at a very angry ghost before he fell backwards out of the window.
Every time I was sitting alone late at night, Gran and Charlie were there with me. When I got scared or anxious, my hair or my temples were stroked. When I got angry, I had hands on my shoulders holding me back. Gran told Elaine that my aunt is scared of her, because she has a secret that she thought died with my Gran, and she is afraid it is going to come out. I am thinking, only time will tell.