Greetings! I thought I'd share something from the day of the last funeral I attended. I've told y'all the story of my husband, in 'The Skeptic' and this will touch briefly on that.
His grandmother died a while back and I was required to attend that funeral. No getting out of that one to prep the after dinner and basically avoid the whole, not good with dead people thing I have going on. I believe I mentioned, I did not like Jerry's grandmother. I respected her for what she did for my husband and for the strength it took to raise her 6 kids after her husband took off on her. She was bigoted, prejudice, and just plain mean in the way only an old lady could be. She also felt it was okay to hit my kids if she didn't like what they were doing/saying. I didn't then and don't now, ascribe to that school of thought. I could/would give a spanking if they did something dangerous, because a little pain versus a lot of pain or death was acceptable. Smacking my six year old across the mouth hard enough to cut her lip, because she dared to say no? That was unacceptable to me and I made very sure she knew that - and that to call people of color or diverse ethnic or religious backgrounds bigoted names would ensure she would not see my kids for weeks.
Suffice to say, we did not get along while she was alive. We tolerate each other now that she's dead.
Her death was fast, but not unexpected or sudden. We knew for a couple weeks she was going. The next part of this is hard to write and may be hard to read, but please bare with me. While she was dying - and I mean that literally - in the last hours of her life, I stopped by to check on her house and grab a few things that my mother-in-law (who was by her mother's side at the hospital) needed. I was shocked to find that my Aunt-in-law and her two daughters were at the house, going through the things there. My mother-in-law lived there - it was and IS her home, and Viola and her two girls were tearing through the house like it was a fire sale. They were grabbing stuff and putting it in large bags. My mother-in-laws coats, shoes, pictures off the wall, the computer I gave them for christmas. I was completely shocked. "What the hell?"
Vi said "Oh, you need to get out of here. Mom hates you and I don't want you in my house."
"I think this house belongs to Mary - not you - she's been paying the taxes and mortgage on it for 20 years. You need to put that stuff down and get out or I'm calling the cops."
"Mom said I could have anything I wanted. The girls are helping me."
"Vi, Fern can't give you what isn't hers. Besides she's been in a coma since before you got here. When could she tell you anything? Get out or you can tell the cops."
They left after calling me choice names.
I got the stuff Mary needed and went to drop it off at the hospital. I stayed by my hubby's side for the next few hours until Fern passed. They went back to Mary's house to find it completely ransacked, everything gone, including the antique, 1890's front door. Since neither Vi nor her daughters showed up at the hospital, I knew exactly what happened. They waited for me to leave and came back. When I said that and said what had happened earlier, they didn't really call me a liar, but they made their disbelief known. I just shrugged and went home.
Vi showed up at our house that night, drunk as a skunk and screaming at my house. I didn't open the door or acknowledge her except to say leave or I'm calling the cops. Later I found out that she showed up at the house and when confronted, said that she hadn't done it, but her daughter April was wearing one of Mary's sweaters - one I got her for mother's day from a specialty boutique in Key West that was hand made and an original. When Mary recognized it she called Vi on it. They took off and disappeared. They showed up at the service and left before anyone could speak to them. Jerry spent the three days before the funeral replacing the door and appliances and stuff they stole.
Funerals bring out the worst in people I guess.
Back to the funeral - It was sparsely attended, which surprised me. She had been a member of the largest church in the area and had attended there for over 50 years. I expected at least a token showing from the church. I found out later that the church had made a mistake on the announcement card and put the next day's date on it, even though they were hosting the after funeral lunch and that was setup and prepared correctly.
I did get a sense of her, but what I got was just, older lady, tired, ready to sleep. Sad, a sadness linked to family. At least that was my perception. The funeral and after services went well and Mary seemed to be coping. My children and husband were exhausted mentally and emotionally, so I suggested we go home for the afternoon, and that we would be back later - I would make dinner for everyone and bring it with us.
My husband forgot his wallet and had to go back in to the house. My daughter was sitting next to me in the car and I looked over to watch for my husband, and there, standing in the window, plain as day, was Fern, the woman we'd just seen buried. My daughter gasped and not taking my eyes off the window where the white-haired woman stared back at us, I said "You see her?"
"Great Grandma's dead but... She's in the window."
"I know sweetie. She's probably just letting us know she's okay or maybe she just wants to visit with her kids before she moves on."
"It's okay honey, just wave like you used to and then turn and talk to your brother. It'll be okay."
My son Chris shrugged, "I don't see nothing, but yeah, come look at my Pokemon Silver."
She did, and I watched for a while longer. She didn't really move, just stood there, like I'd seen her do a hundred times before. Then when my hubby walked out, she turned her head and looked at him as he strode towards us up the walkway, she disappeared. Now, let me explain about this window. It is north facing, about 4 feet long and 3 feet tall. It has horizontal blinds that are always kept up and heavy green drapes that frame it inside. Fern always wore blue, black or brown. Her hair was bright blue-white and haloed around her face in waves. She was very clearly visible. 4 feet in front of the window from the inside is the television set. Nothing is allowed to be on top of the TV, nothing. On the outside small violets were planted in neat rows. The glass is untinted, untreated, single ply glass. It has a clear view in and out. I could clearly see the family moving around behind the glass, including my husband, But, just as clearly I saw Fern standing there watching our car. She used to do it all the time when we left. It was like she was seeing us out/away.
I didn't mention it to anyone at the time, but, occasionally, over the years, I have seen her, standing and watching. I am not sure why I thought I was the only one to see her, but I did think that, and I was wrong. Not long ago, when I was dropping off chicken and dumplings for Mary, one of the new neighbors came over and asked Mary who the woman in the window was. He'd seen her this afternoon.
Mary had been at the doctor's office, which is why I had made her supper, and she was all up in arms about some strange woman in her house. I went in and got Fern's picture and brought it to the new neighbor. "Is this who you saw?"
He recognized her immediately. I was at a loss to explain, but Mary said, "Oh that's Momma. She normally doesn't stop by if I'm not here, but she visits to check on me all the time. You'll see her sometimes. Don't worry about it."
She didn't explain that the visitor was dead... And I didn't know how to explain that the Window View wasn't quite what it seemed. On a side note, that was the appointment that lead to the discovery of cerebral blockage in her brain. She's had 2 very dangerous surgeries since them to remove the blockages. I have to wonder if Fern was there because she knew something serious was happening with Mary and wanted to show support and caring.
I hope you enjoyed this Window View. I will be happy to answer questions and comments.