I was born on 5th May after a very difficult pregnancy and an even more difficulty labour that nearly caused both, my mother's and my life. Mum still narrates every minute of it, with tears in her eyes, every chance she gets and I know that she still suffers every time she does.
Grandma (when still alive) would wait until the very end of the story to add, "who would have thought you would make it after all you've been through and having lost those two ones the previous year!"
From the moment I was old enough to understand the world around me, I felt very uncomfortable every time I heard about "those ones" but, seeing my mother torn, I didn't dare to ask anything further until I grew a little more and decided to confront both my mum and "nona"
Nona spoke, mum just listened and nodded. "The first time mummy had a baby in her tummy she lost it within a month. The second one, it was a boy. She lost that one when she was 4 months pregnant with it. But now, everything is ok cause you're here..."
"And where are those two?" I would ask to hear,"they are safe in heaven where God is taking care of them for us..."
Needless to say that "heaven" sounded scary to a restless child who refused to understand why we couldn't visit and even scarier as I realized the meaning of death at still a young age.
I would casually ask nona if those who pass on remain as they were in life and she, not thinking anything of it, would go on to reply "yes, of course". Even worse, I would never let on that I was ok with me seeing my brother but how was I supposed to tell her that, since my other sibling was not fully formed, I was terrified in the thought of looking at an embryo. (It might sound funny to me now but not when I was 7 or 8). So I would constantly have this feeling of not sleeping alone in bed but as I grew even older I blamed my childhood drama for it. I still think it was that and nothing else.
Having joined an exchange-student program, at the age of twenty, I find myself studying in Australia at LaTrobe University. I spent most of my free time hanging out with two of my younger cousins, three australian friends (we are still close), and Ghaa (an african girl who claimed to have had powers!) She would often try to get me involved in their seances and I would always avoid it, partly because I doubted her gift and, partly because she made me a little uneasy; besides, I couldn't be absolutely sure she was a fake. Finally, I gave in and joined them one night.
The moment she began explaining the procedure I felt it was a mistake. The woman was talking about unborn spirits not dead relatives of any sort. She was talking about guardian spirits who were called upon for protection but you needed a strong prayer to, first, be protected from the guardian? What was all that? I said I wanted out but since we were in an isolated area and couldn't go anywhere alone, she warned me that if I stayed outside the circle, she couldn't protect me. For all that, I finally stayed.
The seances began with her speaking in african and singing and making weird faces and at that point I began shaking with terror. She served as a medium through which the second spirit spoke and answered questions and every now and then someone would fall in some kind of trance I wouldn't buy and so I managed to slowly relax since it was too dramatic for my liking!
Then Ghaa would ask someone to leave the circle claiming the spirit had enough and would place that someone in another circle next to ours with some more prayers and such.
I was beginning to get a little impatient because time was passing and they wouldn't finish the "theatrical play" when she suddenly turned to me saying "the spirit now wants you". I knew I could ask a question after the spirit allowed it according to Ghaa and I was absolutely determined, first, to avoid stupid questions such as who's to die next and, second, questions that she would know the answers to, from my cousins.
I asked my "safe" questions such as "which country would be my next stop" or "will I ever return home" but suddenly began to feel unwell; the kind of feeling you get as if you have butterflies in your stomach, the ache in your bones, like you've caught a cold and then a bit of cold sweating. Ghaa's voice was heard like from a distance and I felt distracted by something unknown. A little afterwards, I began feeling better but I had the distinct feeling that something had escaped my attention. I usually get the same feeling when I have had an extra drink and I know I must have said something more than I should have.
When I recovered from what I thought to be a little dizziness, I found my youngest cousin's hand on mine but the seances was in progress in spite of my little incident, and another one was asking the questions.
Finally, the gathering ended with all of us exhausted and me being distressed.
Back home I was continuously asked if I was feeling better and I regained my courage to ask about the events that took place during my questioning. I was sure I had missed something but I wasn't sure what.
Helen, the youngest told me I suddenly looked very upset and said a few times "no, no, stop!" I then supposedly said "I'm on the 5th May, not June or January!"
Now May is the month I was born. I'm also sure June and January are the months my mother had both miscarriages. I don't and have not been able to remember myself saying any of these things, my cousins claim, as I am sure they couldn't have known from my mother.
I still try to think of it as pure coincidence but, just to be on the safe side that was the first and last time I ever participated in any such gatherings. I know that if my siblings are out there, they would have no reason to harm me so, if, I really mean if, this was the spirit talking, I now am sure it's not a benevolent one that I should ever encounter again!