I grew up in small town in Michigan and as a little girl, me and my brothers played happily in our yard. Sometimes, we would swing on the bouncy neighbors fence and he would get angry and chase us away as the fence was bending and getting grotesquely lower and lower to the ground. Most of the time, we were good kids. The older man and his wife next door were quiet and often kept to themselves. They were nice elderly people. When I would see him coming and going, at times, I would run up to him and say, "Hello, Mr., how is your Mrs..." He would nod and say she was fine. He seemed strangely sad when he said it though. I just sensed something was wrong.
His Mrs., would often sit on the front porch when the weather was fair and sometimes I would run up to the porch and say to her, "Hello, Mrs...", and wave. She rarely spoke and would just nod her head in acknowledgement. She often wore a shawl and a long dark dress. Her hair was in a gray bun and I guessed that she was pretty old. I guess she caught a chill easily is why she always seemed to have a shawl. She liked to sit in her rocking chair by the window sometimes and rock back and forth. I would wave at her when I saw her.
They say I looked like Punky Brewster. I had freckles on my nose and a short choppy hair cut. I guess I was somewhat of a tomboy because I had six brothers and three of them were younger than I was. I guess I was around the age of six or seven years old.
Everything amused me when I was young. When I would walk outside, sometimes the wind would suddenly stir up and swoosh around me and the leaves in the yard would dance around me in a perfect circle. I would just laugh and turn in a counter clock wise circle as the leaves danced around me. The wind was my friend. The trees were my friends, the butterflies, ants and crickets were my friends. I had real friends and a large family but nature seemed to talk to me in a way that always caught my imagination.
It had been a long time since I had seen the Mr., and his Mrs. I faintly remember people walking in and out of his house dressed in black. I was collecting pretty rocks in the yard and that kept my attention.
One day, I saw the Mrs., again, sitting on the front porch, rocking back and forth, wearing a dark shawl and a long dark dress. Her hair was up in a gray bun, as usual. Something seemed different this time. It seemed like she was far, far away, like in another dimension. I waved at her and she looked at me but did not speak or nod as she usually did. I saw her several times that week. Sometimes rocking on the porch and sometimes sitting in the window rocking back and forth. I was preoccupied and so I would just wave at her when I saw her in the window and go back to my playing.
Later that day, I saw the Mr., coming home and walking sadly up to his house. I ran up to him and I said, "Hello, Mr. I saw your Mrs., sitting on the porch and rocking in her rocking chair and in the window too... She was rocking back and forth..." He looked at me strangely and shook his head no. I was insistent, I know what I saw. "Yes. I imposed myself. I did see her..." He looked at me and spoke calmly and said. "My Mrs. is dead. She has been dead for a couple of weeks now..."
I was struck dumb. I did see her and I described to him what she was wearing. He looked strangely at me and sad and just walked slowly into his house. Shaking his head no.
It wasn't the last time that I saw her. I would see her every now and then and I always asked myself, every time I saw her. If she is dead, why can I see her? Shouldn't she be invisible? I wanted to speak to her but I was afraid. If she was really dead, why did she keep appearing as though she was still living?
I heard my mother talking to the neighbors and on the phone and she said she swears that she saw that woman sitting in the window, rocking in her rocking chair... The one who died. I never told mom, I saw her too. Mom would quiet down when she noticed us kids within hearing distance. My younger brothers said they didn't see her.
As I grew up, I never forgot her. I guess she and her husband had been together for so long that she couldn't leave him... Not right away. She had to visit him every now and then before she took her long journey to the other side.
I have often been visited by those who have died and passed over. Sometimes family members would make themselves known to me. My father and mother both visited me near the times of their deaths.
I have noticed that when people die, they don't go to the other side, right away. Sometimes they linger and say goodbye to those that they loved. Sometimes they get lost. Sometimes they live amongst us. I don't see them as often as I used to but every once in a while, I will see them. Sometimes, they look just as real as you and me. Sometimes, they hide in shadows, like when my father died, I sensed him standing in my closet, in the dark. My father use to spy on me trying to catch me doing something wrong. Or sometimes they float upon the ceilings, like my mother did when she visited me. They often don't mean us any harm, they often want to leave us with messages of encouragements. However, it is scary.
One day, I will die and when I think about visiting my close family and loved ones, I would like my last message to be this:
If God brings you to it,
He will bring you through it.
Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God.