This is not a story of ghosts. It is one that led me to believe in a world beyond the one we see. I don't know if I have any special powers - maybe we all do, provided that something triggers them, or maybe, it was the helping hand of another that "touched" me in the hour of need, and if that's the case,then, I'm forever grateful!
My memory begins the day I was accompanying mum to the doctors to take the results of her routine check-up. I was 7 years old and anxious to visit my dad at his work-place afterwards. Since he was the manager of one of the biggest hotels in the city of Rhodes I would rarely lay eyes on him during summer (not that I saw much of him in winter, either, but things weren't so bad then).
We reached the doctor's office and the moment his secretary saw us, she hurried to inform him. Upon entering his office, I felt, despite my young age, a bit uneasy and even more so, when the doctor spoke to my mum in a low voice, constantly looking at me. I do still recall him saying something about a "shadow" and then, in a very solemn tone, "I will be sending your tests and these (the x-rays) to Athens (the capital of Greece) right away..." He, then, proceeded to tell my mum that she would have to get on the first plane there.
I looked up to see her face. I might have been too young to understand exactly what was going on at that time but not stupid to sense something was terribly wrong! Besides, the look on my mum's face confirmed my fears.
She had always been my loving mother, the one that made everything bad go away - the one who loved me no matter what and, don't ask me why or how, I felt someone was going to take her away from me.
We were out on the street again heading for dad. This was a silent and heavy walk as mum held my hand tightly. She avoided eye contact with me but I constantly searched for her eyes only to see the tears rolling down her face.
"Mum, are you O.K?"
"Of course. What more can I ask from life when your hand is in mine?"
"Mum, are you going away?"
"I'm going to go for a few days, me and daddy but we'll be back..."
"Soon, I promise..." A brief pause then follows before she speaks again.
"Have I ever told you about a mother's love? It's the greatest, strongest and most everlasting love of all others! In fact, it's so strong that nothing can ever take it away. And even if, for some reason, a mother has to go away to another place where she cannot take her child with her, her love is still so strong that, even if she's up there with the stars, she can still see her child and protect it and speak to it and help it through difficult times..."
I couldn't understand why it might be my mother that has to go, leaving me alone. I was told that God, my God, was a kind and caring one who protected all of his creation. I knew he protected my mum when she was pregnant with me, when all others doubted she will come out of it alive. My God was the same God who saved both of us during labour and that was because my mum hadn't stopped praying to him. I was not meant to be born the doctors said but He let mum have me because she asked him.
I held her hand tighter now and tried to remain calm not wanting to make it harder on her. Yes, I was young but I could understand more than she thought and ever more than I was willing to reveal.
I remember mum into dad's office talking, guests coming and going, the soft music at the lobby, dad bending over the office desk and my mum taking his hand in hers. The world just kept going but for me that was the end of innocence and naivety.
Night came only to take my mum and dad to a place I couldn't be. I was left with grandma and grandpa. When everyone was asleep I ran to my parents' bedroom and reached out for an icon that hang over the head of their bed. Quietly, I ran back to bed and slipped under the cover, holding Madonna and her Infant close to my chest.
It was morning again and, despite grandma's persistence to get me out of bed, I remained there refusing to eat or speak. She finally gave up every effort and returned to her morning routine.
I distinctly remember myself being awake when, all of a sudden, the early morning sounds from the street blended with those of another louder one, and flashes of images of an unknown world let me into another reality-not my own.
I was walking between my parents but they were not holding my hands as always. I was literally running to keep up with them as we entered a big cold building with a tall ceiling and narrow corridors. We turn left and come to a stop outside the middle one of three doors in a row. Mum hesitates and then, refuses to enter. Instead, she sits on one of the chairs outside that door.
"You go in. He has already seen my tests by now. I can't do this" I hear my mother saying and dad responding, "Ok, I will go in first..."
I then lose sight of my mum as I follow my father into the office. An elderly man stands up to shake my dad's hand and before my dad says anything more than "We have come from Rhodes..." the man tells my father that he needs to say no more.
"My colleagues and I have reviewed your wife's test results and her x-rays and I'm here to say that there's absolutely nothing wrong with your wife. She's absolutely healthy so what you need to do is take her back to Rhodes and have a happy life..."
That is when every sound came to a halt and I found myself back in bed and to my Rhodian reality.
Grandma was once again over my bed looking rather worried now..." Is everything alright? Let me check your temperature" and at this, an overflow of words escaped from my mouth telling her the story.
She heard, silent and silent she remained as she caressed my head.
Later that day we heard the key turning on our front door and my parents happily entering the house. I jumped up from bed and ran to greet them followed by my grandparents.
"What are you doing back so soon? We thought you'd still be in Athens" grandma said to hear that they had no further reason to stay away.
"... And as we entered this huge building, we turned to a corridor on the right where we came outside these doors. I told Michael I didn't want to go in..."
Years later and as soon as the ultra-sound was used by doctors we discovered that my mum's womb had a small lump on one side which was purely genetic. Probably that was what alarmed the first doctor who sent her off to Athens urgently.