one of the haunted

Halloween.  Día de los Muertos. The season of the undead, of ghosts come to visit the living.  The stories we tell this time of year speak of forbidden desires and longing for that which we cannot let go. The fear of ghosts we felt as children grows into a thrill to think maybe those that have left us aren’t really gone, that maybe they can come back to give us messages, check up on us, or just to have a good time in the way you can only on Earth.

I have always had a skepticism about the afterlife, but when my mother was dying, I held her thin hand and asked for her to come visit me after she had gone.

If you can, anyway that you can, I want you to come to me and let you know that you are there.

She amused me and said she would try.

She hasn’t done a very good job.

I live 40 miles from Mexico, and calavera skulls stare at me from store windows. Miniature skeletons drink alcohol or play mariachi tunes.  Carved pumpkins glow yellow in the dying sunlight.  It is the season to celebrate the haunting and the haunted, but I am not one of them.

She simply isn’t here.

I don’t hear her voice, feel her sweet presence.

She is gone.

In this season of ghosts, I wish my dear one would visit.  I wish I was one of the haunted.

30 thoughts on “one of the haunted

  1. Stephanie

    This is a lovely and thought-provoking post which has helped me figure out my complicated feelings about this season. I hope you don’t mind my linking to it as a takeoff point for a post I’m working on, Even if you aren’t haunted, you’re keeping your mother with you through this blog.

      1. bornbyariver Post author

        I am so thrilled that your blog is getting the attention it deserves, and honored I can be a part of a great post. As I wrote to another, the second best thing to having a post selected to be “Freshly Pressed” is being mentioned in one. Thank you, thank you!

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  3. Cancer in My Thirties

    I think she is probably with you in even more subtle ways than you realize… I can certainly sense her in so many of your posts… Perhaps she just needs to ‘get the hang of things’ on the other side before she is able to be more obvious in her presence…
    Warmest thoughts for you…

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      Maybe the way in which she is with me so pales to what it was like having her in the flesh… but perhaps I’ll become more sensitive to it! Thanks for your warmest wishes.

  4. Who Am I?

    Dead (dear) ones can visit you in any possible physical form. Are you sure you have looked everywhere carefully? Have you been observing everything around you? The texture of the air, the feel of the weather, the color of plants, and so on?

    Have you been seeing any specific number by any chance? For example, 444 is a confirmation that you are being looked after by a spirit or an angel. Do you see butterflies in the least expected ways? Or, a page of a book opens and you end up reading something which reminds you of your mother?

    Be more attentive is all I can say. Read this if you feel like:

  5. marwil

    I think about this a lot, and I do believe in an afterlife but so far haven’t had anyone visiting. Is it just a wish or is it really there. In some way though, I do think that my mom is with me in some way, shape or form, just like your mother is.

    PS I gave you a blog award in one of my resent posts, if you would like to play.

  6. katferreira

    Thank you for sharing this post.

    You are not alone in this struggle. My Grandfather’s birthday was October 31st and he passed away 13 years ago this fall. He was such a powerful patriarch in our family, but as time passes, I often struggle to feel his presence.

    Sometimes we need to make our own meaning. But these awareness and interpretation skills are not necessarily encouraged traits in our rapid-paced modern society. For example, when I see a hawk or a falcon deep in the city, I can interpret it as something meaningful. But I’m so trained to look down – usually at my buzzing smart phone – that I forget to take in what else is around me. I have to remind myself to look up to the sky.

    I struggle with this often:

    Our lost loved ones may be all around us, but it can be hard to feel them and interpret their meaning through all the noise. Thanks again and my heart goes out to you.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      thanks for your thoughtful response. I really appreciate your perspective. I don’t feel my mother, but I do see butterflies everywhere… a phenomenon that started around the time of her physical decline.

      1. katferreira

        Thanks and I hope you can take some comfort in your butterfly sightings. The timing of their appearance seems very meaningful. Plus butterflies are such a powerful cross-cultural symbol of the cycle of life. I can’t think of a better messenger to honor the themes of life-death-rebirth during Dia de los Muertos. Take care.

  7. Allison

    I thought I’d feel my mother after she passed. I also thought there would be this big moment when she passed, like something earth-shattering would happen and the heavens would open up to welcome her. But there was nothing. And there is nothing. I feel nothing.

    And the more I think about it, the happier and more comforted I am that I don’t feel her presence around me. I will always have her in my heart, for sure, and she’ll always be with me that way. But if I felt her around me all the time, I’d feel like her spirit wasn’t at rest. I’d rather she be at rest, wherever that might be, than sticking around to comfort me. I think I’m happier knowing she’s at peace than stuck here in this place.

  8. Sensuous Inkspiller

    I saw the link to this post in the Freshly Pressed post.

    My mother and I were exceptionally close. Best friends, as well as mother and daughter. I was her home hospice caregiver for the last 7 months of her life. I was there when she died, 3 1/2 years ago.

    And I desperately wanted to feel her presence, know she is here. And I still do. But… I don’t feel her. I talk to her all the time, I think of her all the time, but feel her… no.

    She comes to me in dreams, sometimes… I rarely dreamed about people I knew, before she died. And now, she is there sometimes. She was last night, and I smiled at that, today.

    A couple of months after she died, when I was taking the laundry out of the machine, there were truly scores of shredded tissues among the wash. It was a constant source of laughter and angst for us – she always had a tissue hiding somewhere, and always swore she had checked. Those tissues… they were a sign. She wanted me to know. It happened two more times. (I NEVER have tissues in anything when I do laundry, not ever!)

    And sometimes, I notice her scent. Not a perfume, not clothing she had worn, just her scent.

    It’s not what I expected, not what I thought it would be, but… I think she is here, more than I realize. And I felt a chill when I read about the butterflies – they are definitely your mother thinking about you, letting you know she is. And how very lovely that is.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      Thanks for stopping by! I guess the second best thing to being featured in Freshly Pressed is to be mentioned in the post 🙂

      I have to laugh about the shredded, laundered tissues because I had the same problem when Mom was dying. She cared for my grandmother, and when she was too sick to do so, the job fell to me. Grandma stealthily hid Kleenex anywhere she could. I never remembered to empty ALL of those pockets before washing Grandma’s clothing (who knew women’s clothes had sooo many pockets?) and inevitably, a fibrous, linty mess ensued.

  9. kjpaints

    My Mom and I were probably too close, and when she was dying we read all of Allison Dubois’ books and my Mom swore she would come back and see me. Allison Dubois says that it takes the deceased about two years to be able to come back through and that she couldn’t see her own father for two years after he died (and she is gifted). I was lucky enough to get a reading with Allison last year and my mother said she was sorry that I hadn’t been able to feel her and that she is trying harder. She says she plays with my hair all the time and that when it tickles me, it’s her.
    All I’m saying is, your mother is definitely there. If you think of her, she IS there. Keep your eyes, ears and nose searching. Find that picture that you can practically hear her when you look at it. That’s how they connect. Keep it where you see it every day. You WILL spend the afterlife with her, with no barriers and no time. Take comfort in that.

  10. Joannie

    I lost my Mother very suddenly (murder) and we never had the conversation I believe would have been something like the one you had with your Mom. (My) Mom believed in so many ‘beyond’ the physical things and spoke so wisely of life after death that all her friends and family (most whom don’t believe as she did) if I feel her near or have contact with her. My answer is always the same. ” ‘No’ but I know she waiting for the moment when I will be able to feel/hear her”. Over 3 years have passed and I believe that if I can ever let go of some the trauma I’ll know her again. My Father has given up hope and it has made him bitter. I don’t know you, but if you asked, I would say the same thing to you as I do to my circles who ask me about my Mom.
    My heart goes out to you.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      And my heart goes out to you! if my mother had been taken from me by murder, I’m not sure how, or if, I could have found my way back to the light again. Good luck in your travels and in the journey.

  11. Kathy

    Have you ever been doing something and out of the blue you think of your mom? My friend, who can communicate with spirits and has given me messages from my mom, told me that when this happens your mom is with you. I would have never believed it, except that I have been told things my friend could have never known. My mom visits but most of the time I don’t feel her presence. Once I asked my mom for something very specific and she left me a coin. Just wanted to share. Your mom may visit – don’t give up hope. Take care

  12. susielindau

    This gave me shivers! She may have passed on or she could be giving you signs like a special kind of bird, flower or butterfly and you may not have noticed. Either way, she still lives in your memories of her.
    Loved this post and its twisted ending.
    Thanks for bringing it by the party!

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