My little cousin and my grandfather were very close, she has a father who is around, but my grandfather was her father figure. She spent everyday with him and they did things together that made their bond strong. He loved each and every one of his grandchildren, so we each had our own very special bond with him for various reasons, in various ways.
My grandfather passed away when my cousin was four years old and I was sixteen, death is a very hard concept to grasp at the age of sixteen, so imagine how it felt to a four year old child. One day he was there and the next he’s gone. When we went home for the funeral, my mother was cleaning and my little cousin started laughing. My mom asked her why she was laughing and she said, because he’s laughing with you and watching you. My mom asked who and she clammed up and would only say the man over there. There was no one there, no one we could see.
Fast forward ten years:
I’m from a culture who’s people believe in ghosts and spirits, I am one of those people. I recently went home for vacation and had quite the experience on my first night home. My friend Elle, my now fourteen year old cousin, and I slept in the same room, we pushed two beds together because we are chicken shit and would not sleep solo. At some point through the night I felt like someone was in the room. I looked around, I saw no one. I felt dizzy. My head felt like it swelled to the size of a watermelon. I kept trying to speak, but I couldn’t. I don’t know what was wrong with me. I looked over at Elle, she was moaning, mumbling, my cousin was turning and sighing. Elle informed me in the morning that someone was in the room. Come to your own conclusions. I have mine.
The second day, I did my usual ritual. I went to visit my grandfather’s grave. Swept some stray weeds and dirt off his grave, said a prayer, cried a little bit and headed back to my house. I felt safer after that. I was no longer scared to go to sleep. A couple days later, my cousin came and sat down next me, then she got up, walked over to a drawer, took out a picture of my grand-dad and held in her hands. She never talks about him, she doesn’t like to, I think it hurts her too much. I thought maybe this was an opportunity to get that counseling in there with her, but she said nothing. I thought it strange the way she held the picture. She turned it so I could see it, not her. I thought nothing more of it.
So I’m back in Canada and overhear this conversation between my mother and grandmother who’s visiting for a few months:
Gram: “We didn’t want to frighten Nikki…”
Mum: “Uh Mama, Nikki can hear you.”
I walk out of the bathroom.
Me: “Yes I can, frighten me about what?”
Mum: “Your cousin said when you went to visit your grandpa, you went back home and she was sitting next to you and he walked in and sat between the two of you. He was smiling at you, staring at you, happy to see you there.”
Now that might sound crazy to some people and even frightening, but I wish she had told me he was there. I suppose she sees him all the time, she won’t say and she doesn’t talk about it.
Now I know why she got up, picked up his picture and held it towards me. She was telling me he was there. I remember taking it and putting my finger on his face. She said he did the same to me. I wish she’d told me he was there.