Halloween might be the staple fall holiday in the US and Canada, but in MesoAmerica, it's the Day of the Dead. This is the day when the living can commune with the dead. My father used to scare the heck out of us when we'd visit my grandmother's grave. I just knew one of these days we'd bring back some hitchhiking ghost.
Ghosts startle me, (well, what doesn't) but if I can spend a few seconds getting used to their presence, that fear usually morphs into curiosity. Invariably though, if a ghost crosses my path, it's more likely he's passing through or looking for something. He's not interested in my questions.
But there was one time I was left at a disadvantage. We had traveled to Chicago to attend my father-in-law's funeral. As soon as we arrived we were shuttled to the wake. I kept complaining to Greg that I wasn't feeling well. Greg dismissed it as nerves. (Why do husbands always dismiss our ailments as nerves?)
Finally, I told him I had to go home (in this case, my parent's home). I felt terrible about it because I wanted to be a comfort to him in his time of need, but I plain just felt bad. He dropped me off with my kid sister, then rushed back to the wake.
My sister was very young at the time, maybe 12 or 13, and the poor kid kept calling Greg at the funeral parlor, insisting I was getting worse. (In retrospect, I might've died had she not been so unrelenting.) After the third call, Greg had had enough and came home to see for himself.
One look told him I needed to go to the hospital. All I remember was a terrible backache and me pleading with him not to take me to the hospital. He didn't tell me that I was white as a sheet and delirious. They barely got me into surgery when my appendix burst.
Poor Greg had lost an uncle a week earlier, his father less than two days ago, and now the doctors were telling him his wife's life was in danger. Greg was having a very bad week.
Fast forward a few weeks and they finally released me from the hospital, but ordered me not to fly home. I would have to stay with my parents a few weeks longer.
The first night home was a doozy. I was restless and couldn't sleep. I couldn't shake the feeling that something was in my room. It made me especially anxious because I could barely move due to the huge incision on my stomach. I finally managed to sit up when I saw Greg's father manifest, then sit at the edge of my bed.
I stared at him in disbelief. He looked good. Healthy. His mouth was moving, but I couldn't hear him speak. Somehow--and don't ask me how--I knew he was looking for Greg. As soon as I told him that Greg had returned to Texas, he disappeared, hopefully to find his son and say a proper goodbye.
I wish more than anything he could have stayed a little longer, but I had the feeling he was in a hurry.
It's pure speculation on my part, and something I alluded to in my latest book, but I have to wonder if there's some transitory state of souls, right before a metamorphosis.
What do you think happens when you die? Are there stages of afterlife like there is in life? I am fascinated by different views. I hope you'll share yours.