Controversy

It’s been hard for me to write this week. I started two different blogs I never finished, one about smoking (I’m not ready to talk about quitting it turns out) and one about tomatoes (Hey, it had some really good recipes) but my heart wasn’t in it and I didn’t finish either. The state of the union is getting downright depressing, and there’s something that strikes me as wrong to be writing about frivolous things like my favorite tomato recipes when there are so many other, more important topics that deserve attention. So, beware, this is a blog about something controversial.

The afterlife.

(I got you there, huh?)

I just read a book. It’s not the first book I’ve read from a survivor of a near death experience (NDE) but it is the only one I’ve read that included a whole bunch of scientific facts about the brain and consciousness because the person who had the experience is a scientist, a brain surgeon (“We actually prefer neurosurgeon,” my daughters best friend, the future brain surgeon told me.) The book is called “Proof of Heaven” and I’ll be happy to loan it to you sometime.

I know there are lots of people in the world who do not believe in heaven, or an afterlife. Who think that your light bulb goes out and you are gone forever, nothing but your legacy can carry on. I understand that point of view. I can get behind evolution, scientific research and facts.

I don’t believe that there is something after death because of the church I went to growing up, or the fact that both my grandparents came from very zealously religious families (Five pastors on my grandpa’s side) or the fact that I have read and reread the bible. Not even because I was afraid at one point that the rapture would happen and I’d be left behind.

What convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is SOMETHING after death was living with a ghost.

A spirit, if you will.

Believing in ghosts is like believing in true love, it’s something that people kind of believe in or don’t at all until it happens to them. That’s the truth. If you’ve ever lived with a ghost, then you believe in them, period.

I bought my first house 16 years ago. It was built in 1973, custom, for the man who was then the superintendent of the local school district, and his wife. It had two fireplaces and the most beautiful wood. The doors, the cupboards, the mantle- all of it was gorgeous. The walls and floors needed some work, they looked like they might also be 1973, but the house was original. Extra closet space, extra-large master bath with giant closets, large bedroom and living area in the basement. It was perfect for just Bunny and me.

As soon as we moved in, weird things started happening. My house did not have a furnace, it was in fact, a completely electric house, something uncommon in an area where furnaces are required a good part of the year. I started to notice that every morning when I got up, all the downstairs doors were closed. I would purposely leave them open and they would be closed. I told you about not having a furnace because that was the first thing my dad said to me when I told him about the doors, “It’s probably your furnace blowing them closed.”

“DAD I DO NOT HAVE A FURNACE,” I said. My dad was a skeptic when it came to the ghost story.

Another annoying thing was the knocking. It regularly sounded like someone was knocking at the door, but when you answered it no one was there. After some months of living there, I had my youngest sister over and she was sitting at the counter while I was doing dishes.

“Someone’s at the door,” she said.

“No one’s at the door,” I answered.

“Someone’s knocking,” she said.

I couldn’t hear the knocking, so I knew it was the ghost. It was only messing with her. My ghost friend was funny that way.

“Go ahead and answer it then,” I began, “I’m doing dishes.”

So, Megan answered the door and, what do you know, there was no one there. That was the night she started to believe me.

By that time, I was long past believing. By that time, the ghost had driven the other person I’d let move in with me out of the house in less than six months by doing things like, stealing his washcloth while he was in the shower and then laying it out flat on top of his clean clothes. Jumping on his back. Making him see little orbs of light all over. Shaking the bed in the middle of the night so we all had to get up and sleep in one bed with lights on. And the never-ending knocking.

When my former roommate came back after a few weeks to get the rest of his stuff, he stood uneasily in the kitchen and said, “It’s still here, you know.”

I talked to Gram about it. I mean, really, what was I going to do? The market had crashed and there was no way I would be able to resell my house without taking a giant loss. And I loved my house!

My friend Carrie brought over a Ouija board. That got us nowhere. It told us it’s name was “ghost”. We ended up more scared that we opened a portal to any spirits that wanted to move in and she took that board to the McDonald’s dumpster and pitched it for good.

My friend Alison gave me a little bottle of holy water that she had left over from some big catholic event of her childhood and I tried sprinkling that around.

I bought everyone a cross necklace. I know it was a little “Amityville horror” to go to crosses but you get to a place where you are ready to try anything.

All this time, nothing ever happened to Bunny. She was four, and so happy in our new house. We never mentioned anything about the ghost in front of her, I never wanted to scare her.

It came to a point where I enlisted the help of some “ghostbusters”. They were a team of two women, one of whom was clairvoyant, whom I called upon to come perform some Native American cleansing rituals that were supposed to get rid of the negative energy. It may sound like a scam to you, but they provided their services for absolutely free, which lent then some creditability in my book. I also knew someone else who had a bad experience returning from a different country with a sprit and recommended them to me.

I took Bunny to my mom’s house on the day they were to come. When they arrived, we sat in the living room while I explained to them some of the things going on and showed them around the house. When we got to my room they said, “Who’s room is this?” I said it was mine and they said, “This is his room.”

She said he was a man who looked in his sixties, “Who just thinks he lives here.” It was at that moment that I developed a small amount of sympathy for him.

When they burned sage, and started their little incantations, doors started slamming. Those were the only moments actually, that I ever really felt scared. He did not like what they were doing one bit.

The next day I went to fetch Bunny from my moms, and couple of uneventful days went by. I had been instructed not to talk about the ghost in the house. It brings them back.
I didn’t mention anything, but also, nothing felt different. It was a feeling, that knowing that he was there.

Then up the stairs came my little Bunny Feet, skipping along, pig tails bouncing, singing, “The ghost is still here!”

I freaked out a little bit inside.

“What did you say?” I asked her, “When you were coming up the stairs?”

She shrugged and said, “I on’t know.” (exactly like that, without the “d” because she was four) And skipped off.

I made a deal with the ghost. I would leave him alone if he would leave Bunny alone. I talked out loud to him in the middle of my living room, like a crazy person, on more than one occasion.

So by the time my sister was over that day, I had long accepted that I lived with a ghost. We came to a sort of understanding. For the most part, he left me alone. My bed still shook occasionally in the night and woke me up. Or I would think I woke up to voices but there would be none, but there were many uneventful days where we just hung out together in the same house.

He did, however, have very strong opinions about the people I dated. If I had someone over that he did not approve of, the radio would spontaneously shut off. The lights. The knocking.

My old boyfriend George said, “When you leave, the house starts talking” after I had left him alone there a time or two.

He was a good judge of character, that ghost.

I took it as a positive sign that when I met J, nothing weird happened. The radio did not shut off, or the lights. The house did not start talking. It was a first.

When I moved out, I left a half burned sage smudge in a bowl in the kitchen cupboard. The thing with spirits is if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with more than you can handle. And, also, I think they are attracted to people who can handle them. I had made peace with the one little old man who just thought that was his house and had been pretty right on about the boyfriends he didn’t like, but I wasn’t having any more. I left the sage smudge with the new owners, banking on the fact that the ghost wasn’t coming with me.

And he didn’t.

And now sometimes, as crazy as it seems, I want to stop by my old house and ask the new owners how it’s going and if he’s still around. I don’t, because quite frankly they might call the police and report me as a lunatic at their door, but I’ve thought about it.

So now that you know why I believe in the afterlife, back to this book I read. Did you know, that at a subatomic level everyone and everything is connected? And cannot be disconnected? That is a proven scientific fact, right there. I find it pretty amazing, especially in the context of today’s divisiveness. You are as connected to the person with the opposite views as you as you are to your closest relative. As you are to the trees and the plants and the birds and bunnies. We like to believe we are different, smarter, funnier, taller, skinnier, nicer…but in the very essence of us, the particles that make up the atoms that make up who we are, we are linked, we are the same. And it doesn’t end with only the particles on earth.

Also, did you know that space is getting bigger? (It’s like WHOA we don’t even have a clue what there is out there) Most of space is classified as “dark masses” and “energy”. (Hint: particles)

In his book, the doctor writes about his visit to what he calls “Heaven”, while he was in coma for seven days. During this time, he was given 0% chance of living, because his brain activity was null. Lower functions only. This would have made it impossible for his experiences to be a fantasy or a dream, because to do either of those things, you need a brain that works.

His experience is similar to other people’s experiences I’ve read, there was nothing amazing about it from that perspective. The message is love, that is always the message. Unconditional love. Love everyone and all things. It’s not so much that the book was convincing, only that it confirmed what I already knew.

There is something after the nothing.

You’ll see.

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