I've never been much of a believer in the supernatural...but my late husband, Ken, definitely was. In the months before he died, just a year ago today, Ken regaled me with tales of how he would come back to haunt the dogs, and me.
The afternoon of the day he passed to the other side, the dogs escaped through a gate left ajar by the young man who mows my lawns. They dragged themselves home in little more than half an hour, looking sheepish. I thought then that Ken's spirit had scolded them and sent them home.
Not long after, Gregory Kompes, who edits the wonderful Patchwork Path anthology series, launched a new career as a psychic, and offered me a telephone consultation. He told me that Ken's spirit indeed walked around the backyard with the dogs. I wonder if that's why Natty, who was so attached to Ken, lies out there for hours, looking totally zoned out and blissful.
Just a few minutes ago I heard a repetitive thud/thud in the backyard, and went out to find both dogs hurling themselves against the one gate that sometimes gives. I put another nail into the post and rehooked the chain to ensure they stay safely inside.
Ken told me of Houdini's avowal to contact people from beyond. I don't think he succeeded. But twice this year I've found books overturned from the case next to my writing desk in the family room. The first incident, about a month after Ken's death, involved Over Tumbled Graves by Jess Walter. Ken and I met Walter when he came to the Colville library to give a talk and dined beforehand with the Colville book group. I shivered as I set the book back in place.
Then just last week I spied a second book from the same case on the floor. It was Faye Kellerman's The Forgotten. Both of us had been fans of Jonathan and Faye Kellerman's mysteries. I reflected on its title. I'm not certain I am ready yet to declare myself a believer in psychic phenomena, but this is the kind of spooky coincidence that Ken adored.
So if you're trying to send a message to me, dear spirited Spirit...I got it. Here's one for you: you're not forgotten. Not today. Not ever. Your portrait still hangs in the bedroom, and I've added the maps of ancient Briton that you never got around to displaying. I'll weed around your Asian lilies this afternoon and sprinkle them with deer repellant. Tonight I'll haul down your special ceramic cup and pour you a brandy Manhattan. I'll think of something special to commemorate you on your June 23 birthday and on what would have been our tenth anniversary on July 1.
As a postscript, yesterday I learned that the story I wrote about Natty pining for you after you left, "From Nuisance to Blessing," will appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul's Think Positive, publication set for November 2.
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