Coming Back to Life…Part Way

Thanks to everyone who wished me well following my fall from grace. I am now recovered enough to sit in front of this screen for short periods, though I’m still using the ‘sick’ bed the Baron set up for me in the laundry room since it means fewer steps to the computer, the kitchen and the bathroom.

Back in the old days, one could make meaning out of pain by “offering it up for the souls in Purgatory.” Now that Purgatory has been dispensed with, one must simply endure it and that makes the whole thing more impersonal and therefore harder. Sometimes I do miss “the power of the fire and the beads” of my childhood faith. Fortunately, movies like Sixth Sense come along sometimes and I get to indulge my intuition that there must be some interval of wandering after death.

The Baron’s grandmother died suddenly of a heart attack. She was at the dinner table and simply keeled over. Grandma Belle was a rather forbidding figure to the young Baron; she had great moral authority in the family and was one of those old-fashioned southern matriarchs. Did only southern women get named “Belle”? I never heard the name while I lived up north but it’s not uncommon here, especially for women of her generation.

After Grandma Belle died, Grandpop eventually remarried. His new wife was a widow also and it was understood that when Grandpop died she would remain living in the house until her death. Which is what happened; after she died the house then reverted to the Baron’s family and his aunt and uncle eventually retired there. Family members go to Grandpop’s to visit sometimes.

On several occasions there have been disturbing experiences.

The first one I heard of was from Shelagh, many years ago. She came out of the bedroom to which she had been assigned during our visit and told me she wasn’t going to sleep in that room. There was a woman in there who didn’t want her in the place. Poor Shelagh had more experiences with the thin places in life than she ever wanted.

The second incident happened with the Baron’s niece. She, too, felt the presence of a woman who was unhappy. Nicki, always more practical, airily dismissed her night visitor.

The third occurrence was with the Baron himself. He woke one night to ‘see’ Grandma Belle at the foot of the bed. She seemed her old forbidding self and was agitatedly folding laundry. Gradually the apparition faded and the Baron went back to sleep.

Shoot. All the times I’ve slept there and she never visited me. I have an idea it’s because we’re so much alike. I know that in the afterlife I shall be forced to fold all the laundry I’ve let moulder in the basket in my time, having to return it to the dryer again to remove the wrinkles caused by sitting so long. Either that, or I’ll scare the bejayzus out of someone sneaking into the kitchen for a midnight snack because there my ghostly remains will be, distractedly cleaning out the refrigerator. I don’t think the Powers That Be will accept my excuse, which is that I believe there is a Laundry Fairy. What happens is that if you leave the darn pile sitting there long enough, she’ll show up and take care of it for you — including putting all of the clothing away. The fact that no one has ever shown up to do this little chore doesn’t shake my underlying hope that she’s merely been delayed and will arrive any day now.

At any rate, thanks to all of you for your thoughtful notes. It’s comforting to be remembered.

11 thoughts on “Coming Back to Life…Part Way

  1. That is very funny. I worry about my soul in the afterlife, too. Except rather than laundry, I know that I’ll be endlessly changing diapers.

    I have no doubt there is something more, though. Too many experiences that were just odd… Like the New Hampshire house we lived in that was 200 years old, where the TV would turn on and off by itself, and where things would go missing for no reason…

    And then when hubby came under intense fire in Iraq, I actually woke in a panic attack from a sound sleep, scared to death and unable to move. When it receded I wrote everything down and we found the time/date corresponded exactly to when his convoy had been stalled and under attack in downtown Baghdad.

    I’ve never had a panic attack before or since.

    I just hope I don’t get stuck with laundry or diaper duty in the end (could that be my purgatory???)

  2. Wonderful to see you (halfway) back, D.

    I suspect that God keeps up with the times, however, and purgatory will have little in the way of laundry, and more than its share of the torment of maintaining a schedule of posting daily.

  3. airforcewife–

    The non-local connection with your husband’s situation is, to me, proof positive that we live embedded in mysteries we cannot begin to fathom.

    For some reason, I’ll take diaper changing over laundry. You can’t rub the tummy of laundry or make it laugh. Of course my diaper days are long gone so it’s easy enough to forget the accompanying fragrances…or having some baby boy pee in your eye…

  4. Glad you are able to post again, Dymphna.

    I have no ghost stories of my own, except an experience of a heaviness on my chest, and growing fear because of it, as I prayed the rosary, and came back into my Christian faith, one evening long ago. Perhaps something evil lost a battle that night.

    I have proximity to a ghost experience, though. My sister and I were driving across country in a red Ford Fiesta, and pulled in late to a camp ground for the night. In the morning my sister asked me what I thought about all the men screaming and yelling and blasting in the forest during the night. I had been asleep (uncomfortably, it was a Fiesta) and had not awoken. I believe it was a KOA in Pennsylvania but it was definitely the site of a civil war battle, which we found out about later.

    I don’t quite know what to make of such experiences, to be honest.

    Purgatory is an interesting concept; I haven’t discarded it. And I have had a guided tour and a taste of hell, here on earth. Maybe I’ve progressed to Purgatory now.

  5. Dymphna

    Welcome back to the living.

    I really do not like climbing on ladders and such. Being a natural born klutz there are to many ways to go astray on those things.

    No ghost stories though. I take hope in Purgatory being a promise that He will finish the work He began.

  6. Welcome back. I have only recently become a big fan of your site. I really appreciate the historical perspective you bring to current issues. Running clean clothes back through the dryer to de-wrinkle them is an almost daily experiece for me But I have an excuse (kind of) being a single male.

  7. Welcome back. I have only recently become a big fan of your site. I really appreciate the historical perspective you bring to current issues. Running clean clothes back through the dryer to de-wrinkle them is an almost daily experiece for me But I have an excuse (kind of) being a single male.

  8. Dymphna, methinks you may have whacked the noggin in the fall… hurry, and get all the way back!

    How about a cot and computer set up in the bathroom?

  9. Dymphna,

    Glad you are doing better. I have a number of experiences that indicate both communications that shouldn’t exist and the existence of a soul that survives death. There is much unaccounted for in our current state of knowledge, but not all of it is amenable to the usual controlled experiments.

  10. Sorry, I forgot to mention in previous comment… condolences and prayers to the Baron’s family.

    Also, Dymphyna, I figured you’d like to hear this:

    Here I was, five steps up on a six step ladder, leaning against the wall, brush in one hand, paint can in the other…

    and I lost my balance!

    Believe it or not, the incident with the evil fig tree flashed through my mind.

    And a few other things.

    But I didn’t take a fall. Instead, I jumped. Hard landing, I really felt the jolt. But, even though the paint sloshed clear to the top of the can, I didn’t spill a drop!

    I am certainly thankful that I wasn’t painting a fig tree! 🙂

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