When my Mother died in 2002, it was one of those times that still needs sorting out in my mind. She had COPD and had never recovered from a long ago surgery, but never did I expect that the day we took her to the hospital would be her last.
Frances Elizabeth had been ill for years. She was good at being ill. Poor dear, it gave her the attention that she craved so much and never seemed to be able to command any other way. It was when in 1967 she accidentally poisoned herself with bug killer rose dust and again in 1987 when she had her gall bladder removed but the surgeon didn't complete the surgery and she became septic that she must have realized that her fractured family would come together for her at these times of near death.
Just to be truthful to you the reader, she also threatened suicide at least three times a year, every year since I was in high school. She played around with death for almost half her life, but I am sure it took her by surprise when it arrived on that January evening. I know it took me by surprise.
By the time we reached the hospital (hospice) she was gone. They had turned up the heat in her room so that she would not be cold when my Dad arrived. But, indeed Frances Elizabeth had left the building.
Thing is, I could have bet money that she would scoot her way back home again. The reason I know that is because of how she felt about her house. She gave her kids the notion that things were more important than us. It was a life dream for her to have designed and built her own house. And her dream was still here, therefore so would she be.
Sweet Man and I moved in with my Dad in September of '02 after he tried to burn down the house and knock himself out in the process. I was still taking care of GK during the day, so she was here with me most of the daylight hours. And GK took to sitting in front of Grandmother clock in the hallway which was a treasured present to my Mother, one of the only things that she truly enjoyed besides her diamond ring. I remember once when my nephews were running through the house when they were little and slamming into the clock...Frances had never even fussed at them but I thought she would kill them before they could get away from her. "How dare they touch her clock?"
So GK, just a little over 2, and my Mom, not 8 months dead, struck up a talking friendship everyday in the hallway. The clock had stopped working several years before and couldn't be fixed, but it was ticking away now. It was interesting to sit in an adjacent room and hear GK answering questions posed by FE. That's how I absolutely know, it was my Mother. She was a questioner for sure and there was no way GK at 2 could have known that.
During this time, I would be awakened from a deep sleep by FE shaking me and I heard her say, "hurry up, we have chores to do" at least once if not two times a night. I resented that awakening tactic when she was alive, and dead didn't make it any better. She also made her presence know in the kitchen by moving things and messing with the preparation of food. But the worst time was when I was sorting through her things to give away, oh my stars....she put up such a fuss by re-hiding things and putting obstacles in the way of moving boxes. Sweet Man literally would push the boxes out to the garage because in carrying them, he couldn't see what might have been put in his way.
I tried clearing her house but it was still that, her house and my heart wasn't ready to let her go even if we hadn't had the best relationship. At least in death she was close to me. There was a strange comfort in that.
That is until GK told me that Grammy had asked if she could just rest now. I realized that I was the one holding her here. That, and the things she loved. So I gave the clock to my sister, had someone else help me clear the house and let my mother go where she needed to be released.
In line with her southern belle-ness, she did indeed make a grand exit but not before she appeared to SM and I. It was the night before the clearing, she floated into our bedroom and just hovered over the end our bed. I honestly felt so calm and peaceful for the first time in a long time. We had made our peace and she was letting me know that she was on her way to her next adventure.
Frances Elizabeth had a hard life, didn't cut herself or anyone else a break, held our feet to the fire and expected her view of perfection, but she loved us (me) and made a very memorial exit stage left.
So there you have a ghost story...but only one of many yet to told here at Olde Baggs. Happy Hallowoonie, day 2