I told you I had stories for you…..and I like to keep my promises….so here you go..
When I was in grade 7 I began working on weekends at the funeral home to help my Dad out. I cleaned, answered the phones, set up flowers and greeted families until Dad arrived to take over. Then in grade nine, I started working after 4 pm (when I was done school) until close (11 pm). This is the time when the family and friends of the deceased came to the funeral home for the celebration of life. My job was to set up flowers, answer phones, write up mass cards (my parents owned a Catholic funeral home) and clean up at the end of the night. This was the tricky part.
At the end of the visitation period, all of the family and friends of the deceased go home. The funeral home is empty except me (technically). But when you can see and speak to dead people this is the time in the evening when it’s busy.
Sometimes the deceased would leave me alone and let me get my work done with no need to interrupt me.
All of the other times, they tried to engage with me and here’s how.
Some would wait until I went upstairs to the lounges to clean the tables and vacuum the carpets. Then they would sit in the chairs around the tables and talk amongst themselves or just sit quietly and watch me. That was totally fine with me. Often as I climbed the stairs to the lounge area, I would look to see where they were. I didn’t interfere in their conversations but often just listened to them. I learned a lot from them, keeping these learnings close to my heart.
When I vacuumed the visitation rooms at the end of the evening the deceased in the casket would appear to be sitting up. Sometimes they talked to me and at other times they just appeared to sit and remained quiet, watchful of me.
When I was done vacuuming the room I had to go to the front to the casket and blow out two candles that flanked the sides of the casket. I hated doing this so much. I would muster up my courage (remember I was fourteen to twenty years old doing this), walk briskly to the front, ignoring the person in the casket who is sitting up (in spirit form and talking to me) and blow them out and then turn around and run out of the room as quick as I could.
I recall quite vividly telling my dad that I could see them breathing. I would stare at the dead person’s chest and watch them breathe. I could see them walk around their casket and move around the funeral home with great ease and peace. I sure didn’t feel any ease or peace. When I told my Dad what I saw and heard, he would kindly and patiently explain to me that they were dead and in heaven. This was so confusing for me because I could see that they were present in body and spirit. I remember telling him that and he took me down to the embalming room to show me the machines that removed blood from the body and replaced it with embalming fluid. He explained to me in as much detail as he thought I would be able to understand at my age. I’m sure he was trying to allay my fears. But the dead people were walking around the embalming room as my dad told me all of this.
It still made no sense to me at all.
I could see them, hear them, talk to them, and have conversations with them. They were right here. Why did he believe they weren’t? It was so obvious to me someone was not telling my dad the truth.
And all he could say was they were in a better place….heaven. Then why were they here? Why could I see them in spirit and hear them talk, laugh, sing? Why could I play with them, have a full conversation with them?
But at fourteen you just listen. You don’t argue with your dad. You do what you are told. You are a good girl. You are a good Catholic girl. You shut up.
No one is listening anyway.
So I had nightmares almost every night. Always about the funeral home and dead people talking to me…the same as my reality.
Religion certainly had no answers. It only offered me more confusion. When I asked the dead people why they weren’t in heaven, they told me it didn’t exist the way I was told. I asked a lot of questions and none of their answers backed up what I was taught in my home, school or church. So my difficult situation seemed to get worse. More confusion.
My mom slept with me many, many nights, as did my sister, Allyson. While there was comfort in the wakeful moments from them, there was no comfort to be found in my dreams. My mom listened to my dreams about dead people and always tried to help me figure out how to wake myself up. She did a fantastic job. I learned through the past 5 decades many successful ways to manipulate, control, change and work through dreams because of her guidance and suggestions. And today I teach and help many children and adults to do the same.
One day my Dad had had enough of my complaining about the deceased talking to me and took me to see a psychiatrist. My mom never knew about this incident. When I told the doctor about seeing, speaking to and hearing the deceased, he gave me two options: stop talking about it immediately and I could home with my Dad or he would admit me to the North Bay Psychiatric Hospital.
I stopped talking about it for decades.
The nightmares continued for decades.
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