Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Bedroom

The following post has been kindly written by a guest blogger who wishes to remain anonymous. His experience took place not far from my childhood home.

My birth home is located in a port town on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. To be fair, in my sixty plus years, it has never been known publicly as a hot spot for paranormal activity. In fact the only paranormal activity I know of is personal and centered in a downstairs bedroom of my childhood home.

The original house was built in the early 1900’s. A concrete well cover bears the date 1921. An extension was added following World War two. This allowed two extra bedrooms including the one in question. One might jump to the conclusion that a grave may have been disturbed as family plots on private property were common in those days. This not the case here as there is only about eighteen inches of gravel on top of cliff rock where the foundation is.

In the winter of 1963, I was a boy of seven years. I lived in the upstairs apartment with my parents and brothers. It was a typical family scenario of the day with my hard working Dad providing for a growing family with a stay at home Mom. We were typical boys going to school and doing what young boys do best. Mayhem often reined but there were also strict rules because my Father’s mother lived downstairs. That winter something was to happen that followed me and others for years to come.

“Nanny” was a respected school teacher and icon of our local church. A very capable woman in so many ways. Just before my father was born, she lost her husband to a visiting ship borne outbreak of influenza. She found herself working and raising three children by herself in the early 1930’s. She was a very proud woman and refused any welfare or hand-outs. She did everything she could to provide. This included all of the physical labour on the property she herself grew up on. A large tract of land that had two large gardens, an orchard, a very long driveway and lawn. Boy was there lawn. I can attest as I spent many hours behind a power mower cutting it, she used a push reel mower.

She was a well-built woman, not that tall but stocky with a full figure and muscles that belied a lifetime of hard work. As kids we use to get her to make a muscle with her biceps because hers were bigger than Dad’s. Built on top of her physical strength was a pillar of faith. A devote Christian woman that believed as strong as any person I have ever known.

She sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and served on the church council. She was a person not to be challenged on her faith and not much else either. She was very no nonsense but at the same time had a very nurturing and caring side as well. She made sure we always had a wealth of books and activities to keep us occupied. All of our bikes and tricycles were given to us by her as Christmas presents as Dad just didn’t have the money. She also schooled us on her faith at every opportunity.

I paint this picture of my grandmother to help understand what happen that winter and for years to come. I think of that one particular day often. It has affected me greatly in my life’s course. I gave up believing in religion because of it. Instead I started believing in something else. The true core of what makes us humans and individuals.

Early in 1962, Nanny started having health problems. She was stubborn and delayed seeking help as one often does. She was diagnosed with bowel cancer and was then on a voyage to the end of her life. Back then the course was much the same as today. Surgery, chemo, radiation. She ran the whole gambit. I can remember her and my mother joking about her coal black wig they gave her when her hair fell out. She never complained and always declared she was in God’s hands.

Before the Christmas of ’62, her cancer was back and taking a huge toll. Still she dragged herself through all of her usual seasonal traditions. Once it was over she went back into hospital. She was not there long and returned to her home to die. Her bedroom was to be her last place on earth. It was not long after that we were forbidden to even go downstairs to visit her.

Her once robust frame was reduced to a shrunken shadow of the woman she used to be. My Father use to lament about how she was nothing but skin and bones when she passed. This always puzzled me as that young boy because it was not the same woman I saw the day before she died. In fact I still question to this day what it was I did see.

It was a typical winter’s day when we got home for school for dinner. Dad was not home yet and Mom was getting dinner on the table and acting as referee to my two younger brothers who were fighting. It had been months since we saw Nanny. I looked at my other brother and he looked at me. Next thing we were sneaking downstairs and entering her bedroom.
We crawled on our hands and knees. I stopped at the foot of the bed keeping my head down. My brother when right up beside her and started to speak. “Gee you look good Nanny. Are you getting better?” he said. I looked up not quite prepared for what met my eyes.

For there was my grandmother, propped up on pillows with her still well-muscled arms by her side. Her full face and hair were glorious with what seemed a glowing aura around her. I could not remember seeing her looking any better as was immediately puzzled as to why we were not allowed to see her. She was smiling and very much at peace.

She reached over and took my brother’s hand. She replied “I will be much better very soon. Now you better go before you get into trouble.” My brother and I snuck back upstairs unnoticed and never spoke of what we did for fear of punishment. The next day, as I came home for dinner, I met my visibly shaken Uncle on the back steps. “She’s gone.” was all he said as he swept by me.

The story does not end there.

Fast forward to 1975. I had just met a girl from out of town and we started dating. On the day I took her to my home for the first time, I naturally showed her around the place. My Grandmother’s bedroom had been transformed into a music studio complete with instruments stands, amps, speakers, and the whole nine yards. She took one step across the threshold and immediately jumped back with a startled cry.

“What’s wrong?” I said. “I can’t go in there, somebody died in that room”. She was much shaken and required consoling. All the time she was in that house after that, she never went into that room again. In our years together after that she showed other signs of heightened sensitivity but that’s another story. We went our separate ways years later.
Again going forward to 2007, my present wife stayed at what was now my Father’s home. My Grandmother’s room had been switched back into a bedroom and it was the first time for her to sleep there. She described to me being awaken in the middle of the night by someone in the room. In the light from the street light outside she could see a woman standing at the foot of her bed looking at her with a peaceful smile on her face. She described the woman to me. It matched exactly my Grandmother. I had never told her of my Nan or what happened in that room……………..

As I said earlier, I have no faith in religion. What I do believe is that there is a life force in us that makes us the individuals we all are. Set free by death, it reveals itself from time to time. Is there a God? Do we have souls? After I saw my Nan laying there on the bed, I grew older constantly questioning my “faith”.

There were other things that happened to me. I seemed to be receptive to certain happenings which were at first troubling and strange. Today, much older and wiser, I look at this objectively and accept that there must be something other than out physical bodies that make us who we are and probably will be after we die.


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