Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Scents and Spirits of the Past

As the sun turns north and autumn breeds new iridescent shades of orange, red and yellow, I can’t help but to submit myself to the strange power that this season has over me.  Maybe it is because my birthday is just six days before Halloween or that I admire the feelings I get from all things being ghostly. 
There is also a sentiment of warmth and coiled remembrances that succumb from the light of my candles; reflections from the smells as they flutter off into the pristine, crisp air.  Sundry colors of fall dancing from the trees into my window and then blending into the embraces of tiny flickering lights.  Colors are all around me, giving me a new hope as I embellish in my recollections and what seems to be a rollercoaster of tides that always comes with such thoughts.
Speaking of all things ghostly, I’ve experienced two beautifully strange moments this week which have embarked on my most treasured memories.  The first apparition was five days ago.  As my head tried to sink deep within the goose feathers of my pillow, a rush of our late father’s scent came colliding into my nose like a wave of a thousand white deer rushing up against the most welcoming shores.  As I continued to embrace Daddy C’s smell, I opened my eyes but there was no one there.  Instead, shadows moved against the walls, dancing around me while mocking my search for that one lost moment I could have with him.

Everyone referred to my father as Daddy C, even my most beloved friends and family members.  He owned that name, just as any prince or king would testify to their royal titles.  Not only did it stand for the CARING of our family and the unforgettable CHARISMA and CHARACTER he possessed, but it also stood for the COURAGE it took him to become sober and CLEAN during final years of his short-lived life. 
The smell only lingered around my pillow for ten seconds and then vanished.  I even sat up and got out of my bed to nosey around the room but he was gone.  There were two things that Daddy C had always manifested through:  a distinct and captivating smell as well as a loud and unforgettable voice.  I searched my whole room and even went to the kitchen for a glass of milk but he was nowhere to be found.

I took this as a sign that he might be hovering around, watching me as I stumble upon the right words to bring about his story and what his presence meant to my sister, mother and me.  My sibling was, undoubtedly, his biological daughter.  I, on the other hand, found out that I had a different dad at the age of 14.  You can only imagine how devastated we were when we discovered this tragic news only because I had grown to love and respect the one father who ever truly loved my sisters and me; unconditionally.  Daddy C was always showing us off to his friends and family and bugging us to spend as much time as we possibly could with him.  I even believe to this day that if he were still alive, he'd have a separate shelf build into his fruit stand so my books would be on display for purchase.  Because that was the type of man he was; proud and adoring of his little girls. 

Unfortunately, he was murdered before I had the valor to tell him the truth.  For some time, I was so angry with myself for not ever telling him.  After my biological father left when I was 17, I was even more hurt during my years at college but I didn't even know how to confront the pain I felt.  Nor did I even recognize the delicate feelings I had erupting inside of my heart.  Instead, I got lost and masked them away with drugs and alcohol.  Everyone always told me I handled grief and abandonment well.  There was one person who knew this part of me but my demons destroyed our chances of ever having a happy and well-balanced life together.  He was with me from college up until alcohol finally won the battle against our chances of survival three years ago. 
Could my dad be trying to tell me something now that I’ve been writing about our family?  Was he sitting here, next to me, each day as my fingers tapped away at the keyboard?  Did he want me to know that I was going to be okay now and he was always watching me?  There were a few instances that I truly believed I was saved by an angel; once when I overdosed on a trip in California and the other when I crashed my car after a night of partying my senior year of high school.  Both instances within two years after Daddy C's death.

To confirm whether or not these haunted accusations were true, what seemed to be a ghostly visit earlier in the week happened again two nights ago.  As my dad’s smell crept through the crevices and cracks of the floors up to my nostrils, I opened my eyes and lifted my head as quickly as I could.  This time, when I rose up from my bed, I saw a large shadow leaning against our television stand (about eight feet away from us). 
As I stumbled out of the bed, the shadow slowly disintegrated back into the cold, brisk air.  Daddy C’s irreplaceable scent and presence came rushing over my head like an unforgettable eclipse of emotions, only to happen for a mere moment, then ultimately lost and landing in some other time.  A time when Daddy C was still here; his life no longer stricken away by the hands of some ungodly entity who still has yet to surface.
My best friend of twenty eight years called me last night.  Her mother passed away in August from cancer.  The loss of her mom has been quite tragic as they were almost inseparable.  My friend was her mother’s caretaker towards the end stages of her illness.  Since her death is still dwelling heavy in her mind and circling around her heart, my friend has been going through an extremely rough time.  Especially since they both shared a special bond and appeal for the autumn months. 

My best friend’s phone call validated my two experiences this week.  She confided in me that she, too, had a scent rush over her the other night.  It was the smell of her mother and it only consumed her for ten seconds.  Was this a coincidence or a validation that our late family members are lingering around, trying to tell us something?
I couldn’t believe it when my friend delivered this incredible news.  Like her, I believe testimonials such as these help to lift the things which weigh heavy within our hearts and most sacred memories.  I had never experienced Daddy C’s spirit until this past week and he died 15 years ago.  Was it because I’ve been writing about his untimely death and how it has affected our family and still does to this day?  Is my father trying to tell me something?

I told my mother about everything this morning and she too said she felt a presence as she was getting out of bed.  I couldn’t believe it!  She said that she felt someone tugging or pulling at her foot.  I asked her if she was sure and she sternly said, “Yes!”  As if I didn’t believe her; of course I did!
What does this all mean?  Are these apparitions happening because we like to lavish away in the freedoms and freshness that come with open windows, long lasting candles, and ghostly shadows against the days of September and October?

Do you believe in ghosts?  If so, I'd love to hear about some of your experiences.