Speaking of weird things that borderline freak me out (weren’t we?), let’s talk about something that has had me wigged since the day my mother died: the idea that she might appear to me.

It’s stupid. It’s completely stupid, and I know that. But still…

A little backstory: One of the things that Mom and I used to do when I came down to California to visit over Christmas was watch the ghost hunting shows on TV. There were a couple we would watch: one we really liked and one we really liked to hate (with the guy who is JUST! SO! EXCITED!). Mom was super into the idea of ghosts and haunted places and psychics and all that. I don’t actively believe in ghosts, but I don’t actively disbelieve in them either. I leave room for the possibility of them. In any case, when we got together we liked to watch these shows and talk about these kinds of things. When we went to Boston together, in fact, we went on a couple ghost-hunting tours that were pretty bogus but still a lot of fun.

The point is: If anyone is motivated enough to appear to me from the Great Beyond, she is. Rationally, I know this isn’t going to happen, and I’ve known it from day one. Even so, the day she died, I had a terrible time falling asleep for fear that I’d open my eyes and she’d be there, looming. I’d only just let her go. Even if it was possible, I wasn’t ready to catch up again just yet. I had to sleep with a TV show on my tablet just to give the room more light. I finally had to feed myself some weird nonsense logic like, You know, if she has the power to appear to you, she has the power to know you aren’t ready for that shit, and she won’t do it.

On the other side of the coin, though, is something really unpleasant. Something that is absolutely a result of the horrible things I saw her go through in her final days in the hospital: I go to open a door, and before I do, my mind shows me her on the other side, but she’s mangled. Her face is twisted with death and blood, her eyes are cloudy, her body is hunched and crumpled, and it’s horrible, horrible, horrible. If I need something from her room at night, I first debate how badly I need it. Can it wait until morning?

Once I manage to assure myself that some American Horror Story version of my mom is not on the other side of the door, the next worst thing comes to mind: what she actually looked like each of the three times I saw her really look like a corpse. (Spoilers: She was only actually dead on two of those occasions.) All three terrible, and all three seared into my brain forever, they play through one by one just as soon as I clear out the zombie imagery.

I don’t know how long this will last. I’m looking forward to remembering the awesome times we spent together instead of the shitty hospital times. I know it’s coming, because it came eventually after my father died. My memories of him are now primarily his laugh, his joyful spirit, and the way he would clap and say, “Auty-graph, auty-graph, we want your auty-graph!” anytime I did something awesome.

After he died, I prayed and prayed that he would appear to me, but he never did come.

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