My Aunt Kathleen died in a traffic accident during a winter storm in February of 1989. She was only 18 years old. Kathleen was on her way home from her first-ever job at a McDonalds where she was notorious for flirting with police officers through the drive-through window and sneaking extra food to her friends in their orders. Her death was one that shook the small upstate village she grew up into the core.
"-her memory still lingers."
This February it will be 31 years since she passed and her memory still lingers. To this day people, she knew in high school will post memories of her on Facebook, tagging my mom and her siblings. They all talk about her bubbly personality and how she would talk to everyone without caring what others might think and what a great cheerleader she was. But she had much more than just “Team Spirit.” She had a KIND and LOVING spirit that was seldom matched by her peers. She had the type of kindness that knew no bounds. The type of kindness that has left an impact long after she has gone. Her unique kindness and positive energy are what we should all aspire to reflect and shine in our own lives!
"I was around 4 years old when I saw my Aunt Kathleen’s Spirit for the first time".
I was around 4 years old when I saw my Aunt Kathleen’s Spirit for the first time.
Before then, Kathleen was the Aunt I never got the chance to meet.
To be loved by.
And, I am told, would have been utterly spoiled by!
Anyway, I was playing in my grandparents home in the hallway outside where her old bedroom. She manifested for me in a ray of white light that shimmered down in what looked like glowing embers.
“Hello Dear,” she said as soon as she knew I could see her. “Bring me to your Mommy and Grandma,” she said. My little heart fluttered and my mind was enamored with her beauty. I remember being filled with excitement being able to share my Aunt with her family! I marched to the kitchen where my mother and grandmother sat drinking coffee together, solving the world’s problems like good Italian women do. As I entered the kitchen I announced as loudly as I could, “Here she is!” I gestured towards the entryway as Kathleen glided into the room, naturally assuming that they would be as excited to “see” Kathleen as I was. It will come as no surprise to you, I’m sure that they did not share the same crystal clear vision of Kathleen that I had. Recalling this occasion, my mother remembers sharing unsure glances with my grandmother, not knowing how to properly respond to the small child that was obviously seeing something/someone. For years after I would share details about Kathleen I would not or should not have known as I was only a child. Details like skinny dipping in the backyard pool and the football games that Kathleen cheered at. Memories she gifted me within the hopes that I could somehow pass them along to validate her presence. A way of reaching out.
"I remember feeling a certain level of confusion about death".
As I grew up, I remember feeling a certain level of confusion about death. Admittedly, a rather heady topic for someone so young. Not the usual conversation piece one comes up with when playing Barbie with friends. I remember how I would continually ask Grandma, “What does a dead person look like?” I always got a very polite and child-safe answer like, “It looks like you are sleeping”. I knew there was more to death than that so I eventually asked my grandfather. I knew that Grandpa would tell me the truth or at least not sugarcoat it as much. We had a very special connection, he and I. One afternoon when he was reading the paper I sat on the couch next to his chair and asked, “What do you think Aunt Kathleen looks like being dead?” He looked at me for a moment with an inquisitive eye. Finally, he said, “Well I imagine her skin is dry and her nails are long. Her hair is all frizzed now and her clothes are stained.” That was about as graphic he was willing to be given my age but he gets bonus points for being realistic and honest. I was confused because Kathleen kept telling me that she was dead but I was not seeing the more graphic image that my grandfather had provided compared to my grandmother’s. Rather, I had been seeing a beautiful young woman! I grew to understand from my experiences with Kathleen’s spirit as well as other spirits that what I saw oftentimes was not the same as everyone else.
Why couldn’t they just see what I saw?
Am I different?!
Am I doing something wrong?
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