I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I have a ghost or two.
Two actually. Well none at the moment, but I did at one point. I had my very own ghost. Really. No, I'm not crazy.
It all started with my sister Joyce. In a prior post, I wrote of my much-loved sister who passed away several years ago from Ovarian Cancer. Before she left us we had a conversation that would change my life forever. If you want to know what those words were, take a gander at the post before this one entitled "Pushing Past the Fear". But today I want to tell you about another piece of that conversation. A ghostly part.
I curled up in bed with my big sister in what would be our final conversation she said to me "I'm going to haunt you, you know." I said, "You are, are you?" "Yup! If I'm allowed to, I'm going to come back and haunt you." I paused letting her comment soak in. I smiled at her. "OK, sis. You give it your best shot." "I will!" she said. I never gave it another thought. That is until...She did. I should have known she would. Silly me.
My sister began haunting me the night she passed away. It started that evening when the DVD player turned on by itself, scaring my daughter half to death. There were incidences where lights came on by themselves. Things went missing that would show up inexplicably on a shelf in plain view two years later. Make-up would go missing. Always the make-up. My mascara. My eyelash curler. My foundation. She liked mucking about with my makeup for some reason. At first, it was all in the basement. Then it happened in the hallway of our home. All the time. My husband thought I was loony, but after a couple of years, he couldn't explain things away anymore. When something of his would go missing he would say "Tell your sister to give me back my stuff." She became part of our routine.
I remember one time I had been cleaning the files off of an old Toshiba laptop that I was going to give my daughter. I had painstakingly removed all the files I could find on it. I set the laptop on the kidney-shaped desk in the hallway and turned it off. I went about my business. I was in another room close by when I sensed that the computer was on. I looked over and sure enough, it had turned on by itself. But even more than that. It had turned on and was showing a picture of my sister Joyce. There she was staring at me in her red-headed glory. I damned near screamed. That one scared me. Scared me a lot. I told her to stop it. Missing mascara tubes were one thing. Pictures of my dead sister were another.
I remember the opening night of the Eva Cassidy show in 2013. I was very nervous of course. The Eva Cassidy show was a big deal for me and a huge leap of faith on my part. Terrified I was going to fall on my face. Terrified everyone was going to hate it. I was ... plain old terrified. I was sitting in my dressing room doing my hair as best as I could. About to put on my make-up. I keep my make-up in one of those three-tiered makeup kits. Before the evening, I went through my makeup kit with loving care. Cleaning brushes and to ensure that everything was there and it was all lovely and organized. There I am in the dressing room nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I go to grab my foundation. It's not there. I tell myself, you're nervous. You're looking but not seeing Cayla. Go through each tier and touch each item. You'll find it. Now breathe. I looked. Tier by tier. Touching each item in each tier. Still no foundation. I let out a tense sigh. My dear friend Sasha was keeping me company while I got ready so I asked her in an albeit panicked voice. "I can't find my foundation, Sasha. Would you take a look?" She did. "It's not here Cayla." What? I know I packed it. I can't go on stage without my foundation on! What am I going to do? Real panic sets in and takes its hold. Sasha, dear friend that she is, borrowed some foundation from a chorus member. Phew! Saved. I put it on and went to grab my blush. What do you think was sitting on the top-tier of my makeup kit? The top-tier! Yes. You guessed it. My foundation. Right there in plain sight. I stared at it. I showed Sasha. She said "That was not there. There is no way that was sitting there when I looked!" I had long since stopped getting scared at these happenings. It was my norm. This was the first time something had happened outside of my home though. I looked at my foundation and felt a little calmer.
Thanks, sis. You're letting me know you're here with me. Thank-you. I love you too.
I'll let you in on another little secret. At the end of the Eva Cassidy show, I make the gesture of a toast while standing in the spotlight. To the audience, it looks as though I am toasting Eva Cassidy, and in part I am. But even more so, I am toasting my sister Joyce (and now both of my sisters) as if to say "I'm trying. I moved past the fear. I'm doing what you wanted me to do. I hope you're proud."
My sister Joyce 'haunted' me for some years until I got my act together and then she left unannounced as she came. Her job complete I guess. I was fine and following my dreams. My goals in place. Life was good. Then my other sister got Ovarian Cancer. God, I hate that disease.
My sister Sheila was one of my biggest fans. She came to every performance that she could. She saw the Eva Cassidy show 15 times if not more. She had come to every gig that I performed in the lower mainland. Every play I did ... several times. Everything. She did the artwork for my posters. She donated paintings for my fundraisers. She cheered me on from the sidelines. She picked me up when I was down. Encouraged me when I felt lost. We talked on the phone almost daily. Texts for sure. We had the same sense of humour. We agreed on politics. When I grew up I wanted to be like my sister Sheila. I adored her.
She came to my concert Christmas 2015. It was on a Thursday evening. She looked tired. But there she was. Like always. Cheering me on. She had trouble taking the stairs so I went to her after the show and gave her a hug. She said "I'm tired sis. I'm gonna go straight home." We hugged. Told each other I love you and she went home. I would never see her again. That was Thursday. She was gone early Monday morning.
I wanted to feel her after she passed away. There was a desperation to it. To sense her around me like I did Joyce. Nothing. Nothing but emptiness. She was gone. Her death had been sudden. A stroke. I didn't get a chance to say good-bye. I mourned her. My beautiful sister was gone and she wasn't haunting me. I wanted her to haunt me. I wanted her near me. Where are you? Nothing.
About a month later I was laying on the couch watching Scandal on Netflix. My phone was laying on my lap as my daughter and I had been texting each other as moms and daughters do. My phone lit up. I thought it was another text from my daughter. It wasn't. Oh, my phone was on and open to a text. Not a text from my daughter. It was open to the final text I received from my sister, the day before she passed away. It said ... "I'm ba-a-a-ck!" You have to understand I have to use a thumbprint scan to unlock my phone. Then to get to texts I have to click on the texting icon. To get to my sister's text I would then have had to scroll down to find it. Which was way down there as she had been gone for a month or so, and click on that. My phone was laying on my leg! "I'm ba-a-a-ck!" Lord have mercy. That one made my heart thump.
My final episode came in February of last year. The day before my surgery to have my ovaries removed. Something I had promised both sisters I would do. I woke in the morning after a restless sleep the night before. I picked up my phone. I glanced at my pedometer. It said I had taken 33,263 steps already that day. I'm sorry. What? How the hell did that happen? It's 6 am! My phone was sitting on my nightstand all night. 33,263 steps. I took a screenshot of it because I couldn't believe it. If you look at it you'll see that the steps all happened between 12 and 6 am, while I was sleeping. My phone could have malfunctioned. But it never did before and it hasn't since. It chose to malfunction the day I was going to have my ovaries removed. I sent the screenshot to my daughter. She said something lovely.
"Auntie Joyce and Sheila are letting you know they're walking through this with you."
I liked that. It worked for me. Thank you, my beautiful sisters. I love you.
I haven't had any more occurrences since that day. Except for the bathtub plug. That one made my husband yelp. But you've heard enough of my strange ghost stories. Now the sane readers may think I have an active imagination ... which I do. Or there is a simple explanation for everything that happened. I'm getting old. I'm getting forgetful. I walk in my sleep... a lot. Or I had a need to talk to my sister(s) so I created the situation myself. That's fine. I think having a ghost is way more fun.
I hope now that I've released my album, they are looking down on me with pride. "We love you." Thank you, my sisters. I love you too.
Plush Red Chair is out and there for you to purchase - make my sisters happy and sign up for a FREE DOWNLOAD of one of the songs. Thanks. Feel free to comment or say Hi on Facebook - There are lots going on and I'd love to hear from you.