A Brief Visit From A Loved One
GOOSEBUMPS, SONNY AND CHER, AND A LIGHT
In a large, single story house built by his father, an 11 year old boy sits on the top of his bunk bed in his bedroom. Actually, it could hardly be considered a bedroom. It was just a small room his dad once used as an office of sorts, maybe 8 feet by 15 feet—not much bigger than a prison cell—with four walls and one small window that barely allowed the setting sunlight in when the clouds were kind enough to permit it. But Jim didn’t mind. In fact, he enjoyed the cozy atmosphere of it. As an only child, he preferred small quarters, and sometimes thought of the room as his fort.
Besides, there was another unoccupied, much larger real bedroom he could use, which he sometimes did.
It was February of 1977. Jim’s not sure of the exact date or day of the week, but he remembers it was February, even though time was a little fuzzy for him. Days, weeks, and months seemed to blur into one another, and he was an emotional mess after his mother suddenly died six months earlier. And to add to that, the school district had been rezoned and he was now attending a school where he didn’t know anybody; most of his friends and classmates were still going to North Star Elementary. So with the loss of his mother and school chums, he felt more alone than ever.
For those who are reading this, you might think Jim is asking for pity here. “Oh, wah wah wah. Woe is me. Cry me a river.” But that’s not the case at all. Jim is just saying how it was, and he truly did feel alone at that time.
Anyway, Jim was sitting on the top bunk one evening in his fort, a.k.a bedroom, watching a 12 inch black and white TV. His dad was cool enough to mount it on a shelf high up on the wall so he could see it from his elevated position, and there was only about a foot between the top of the TV and the ceiling. The 70s were a strange time for TV shows (and everything else!). Variety/Comedy shows seemed to be the big rage back then. There was Laugh-In, The Captain & Tennille Show (which didn’t last very long), The Dean Martin Show, even a show called Shields & Yarnell, a married couple who were mimes!
I was watching The Sonny and Cher Show. Except for the little bit of light coming from the TV, the room was dark.
And then a light—it wasn’t really a ‘light’, but more like a flash, sort of like from the fireworks you see on the 4th of July, except it wasn’t so sudden—appeared in that small space over the top of the TV.
(This is weird. Not one minute after I wrote that sentence above, somebody just set off some firecrackers down the road. I swear. It’s 7:19 am on Sunday morning, February 16th. What are the chances of that? Coincidence? I wonder…)
The light slowly started growing bigger and brighter, until it was about the size of a basketball. But even though the light itself was bright, it didn’t make the room any brighter. Just that small spot between the top of the TV and the ceiling.
I look back on this now, and I think a lot of people, especially an 11 year old, would be shocked or scared if this happened to them, but I wasn’t frightened at all.
I said, “Mom?”
The light grew brighter for a few seconds more, and then slowly faded into itself.
I immediately went out to the living room and told my dad about this. He wasn’t much of a religious man, but he said he believed me. I think he just said that to reassure me, since he knew I was still ‘messed up’ over her passing.
This happened 43 years ago this month, and for all I know, this could be the anniversary of that night. Like I said, all I know is it happened in February.
(Now I’m thinking of those firecrackers I heard and the fact that I’m writing this about her for a contest prompt that I just happened to check yesterday?)
I’ll admit that when she first died, I was a little mad at her for leaving me. I was young then though, and that was my first experience with death. But in those 43 years, I’ve had a few other ‘signs’ that my mother never really left me. Sometimes when I’m in a room I break out in goosebumps, for no reason at all. It doesn’t matter how warm it is, and I don’t get cold. I just see goosebumps popping out on my arms. If this happens when I’m around friends, they kind of freak out. I know why it happens though, and I tell them it’s my mom.
One time I was playing poker with a very good friend, and I knew my mom was around. The goosebumps appeared, and even Frankie could feel something strange in the room. Here’s the weird thing though: I asked him what my mother’s name was since he didn’t know, and after pausing for a few seconds, he said “Anne?”
I told him her name was Glorianne.
A lot of people have told me my experience that night was just the wishful imagination of a young, emotional boy who had gone through a traumatic event. Or that I dreamed the whole thing.
That’s fine. I know what I saw.
And I know who I saw.
And I know she’s still here.
NOTE: One of the reasons this blends from the 3rd person POV to the 1st person POV at the beginning is because I’m not exactly the same person I was back then. The world has changed, and I’ve changed, but part of me will always be that little boy.