My husband passed away while I was recovering from a serious operation in hospital. Quite possibly the worst timing of anything anyone could dream of. He was gone in his sleep, as I had always hoped he would. Quietly and peacefully with a smile on his face. My mother and the building manager went into the apartment to find him. It was a devastating period of my life, but I swear he never really left.
I was in a private room and the staff were instructed to leave everything as it was for me. This included the chair he used everytime he came to visit. It was one of those high backed Lazy-boy types that leaned back and you could put your feet up. He had heart problems, and it was very obvious he suffered from angina. He often held his left side at the bottom of his ribs. He refused to use the oxygen he slept with during the day, and I knew he was getting worse.
About a week after he passed, as I was on the phone again, settling details of claiming life insurance and arranging his cremation, the rudest nurse I’ve ever met, waltzed into my room and pulled his chair out into the hallway. When I protested, in tears, she said, “Get over it. I need it.”
For me, it removed a visual reminder of the support he’d shown me and the joy of celebrating our 34th anniversary. His wicked sense of humor, and the jokes he told walked out of the room with the chair and so did his ghost.
They moved it into another room where a recovering hip replacement patient tried to sit in it, and couldn’t. She said there was already someone in it. Since she was just getting up for the first time, and still woozy from anesthetic, the nurse didn’t put much store in her complaint until she tried to sit in it and yelped.
Her words, “Someone pinched my ass.”
Later, at shift change, she told one of the other nurses she had a bruise on her bottom which made it uncomfortable to sit.
She pushed it back into the hall just outside my door and I got to listen to the fun. Two toddlers who tried to get in it to sit while their mother visited their grandmother, were unceremoniously dumped to the floor. They tried repeatedly to get onto the seat, and the nurses at the unit desk watched in disbelief as they tumbled to the floor four times in a row.
An infirm elderly gentleman tried to sit down, and then slid right out, ending up on the shiny linoleum floor. The scramble to get him up again was kind of funny, as I knew we had a ghost and they didn’t. And not just any ghost, a poltergeist. A spirit with a sometimes vicious sense of humor, which described my dear departed husband precisely.
Eventually they moved the cursed chair back into my room with a sign. Out of order. When my nurse practitioner came in to visit me and asked how physio was going, she took one look and burst out laughing. She was right with me, when I told her Jim’s ghost was still using it, She told me about the attempts to move it into other rooms, with varying disastrous results. He did let one curvy intern sit down, but molested her breasts. He always did have a thing for a nice pair of tits.
My girlfriend Michelle came to visit me. A wise Cree woman, she’d heard my stories, and since sitting on my bed wasn’t advisable as I was recovering from a below the knee amputation, she picked up the sign and spoke.
“Alright Jim, be a decent guy and let me use your chair. You need to move on, you're disturbing everyone. You’ve had your revenge on them. Karin is doing fine.”
She sat down with no problems. She always did have a way with spirits. She claimed she could see them. I believed her. When she passed away herself, she came to see me in my dreams, and still does when I’m particularly sad or agitated. She did get our poltergeist to behave, at least some of the time. Anyone coming to visit me with my approval could use the chair without ill effect. Every time they moved it into another room, it was back to no one being able to use it.
When I came home, I found his favorite lamp was out. It was one we left on 24/7 because it provided just enough light to keep us from tripping in the living room when one of us would come out in the middle of the night because we couldn’t sleep. Shaped like a red flame, it was a plasma lamp and used very little power, so we didn’t feel guilty about letting it run. I couldn’t get it to work, but left it plugged in hoping it would come back to life.
On the day I sold his guitars, which he told me to do, it lit with a hissing crackle. Exactly at the moment I signed the bill of sale. He wanted them to go to someone who couldn’t afford much and showed a love for music. The man was a new immigrant to Canada, starting a music school in his home. He took all the guitars, and because he was willing to move it, I gave him the electric organ we had as well. He got the two amplifiers for the electric instruments and a couple of other odds and ends that would serve him well in his new endeavors. The lamp finally burnt out on the fifth anniversary of Jim’s death.
He visited me one more time after that. Barely eight months after he passed, I was in hospital once again, this time with a deadly version of the flu. I found out later there were only a few people who caught it, but it didn’t have a very high survival rate. I was hovering somewhere between when he came. I knew I had a choice. Live or die. It could go either way. He stood there, and held me in his arms, and I wanted to go with him so intensely it caused me to weep. He spoke.
“You’ve had your cry. Now go back like you always have, stronger for the tears, and get better. You have more to do. Live your dream. Love again. It’s not your time yet.”
He was gone for the last time. I knew that was our last goodbye.
I recovered. I was told it was pretty miraculous. I’ve done as he told me; spread love and write the books he knew I had filed away inside my imagination. He always supported my creative side. I know I’ve made him proud, and I’m getting ready to publish my first book on Amazon Kindle in just over a month.
Yes, I believe in ghosts. I’ve had one fight for me, so I know they exist. When things go bump in the night, I remember the chair that wouldn’t let anyone sit.