I was six years old when my great aunt, Viola, passed away. I remember being at my grandma’s house where my sister and I were given a box full of Aunt Viola’s costume jewelry. To us, it was like buried treasure! We quite enjoyed adorning ourselves with the “priceless” jewels. I remember asking my mom where Aunt Viola was. My mom said that Aunt Viola was just gone and that we would never see her again. I asked my dad where Aunt Viola was and he told me she went to Heaven. I asked my grandma where Aunt Viola was and she said, “With God.” Everytime I asked someone where she was, I got a different answer. I thought it was odd that no one knew for sure.
I pondered this and grew intensely curious about what happens to us when we die. I thought it might be a good idea to go be dead for a minute so I would know and then come back and tell everyone what happened to me so they would know too. I remember going into the bathroom and finding my dad’s razor. I somehow knew that slitting my wrists would kill me (I have NO idea how I knew that) so to practice I ran the razor along my arm. I noted a ton of arm hair in the razor and used my finger to wipe it off the razor. Yep, I cut my finger big time! It saved my life though. Seeing all that blood changed my mind about slitting my wrists! I decided that dying wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
About a week after Aunt Viola died I had a strange dream. I dreamed I was lying in my bed asleep and woke to feel a really cold wind blowing over me. A woman appeared next to my bed. She had the most beautiful red hair, all tied up in a french twist. She was young and beautiful. She came to me and handed me a book and smiled. I looked at the book and saw it was a dictionary. She said, “Let knowledge be your guide, Erin.” She also told me I was special and that she was grateful that I could see her.
Then she was gone. When my Aunt Viola died she was in her 70’s and had stark white hair. I told my grandma about the dream and she was aghast. She showed me a picture of Aunt Viola when she was in her 20’s and she looked exactly like she did in my “dream.” Beautiful red hair that she always wore in a french twist. I never knew her that way. I only knew her as the old woman with the pretty smile whose jewelry I now owned.
Was it just a dream? At that age I knew nothing about spirits and ghosts, though I was already having premonitions. Although that was what I believe to be my first encounter with the dead, it certainly wasn’t my last. I’ll be sharing more of those encounters in future entries.