Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Ghost Story with Heart by Karen Rock


Since it’s Halloween, it seems only fitting that I tell you a ghost story. Not a creepy, sinister, chiller, but the kind of tale that befits our Heartwarming line, a story of family, traditions and forever love. Here’s how it goes.

One of my family’s traditions has long been to gift female children with a new purse on Easter. I’m not sure when this custom began, but I recall, vividly, who continued it: my Great Aunt Marie. The eldest, single daughter of Manhattan hat shop owners, she lived and cared for her parents until their deaths, turning down at least one proposal to do what she felt was her duty. In fact, Aunt Marie’s devotion to her family included all generations, from using her teacher’s salary to help with financial crisis to buying special gifts for her siblings and their children and later, their children’s children. I remember looking forward to visiting my grandmother every weekend because it included a visit from Aunt Marie who arrived with fresh rolls, deli meat, pickles and bakery treats from the big city. What a feast!

Most of all, I remember that she’d ask about the colors of our Easter dresses in advance of the holiday and scour the city for just the right little girl’s purse to match. As gifts weren’t a frequent part of my upbringing, this was a treat beyond imagining. The bags made me feel special and elegant, but mostly loved and remembered by my favorite aunt. She was always sure to slip a dime in each pocketbook for ten times the good luck. It felt like a fortune though I couldn’t bring myself to spend them, and thus began my dime collection.

Though we outgrew the Easter purse tradition when we reached our teens, my aunt resurrected it for my Confirmation, a Catholic ceremony. Deeply religious, I’d chosen Aunt Marie to be my sponsor as my godparents had moved back to Italy. With an unshakable faith and a generous heart, I couldn’t imagine a better person to stand up with me and tell the priest my Confirmation name, someone who would be a better role model in faith, than Aunt Marie. And I wasn’t disappointed. She was excited to accept my request and began sending me religious literature, helped me study for my test, and, of course, asked me the color of my dress. It brought tears to my eyes when, on the day of the ritual, she gave me a beautiful lavender purse with a cross, a pocket book of psalms, and, of course, a dime tucked inside a satin inner pocket.

When she passed, I was devastated. She’d always been such a wonderful source of encouragement and support in times of worry, praying for me and even saying Novenas- an all day, repetitive, timed saying of the rosary- to ensure the best outcomes. With her gone, who would be my prayer champion? It always seemed as though Aunt Marie had a special connection with God. Would that faith continue in me?

Then a strange thing began to happen after she’d passed. Whenever a moment of deep concern arose, a dime would appear- on a kitchen counter, on my nightstand, on the bathroom sink, even on my work desk. The timing was too uncanny to be a coincidence. When I was rushed to the hospital after some bleeding suggested my early pregnancy with my daughter Danielle was jeopardized, the ultrasonographer  exclaimed that a dime was on her machine. I asked for the coin and held it as she began the test. Yet I no longer needed the reassuring pictures. I already knew what Aunt Marie was telling me from heaven. That Danielle would survive and that I would become a mom, something she had been to all of us, in spirit if not in title. I do believe in ghosts, but thankfully mine are loving spirits who look out for me in this world and will be there for me when I move on, someday, to the next.

If you have a 'ghost story with heart' to share, please post it in the comments section below, as well as your email address, to be entered to win either a Kindle/Nook or print copy of my Heartwarming novel, Wish Me Tomorrow; your choice! The winner will be announced on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/karenrock5  tomorrow.  Thank you so much for stopping by our blog today :)
 

29 comments:

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    1. Thanks so much, Liz! Happy Halloween :-)

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  2. I love hearing stories about people receiving dimes, pennies, feathers, or odd little things from loved ones who have passed on. I'm waiting for something special from my daughter. She's making me wait. LOL

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    1. Oh Tara! I know she is watching over her beautiful mother (inside and out) and must be so proud of all that you have accomplished!

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  3. Hey, Karen, thanks for sharing such a touching story. Dimes (and pennies) discovered from loved ones are part of my February book, Summer Kisses. My sister-in-law, Carrie, passed away in June after a long battle with cancer. The day after she passed I was doing my morning jog and found 3 pennies at various places along my route (most unusual). A few weeks ago, I was having an internal conversation with Carrie and mentioned that I hadn't seen a penny or dime from her in awhile. The next day as I was walking through the Denver airport, there was a penny at my feet at the gate. I thanked Carrie and told her not to be a prankster - I won't pick up a dime if you put it in the airport bathroom. A few days later, when I landed in SFO, there was a dime at the foot of the terminal commode! It's so nice to know our loved ones are still with us.

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    1. Oh my goodness! Wow Melinda! I am so moved to read about your sister-in-law Carrie and how she's found a way to reach out to you. It is so comforting to know that they are still with us in spirit and are thinking of us. What a beautiful coincidence that SUMMER KISSES features this incredible phenomenon. I can't wait to read it and it will be my purchase with my Amazon gift card stocking stuffer!!!

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  4. Great post Karen! My mom finds dimes all the time that she claims are from her guardian angel reminding her to be careful lol...she'd quite clumsy and she read somewhere that we all escape close calls with injury a lot more than we realize, so she believes whenever she finds a dime, it was her angel saying 'saved you again' lol:)

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    1. WOW, Jen! It's astounding me how connected we all are. We are meant to be Heartwarming authors together :) I'd thought coins were a unique way for my aunt to reach out to me, but now I see that, in the spirit world, it is a way for them to tell us they are near, even if we can't see them. Oh- and don't forget to tell your mom she owes her Guardian Angel a tip- lol. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting :)

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  5. Happy Halloween to all of you, and Karen, what a touching, touching story. I have a sister, Marie, who was also a teacher for 35 years and is the kind of aunt to my girls, and friend to Denny's sisters and their children like your Aunt Marie. My sister is 7 years older than me and is very religious, though not Catholic. I hope to have her around for a lot more years, but it's comforting to know that sometimes the bond is never broken. Like Tara, I keep waiting for signs from Denny since we had 51 wonderful years together. I do still wake up some nights sure I'm hearing him call out to me. That makes it hard to get a good nights sleep.

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    1. Roz, your comment made me cry. I love my husband (20 years married) and I know that, like you, I will be looking for signs to know that he is near should he pass on first. Denny is surely close and loving you as much as ever. Forever. If he's calling to you at night, maybe it's to ask you to sleep and dream of him. Perhaps he can be with you there. I've had two dreams with my Aunt Marie in them and both were so real. Since then, I've wondered if they can come to us that way. I hope so.

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  6. this isnt about a person its about my mini dachshund zena. when my huisband and i had to put her down she was extremely sick. i was heartbroken. she was my first official dog i bought myself. robert bought me a heartshaped necklace with the saying "dogs leave pawprints on out hearts" and zenas birthdya on the back. i wore it all; the time never taking it off. whereever i would go i would see a light on the wall reflecting back..it looked like tinkerbells light. we joked it was zena but figured it was a reflection of light shining off my necklace. but then we would see it at night in the dark too.it was weird. anyway one night i was sleeping an had a very vivid dream of zena. she was on the bed and cuddling like she always did. she said and licked my face then went to the end of the bed, looked back and jumped off into nothing! she was gone! my boxer dog looked over the edge of the bed and wagged his tail. then settled back down( theywere close) the next day i told robert about the dream but felt lighter. during the day my chain on the necklace broke. so i put it away instead of putting it back on. that was the last dream i had of her. i feel it was zena telling me she is alright and not in anymore pain and to not worry or cry over her! she is on the rainbow bridge with all of my other dogs having fun!

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    1. Randi, what a beautiful ghost story with heart. I believe Zena was taking care of her pet mom and, like so many of our loving pets, thought of you first before she could run to the rainbow and find a pot of treats on the other side. She's truly at peace and now, so are you. Thank you for sharing this very touching story.

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    2. Congratulations, Randi! You are the winner of my blog prize today! Please send your mailing information to me at karenrock@live.com. Thanks :)

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  7. Karen - what a powerful story! Bless Marie! I've never heard about coins being 'conversations' from the other side, but I feel the presence of my parents, my sister, and other loved ones around me all the time. My father was a foreman in a handbag factory so I really do relate to purses! When I was a teenager and then a woman, he'd bring home their catalog for me to make a selection. I really miss that. I do know the tradition of putting a coin in the pocket when you give a purse as a gift. I volunteer to be your prayer partner (not qualified to be your prayer champion.) Wonderful, wonderful post!

    Marion! There you are! I like your face!

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    1. Thank you so much, Muriel! I'll be your prayer partner too :) here at home we have a prayer chain so whenever any of us needs special prayers we each call the person after us on the chain to share the request. It's so comforting to be surrounded by so much faith! And may I add that your dad had the best job EVER! What a treat those purse catalogues must have been. I lived for the Sears catalogue and I would divide the sections and poured over them a day at a time so that I could imagine the amazing lives the models lived without rushing...until my older sister Jeanne found out I had it and I had to share...*sigh- lol

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  8. Don't have a ghost story to share but I loved your post!!

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  9. Thanks so much, Bette! It means a lot that you stopped by the Heartwarming blog :) Have a Happy Halloween.

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  10. This is my favorite kind of ghost story! <3

    I also believe in loving, caring "ghosts" who watch over us. I've had lots of visits from the other side, but my favorite story (which I actually managed to sneak into my latest novel) is from when I was going through radiation treatments for my brain tumor.

    For the radiation treatments, in order to make sure they were targeting the right spot in my brain each day, I had to wear a rigid mask made out of plastic mesh that had been molded to the exact contours of my face. I would lie down on the table, and the radiation technician would place the mask around my head and bolt it to the table, so I couldn't move even one millimeter out of the correct alignment. I'm claustrophobic, so this was absolute torture for me, 5 days a week (15-20 minutes a day) for 6 weeks.

    But each day, as soon as the technician would connect me to the table and leave the room, a man would step up to the table and hold my hand to help me through the scary part. For the first few days, this kind of freaked me out, because I didn't know who this strange man was - and because no one was supposed to be in the room when the radiation was flowing. But then, he stepped closer, and out of the corner of my eye (I couldn't turn my head), I could see that the man was my grandfather (who died when I was in high school). He sat with me through all 6 weeks of my treatments and kept me from being scared.

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    1. I can hardly see the keyboard for the tears in my eyes! Veronica- what an absolutely beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us and I can't wait to read your book. You went through so much and were incredibly brave, yet your grandfather knew that you needed that extra reassurance and was sure to be there for you, giving his love. I agree that these are the kinds of "ghost stories" that are uplifting, that renew my faith, and make me trust that we will all, one day, see those we've loved and lost, again. They surely see us!

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    2. I loved reading your story. How beautiful! I wanted to share my story with you. My mom passed away 3 years ago, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. It was a really tough time for our family. At the time, my daughter was an 8th grader in Catholic school. About a month after Mom died, we were attending a Mary's Day Mass for my daughter and her classmates. I was sitting in church feeling really sad that Mom wasn't there. Immediately, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something white, and I felt something soft brush my cheek. I turned my head, but no one was there. I knew that it had been Mom letting me know that she was with us in church. I whispered, "I'm glad you're here, Mom". I felt so peaceful. I've never felt her presence like that since, but I consider it to be an amazing gift. Thank you again for sharing your story, and thanks for the chance to win!!!

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    3. Hi Linda! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. What a beautiful moment for you to share with your mother. She heard your thoughts and knew that you needed her and like all parents, those that are with us and those that have passed on, she was there for you. I'm so glad you stopped by and shared your experience with us! It's inspiring and deeply moving.

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  11. She sounds like a lovely person, Karen. It's wonderful that you had someone like that in your life.

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    1. Thanks Dale! My Aunt Marie was an incredible person. Such an inspiration to all of us for her devotion, strength and loyalty to her family. She taught all day, cared for her ailing parents, took care with her money so as to help others who needed it, and when she was living alone, volunteered until she turned eighty at the Literacy Center and the Senior Citizens Center teaching people to read and doing tax returns for the "elderly" as she called them! I love her always.

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  12. Incredible story, Karen, and incredible stories from everyone else too! I have many of my own, but couldn't decide which to tell. I totally believe in good spirits visiting us and leaving signs.

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    1. Thank you, Rula! And I agree... the stories that have been shared are so beautiful and touching. It's wonderful to know that others have had these experiences too.

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  13. What an awesome story, I don't have a ghost story but I can feel my mom's present whenever I'm upset or need to talk with her, I miss her a lot for she was my best friend.

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    1. Your mother sounds like an incredible and lovely person, Carole! The mother-daughter bond is so special, especially when you have a deep friendship as well. I'm so happy for you that she's with you still and always will be when you need her! Thank you so much for stopping by Heartwarming!

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  14. Congratulations, Randi! You are the winner of my blog prize today! Please send your mailing information to me at karenrock@live.com. Thanks :)

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  15. Karen,
    You made me cry. My favorite relative was Aunt Katie.

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