I'm glad October has ended. Speaking from the perspective of someone who was raised in a household where "Halloween" was a bad word, I've never found myself too interested in the season in which children and adults dress themselves up as ghosts and goblins and witches.
However, I've been thinking lately about ghosts. I've never had one appear to me the way they do on soap operas, transparent and weightless. But I don't think that means they don't exist.
I think just about everybody is watched over or even haunted by a person who has left the earth. I prefer to think of those people as angels rather than ghosts, but whatever works for you will do.
I recently finished reading the book "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold. The book tells the story of a teenager who is raped and murdered and watches her family from heaven as they live through the traumatic aftermath on earth. It made me wonder, are there people up there watching us? When I get a funny feeling or a sudden memory, does that mean my angel is nudging me in a different direction or letting me know I'm not alone?
Did you ever have something unusual to happen that couldn't be explained away? Like you decided to change a flight at the last minute, and the plane you were supposed to be on crashed? Or maybe you've experienced something unusual on a smaller scale, like the coincidence of a person who called or stopped by your house at the exact moment you were thinking about that person.
I don't believe in coincidence. I think everything that happens is supposed to happen, and we should all take a careful second glance at the "coincidences" that occur in our lives. Maybe these coincidences are being put into action by our angels.
I suppose the debate of whether "spirits" exist will rage on for many years to come. I believe the answer is in the hearts of each individual.
It brings me comfort to believe that my grandfather is watching over me, that he knows I'm happy and he can hear me when I talk to him. Sometimes when a special occasion occurs, like my wedding or the birth of my sister's first child, I take comfort in knowing that although my grandfather is not there in the flesh, he sees us and is smiling as he watches the happy occasion.
Maybe I'm completely wrong but what harm does it do? It makes losing someone a lot easier if we can imagine them still being in our midst in some way.
April Avison is the city editor of the Daily Herald. Her column appears on Mondays. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.