Our Christmas tree, 2015. That's not The Shadow on the wall. It makes me think of The Shadow, though, whenever I look at the tree I almost missed.
This year, I wanted to put up some of the Christmas ornaments myself. For the last few years, typically, putting up the Christmas tree in our house is a shared duty: I put the actual tree up, and then The Wife and The Kids put up the ornaments. This year, though, I wanted to look at and put up some ornaments myself. I used to do that all the time, particularly before the kids were old enough to do it. After all that's transpired - and considering I probably shouldn't even have been here to put up the tree [let alone look at ornaments] - I wanted to see some of the ornaments again. Many have great meaning to me. There are a series of ornaments that my Mother-in-law gave us over the years; some from The Wife's late-grandparents; one with my name on it from 1972; my prized 2009 New York Yankees World Series trophy ornament. A lot of memories.
For many, many years, memories were not my friend. That's probably also why I stopped doing the ornaments. Memories - at least until a few weeks ago - made me terribly sad. Better not to go down that road, I'd think. So, over the past decade or so, I've avoided memories, photographs, just about anything from the past.
I have a feeling that's where The Shadow is from. Ah, The Shadow. Let me stop here to point out that - for those who know me - I generally didn't believe in spirits, the Afterlife, or anything else that I couldn't see, until recently that is. About five months ago, though, I first saw The Shadow. I was sitting in my chair in the living room - where my body has left a permanent indentation from spending about 160 hours a week in it - when, out of the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was The Wife get up from the dining room table and disappear into the kitchen. This would have been fine...except I almost immediately realized that The Wife was at work and I was home alone. I thought, "Hmmm. That was weird." And gave it nary another thought. That first time.
Over the next few months, though, The Shadow would appear again. Always in the dining room; always heading into the kitchen; and always gone before I could make out what/who it was. After a few months of this, I came to an uneasy acceptance that there was something in the house. I told The Wife, only because I thought she'd endured 25 years of my making fun of her for believing in such things and thus she deserved to laugh at me and say 'I told you so'. She asked me questions about The Shadow that I couldn't answer ["Was it male or female?"; she might as well have asked me if it was Democrat or Republican]. What I didn't tell her, though, was that I was slowly becoming convinced that it really was some kind of spirit. Whether it was someone [either of my deceased grandfathers perhaps; my beloved uncle; Melissa's equally beloved uncle, etc.] I knew not.
I'd see The Shadow a few times a week. Ironically, though, in the week before my medical emergency - and I realized this only in hindsight - I didn't see The Shadow at all. Perhaps it was away for Thanksgiving. Or getting ready for it.
Thanksgiving. I would love to say that when I collapsed and was in a semi-conscious state aware that The Wife was trying to keep me breathing long enough for the paramedics to arrive that I saw a "light" or someone, or something; or even The Shadow. Or that I saw The Shadow as I sat at the dining room table just as the room started to go dark, a wave of nausea overtook me, and I snuck away to try to make it to the bathroom. I didn't see The Shadow. There were two things, though, that did happen that - in hindsight - I think are related to The Shadow.
First, a brief background - growing up, I spent many, many days and nights at my aunt and uncle's home with my four cousins. So many of my happy memories took place in that house. Indeed, when we bought this house one of the perks was the fact that it is laid out similar to my aunt and uncle's house - that was comforting to me. Well, as I sat at my dining room table on Thanksgiving and the room started to go dark....I was no longer at my dining room table. I was sitting at my aunt's dining room table. I haven't been in that house in 20 years. I didn't see anyone at the table [relatives long gone, etc.] but I was definitely at the head of my aunt's dining room table.
The second thing that happened was that, as I was lying on the bathroom floor, I did feel my father's presence there in the room. I'm happy to say that he is alive and well and with us. But he didn't make the trip to the 'Burgh for Thanksgiving. It was my Mother solo. Yet, lying there, I had the sense that both parents were there with me. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure this out. In the end, I think that it was The Shadow. There, I said it. The Shadow took the form in my mind of my father for whatever reason. But it was definitely The Shadow there with me. For whatever reason, The Shadow has ben hanging around for five months. Was it to give me the strength to hang on three weeks ago? Is it a guardian angel looking out for me? I've no idea.
For about 10 days after I got home from the hospital, I didn't see The Shadow. Until the other day. This time, it was on the other side of the glass double-doors connecting the dining room to our deck. I was in my chair [surprise] and saw The Shadow outside on the deck now, and it quickly moved in the direction of the outer wall of our master bathroom. I've seen The Shadow twice since then. Same place. Same direction - from the deck into the bathroom wall.
I looked for The Shadow as I was putting up those ornaments I mentioned. I didn't see The Shadow, but I did notice A Shadow - the Christmas tree's shadow is cast on the wall thanks to the light in the living room. I've found myself staring at our tree a lot this year. When I see the tree's shadow, it makes me wonder again about The Shadow. I don't know what/who that spirit is.
But I welcome it now, anytime.