The first ghost I remember is that of my mother, the woman in white here.
I have seen them for years, ever since my mother died when I was seven-years-old. When cancer rotted her inside and tore her away from this world. During her last years alive, she was bedridden and attached to a machine. My last memory of her was when I knew she was inside her bedroom, sleeping soundly, but I saw her in our yard.
I was playing in the backyard after a rain. Snails peaked out of the garden, and I was having fun collecting them into piles and giving them lettuce from the fridge. Trying to take care of something I could have control over.
After I grew tired of the snails, I noticed the unusual amount of dandelions that had seemed to spout after the rain. It was so strange because they weren’t the yellow flower dandelions, but the white billowy seed dandelions that should have dissolved after the rain. They were my mother’s favorite, and she used to have me pick them for her and blow them to make wishes. I wondered if I should pick a few and wish for my mother to get better.
And then I saw her.
Instead of the bald head, I was so used to, she had long locks of golden brown hair that swayed on her shoulders. She had a deep smile full of life, and bright eyes as light and lively as the blue sky above.
At first, I didn’t know who this woman was. She was so beautiful and lively in her white summer dress. She motioned for me to come closer, and I was afraid for some reason. Not just from the fear of interacting with a stranger, but something didn’t seem right about her either. Despite the warmth of the humid air after the rain, and the warmth of the sun on my skin, I felt cold from the unnatural breeze that came from her direction.
Her smile turned after realizing I was scared to draw near her. She tried to keep it, but I noticed tears come from her eyes as she started to fade. It wasn’t like she was disappearing from me, but was going somewhere else. It’s hard to explain. She was both there with me, and moving at the same time, even though she stood in the same place. All I knew was the feeling she was moving away, and that was when I heard my father yell.
“No! Don’t leave me, Joe! My Josephine...” I heard him sob from the open window by the dandelion grass my mother stood on.
I ran inside, and overheard our hospice nurse on the phone, calling for an ambulance to take my mother away. When I finally had the courage to return outside, both my mother and the dandelions were gone.
I painted this picture to not only remember her but to remind myself of what I missed. I could have had one more moment with her, blowing a dandelion to make a wish.
It's not easy to share something this intimate, but I'm tired of being alone in what I see and experience. There are more stories to share than just my own.