A Visit from Grandfather
Catholic school is a little creepy if you really believe in it. The saints are spirits and they haunt everything you do, following you around with their eyes and whispering in your ear telling you what you should and shouldn't do.
I went to Catholic school my whole life, even kindergarten. I learned to fear God, to fear death and to doubt all of my choices. But when I was about 12, things started to change. I read the bible and tried to make sense out of it. I had questions and when they were brought up to the nuns in school, they called me names like "Judas", had my hand slapped repeatedly with a ruler, made to stand in the back of the class facing away from the board and sent down to Sister Mary Francis' office while my parents were called in and asked if there was a problem at home that may explain my inquisitiveness about my religion.
Slowly I began to resent them all, stopped going to church on Sundays and completely stopped confessing when Father O'Brien yelled at me in the confessional for not going to church on Sundays. In a thick Irish accent he yelled, "You call yourself a Catholic? Take that cross off your neck this instant, you have no right wearing it."
I ran out of that church and all the way home in tears feeling completely betrayed and alone, running upstairs to my room, ripping off my crucifix and throwing it across the room. I wanted nothing to do with God, the church or school. I lay there on my bed wondering where he was and why he didn't appear to me or help me. Just as I lay there, I felt the room grow cold and a presence overwhelmed me.
I thought maybe my sister got home early from school so I ran out to the balcony and called out but there was no answer. Just then the door in my room slammed shut. I opened it and felt a presence now even more intense than before. I looked around, in the closet, under my bed and behind curtains but there was nothing there. Then I noticed the crucifix I had just thrown on the floor was now sitting on my dresser, placed neatly by a family picture of me, my parents, my sister and grandfather.
I felt a little creeped out, so I went downstairs to make myself something to eat. As I was in the kitchen, the television turned on. I thought for sure it was my sister now. "Sandra, is that you?"
There was no reply. As I made my way to the living room, I saw the back of my grandfather's head from his favorite chair watching television. I was relieved and as I got closer, he turned to look at me, smiled and got up to walk away. I called to him, "Abuelito?"
But he just kept walking and made his way up the stairs and walked into my room. He was hard of hearing, of course he wouldn't answer. As I opened the door, he wasn't there. I looked everywhere but it was no use, he was not in that room.
The crucifix that was placed on the dresser by his picture was now hanging on the corner of the mirror in front of me. As it swung back and forth, I felt a strong impulse to put it on but remembered how I broke it when I ripped it off. I wondered how it was hanging there. As I pulled it down, I saw the clasp was intact. I didn't question it and put it on, just then the feeling of being looked at went away and I heard my parents come home.
"Ma, pa, wait til I tell you what just happened."
My mother sat me down and looked very sad. I could tell she had been crying. As she put her arms around me, my father sat on the other side, "Your grandfather passed away today."
"Wait, no. He was just here."
My mother looked at me, frowned and left the room. I was always sensitive to the paranormal but my mother has always been a very strict Catholic, so it was hard for her to believe me and the visions I've had all my life. My father was easier. He believed me, or at least pretended he did. "He was probably just letting you know he's okay."
As he left the room, I felt a calm and peace come over me. I knew he was fine, he let me know. But what they didn't know was that he brought me back to my faith, showed me not to be angry and that I had been forgiven.
This was one thing I would never share with the nuns at school.
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