I recall my grandma's life and death only as I remember my mom telling me.
From what I can understand, on February 2, 1998, my grandma fell victim to a car accident and died in the hospital sometime later.
She was the last of my grandparents on both my mom and dad's side to go; the rest had died long before I was born.
I was only three years old at the time, and I have a hazy recollection of attending the funeral and seeing my grandma within the casket.
I also vaguely remember being quite fascinated, as my young mind had not understood the concept of death.
I had been traveling for most of my life, considering my dad worked for United Airlines, so flying wasn't much of a surprise to me even though I was only about eight.
It was July, 2002, if I recall correctly, and my mom and I had just landed in Chicago from Las Vegas, Nevada, where we were planning to live, and I still do. Customarily, we were driven by my Uncle Ray to my Auntie Linda and Uncle Joe's house out in Algonquin. It was a pretty large house, and was very cozy to say the least. My mom and I shared a room upstairs, which I believe had been my cousin Lorie's room before she moved out.
A rather strange coincidence occurred: my mom, Auntie Linda, Uncle Joe, and most of my relatives began to explain stories to me about our family reunions. This, in turn, led to talk of my Grandma Lily, the one who the reunions became based around after her death. She was a great woman, very intelligent, very kind, and very loving. She flawlessly brought up my mom, my aunts, and my uncles.
She was the role model for what every woman should be. On top of this, she was very healthy and had no medical ailments before her death, even with her growing age. She had been in her mid-seventies at the time, and possibly may have lived to a century had it not been for that fateful day. Hearing these consistently sincere stories from my mom, my aunts, and my uncles makes me wish she had lived so I could meet her. One thing so captivating about my Grandma was that she was very loving, and she loved all of her children, her children's children, her friends, and everyone around her with a warm heart.
Then came a night that terrified me to the point it still haunts me.
It was about two days before the reunion, and my mom and I were getting ready for bed. We had to share the one bed in the room, which didn't bother me at all since I didn't start sleeping on my own until I was about nine. It was about nine or ten at the time according to the classical, red-text, digital alarm clock that sat on the nightstand.
I woke up in the middle of the night and glanced at the clock, and I remember it being 1:36 A.M. Rubbing my eyes and letting them adjust to the darkness, I saw that my mom had left the closet open. As my eyes finally adjusted, I saw a horrifying sight. It was a white figure, resembling an anthropomorphic cloud vaguely shaped like a human, with no face and only barely discernible limbs. It looked like it was about to sprint across the room, as if it were a blurry shot of a runner in the middle of a race.
I blinked my eyes and the figure had changed; this time, instead of looking like it was about to sprint across the room, it appeared to have its hands behind its back. It was staring at me with its faceless head and I could only stare back, not knowing what to do. I was too frozen even to wake up my mom who was in the same bed; I just stared with no idea what to do.
I hadn't even realized how much time had passed; it seemed as if the morning had simply crept up on me. I recall still sitting up in the bed, having passed out for what seemed to be a short period of time. I woke to my mom getting ready to go to the mall to pass some time. I began crying, prompting my mom to ask me what was wrong.
I explained what I had seen that night to her. She tried to rationalize it as being a white dress in the closet, but there was absolutely nothing white in that closet, only dark clothes. I searched it thoroughly to be sure of this. She had no explanation for this and simply asked me why I didn't wake her up. I didn't know why then, and I still don't know why now.
My Uncle Joe, Auntie Linda, and my mom all talked to me about it, and they said it was probably grandma visiting, and that I shouldn't be scared. It didn't change my feelings, though, and I remained scared. Years later I heard that if a spirit is a visiting a relative or friend, then the haunted won't feel fear when they see the ghost, despite the awe and surprise. This observation scares me that much more, since I was scared out of my mind by this entity. I refused to believe it was my grandma.
Up to now, I refuse to sleep with closets open, and I'm scared of waking up to see something staring at me. I still wonder what I saw in that closet, and whether or not it was my grandma. When I go back to the reunions, I make absolutely sure the closet is closed, and I sleep with the light on in that house.