It was circa 1986, around 10:30 PM, and my Mother was a bit irritated with my Father, for once again, rolling into the middle of their brand new king-sized bed. Because their bedroom was small, they had to rearrange the furniture because the bed was so big. With the TV now on the opposite side of my Dad, she figured he was just trying to see the TV a little better to help him get to sleep.

Before she rolled over to get my Dad to move over, she reached back with her hand to him a gentle nudge on his hip, and softly said “Eric, Honey, you’re in the middle again”. Typically, this worked. My Dad would utter an apologetic response, and roll to his side. However this time, she heard no response, but since she felt some movement, she waited for him to move a little more. When he didn’t give her more space, she wanted to move him out of the middle, before he was in a deeper sleep.

As my Mom rolled over, she saw that my Dad was clearly on the edge of his side of the bed. That is when she froze. Right where she thought she had just felt her hand nudge my Dad’s hip, was a long, dark, grainy looking, shadow of a man laying in the middle.

My Mom said that when she initially froze, it felt as if time had stopped, leading her to believe it was just a dream. In the moment, she was simply fascinated with the clarity of her dream. She then watched the man sit up, put on a fedora hat, stand up at the end of the bed, then walk through the wall into the bathroom. Only seconds after watching this, she shot up out of bed and ran into the bathroom, thinking if she didn’t see anything, it really was just a dream?

No, it was no dream. That night, I was up late studying for an exam. The lights in my room were on, my TV was on, and I was sitting on my bed watching more TV than studying. The next thing I know, I’m watching a man come through my wall wearing a Fedora hat. Having had no inkling of ghosts being real or the paranormal, I too, thought I was dreaming.

As he came through the wall, the light surrounding him got brighter, and I could clearly see that this man was my Papaw. I actually said out loud, “Papaw?” At that exact moment, my door came flying open and my Mom was in my room.

Not saying a word, for the next few minutes, she thoroughly inspected my room. Finally, she asked me “who’s in here”? I told her nobody. But, because my bothers and I were often caught staying up late prank calling people, she initially didn’t believe me. After telling me to stay on my bed and not move a muscle, she went to my brother’s rooms. I was telling the truth, they were both fast asleep.

When she came back to my room, she sat in the bed right next to me, and we both just sat in silence for a few minutes. She broke that silence and asked me “What did you see?” and I started crying, hugged her, and said “Papaw”. Despite my understanding of the paranormal at the time, in my heart, I just knew it was real. I was crying because I thought I missed my chance to tell my Papaw “I love you” one more time. When my Mom came flying into the room, everything just disappeared… he did, the light did, the thoughts and feelings that I was having did… it all just stopped, gone in an instant, just like that. My Mom just held me tight, repeated the words “it’s ok baby girl, it’s ok” until I fell asleep. There’s not anything much weirder than being a teenager and waking up with your Mom in your bed! But, without a word, when my alarm woke us both up, my Mom got up and left my room.

My Mom didn’t tell me what she had experienced that night, although she did tell my Dad and her sister the very next day. About 10 years later, I had another experience with a spirit. It frightened me so much, I left my apartment and went to stay with my Mom. My Aunt was visiting my Mom, and had always been considered “the weird one” in the family because she believed in the paranormal. My Mom did her best to “protect” her children from anything to do with the paranormal, but there were things she just couldn’t debunk. That night, I learned what my Mom had experienced so many years before. That night was also the night that both my Mom and I began our journey to better understand the other side.