Friday, March 13, 2009

The Gray Lady

This is a Morgan Family Legend. I have never before tried to write it down as it is a story which needs many hand gestures. I am going to try.
One summer day when Abby was just barely 4 I woke up in a sun-filled room with her in my bed. This was very unusual as Abby has always been independent and needed little in the way of comforting. Michael had already left for work and Luke was still sleeping. As we lingered in our half-sleep state I asked her why she was in my bed. She told me very matter-of -fact-ly that she came to my bed in the middle of the night because there was a lady in her room.
We were living in my grandfather's house at the time. Don't tell anyone, but the windows never locked. Her window was on the back of the house so it would have been very easy for someone to break in during the night, or any other time for that matter. As her mother, this is immediately where my thoughts were going. Someone came into her room in the middle of the night and scared her into getting in my bed.
I began to question her as to what she saw, all the while thinking I was about to get up and call the Police. I tried to keep my voice as pleasant and upbeat as I could so as not to lead her into being scared, which she clearly was not. Abby answered my questions in the manner she would answer my motherly questions like what kind of animal is that or what sound does a cow make.
I asked her if she knew the lady that was in her room. She said no. I asked her what she looked like. She said she was gray. I asked if her hair was gray or her clothes were gray and Abby said she was all gray. Was she fat or thin? She was normal. What did her hair look like? Abby said her hair was short and sticking up. She really just held up her hair to show me that her hair was sticking up. Abby had recently cut off all of her hair and it was still very short. I asked what the lady with the short hair sticking up was doing. Abby said she was standing in an "X". Huh? Abby stood up and held her arms and legs out to make the shape of an "X". Oh. I asked if the lady was looking at Abby and she told me that the lady was facing the wall. Somewhere in that part of the conversation she told me the lady was standing in front of Abby's bookcase. And Abby could see the bookcase THROUGH her!
So I am still thinking this is a real person in my daughter's room in the middle of the night. Very casually I asked how this lady got into her room. She lazily answered that she came in through the window. Just as I thought. I am calling 911. I told Abby that her window was closed and no one could have gotten in. She said the lady didn't have to open the window. She was soft. What do you mean soft? At this point Abby thumped on her chest to show me. "I'm hard. But she was soft so she went through the window."
Now I understood. She literally came through the window. THROUGH THE WINDOW!!! My heart was beating fast. My stomach was in my throat. I start to quickly think of family members who may haunt us. No one, to my knowledge, ever died in the house, around the house, or while living in the house. I could think of no one fitting the description. So we probably didn't know her. Now I had to act normal and calm to my daughter.
What did you do when you saw her? Abby said she closed her eyes tight and then opened them and she was still there, standing in an "X" with her back to Abby. So Abby hid under the covers and then looked out and she was gone. That is when Abby got out of bed and ran down the hall to my room.
That was it. She spoke to me as she would if she were telling me about a show on TV or a friend in the neighborhood. She did not seem scared or nervous in the least. So I nonchalantly told her it was time to get out of bed and have breakfast and that is what we did. I stopped talking to her about it because I was trying very hard not to inject any of my thoughts into her story. I wanted her to remember the incident as she did so she could tell Michael without any prompting from me.
About mid-morning he called to see how we were doing. I told him to talk to Abby and ask her why she was in bed with us. I briefly told him the story so he could ask some of the same questions to see if she kept to her story. I was thinking that if she made it up or dreamed it, maybe the facts would change a bit in the retelling. Besides, it was hours since she had talked about it to me and she was only 4. How would she be able to remember a lie for that long?
Nope. The facts were the same. The details remained. She even put the phone down to "show" Daddy how the lady's hair looked. She still seemed careless and innocent. When she was done telling her story, I took the phone into another room. Her father and I had chills. She had been in Abby's room, she was transparent, she was "soft". She stood in an "X" with her back to Abby. She stayed even after Abby blinked, and only left after Abby hid from her.
I never told Abby what I thought she saw. I made a point to not share any opinions about her Gray Lady. I actually tried to stay away from the subject all day. Later in the afternoon, before Michael came home from work, we were playing and out of the blue Abby said she didn't want to sleep in her room anymore. I asked why. She loved her room and her big-girl bed. She said she didn't want to sleep in her room anymore because she is afraid of ghosts. That was it. That was all she said. She didn't say the Gray lady was a ghost. That word had not been uttered by anyone all day. She just knew it, I guess. Her little 4 year old mind just knew exactly what the Gray Lady was without anyone telling her. And she still did not act scared or even like she understood the impact of what she was saying. Just like the cow says Moo, the Gray Lady was a ghost.
When Michael came home from work, he took her into his lap and started asking her about what she saw again. I think we were still trying to find holes in her story. There were none to be found. She answered the questions exactly the same way as she did the first time they were asked. Truth be told, I think she was getting bored with the subject. Abby did not let her Daddy ask all of the questions this time as she had toys to play with and books to read. After she showed him the shape of the "X", and held her hair up like the Lady's hair, she left the room. That is when I told him that Abby called the Lady a ghost. His first thought was that I had said ghost to her sometime during the day. I assured him that I made a point to NOT say that word. We got chills again.
So as I said before, Abby has always been very independent. She decided to sleep in her room again that night. She stayed in her bed all night and the Gray Lady never came back. But Abby still remembers her. We all do.
I was telling this story to someone many years ago and she said that maybe it wasn't a ghost at all. Maybe the Gray Lady was an angel. Maybe she was standing in that position to block something from seeing or hurting Abby. I love that idea. I want that to be what the Gray Lady was. A guardian angel for my precious baby.

But that is not what Abby said, is it?
She said ghost