This is not a spooky post. Or maybe it is. It is certainly inspired by Suze who writes at Subliminal Coffee. Some of her latest forays into the supernatural (or rather into the world which we cannot experience with our five senses) have had me thinking, re-thinking and wondering about the ‘other’ dimension. The one which we cannot touch, feel or see. Or, at least, the one which the majority of us cannot touch, feel or see. I do believe in an after-life. I do believe that there is more to death than we can ever even begin to imagine. But before I continue, here is a little story that I want to share.
I was very close to my maternal grandmother, my Nanna Rose. My parents and I lived with her for the first 2 years of my life, while my parents’ house was being built after they returned from a 3-year stay in Canada and the US. My dad was studying at NDSU at the time and, due to some issues with Visas, he and my mum returned to Malta just two months before I was born. My Nanna was a constant figure in my early life and I spent many days at her home whenever my parents had errands to run or just to spend time with her. She had a tiny garden that I loved to play in, making mud pies and chasing butterfles. At one corner of the garden grew an old, gnarled orange tree that produced some of the sweetest oranges that I have ever tasted. Beneath the orange tree, in a shady spot, was a patch of violets. I would sometimes cut the delicate flowers and put them in a little vase in my room. On her bathroom shelf, my Nanna kept a bottle of very sweet-smelling, violet-scented perfume. She was the only one I knew who used that scent – except for a similar bottle which I kept in my room when I was a little girl. In 2000, my Nanna passed on.
I missed her. We all did. But life has to go on. In February 2006 my son was born. After the initial sleepless nights and hectic days, we settled into a comfortable pattern. There were days when I fervently wished that my nanna could see my little one but I stopped at that - just a wish that I made in my heart. One morning, as I walked through the foyer at the top of our stairs, the subtle but unmistakable smell of violets filled the air around me. And shivers went up my spine. No one had used that scent since Nanna passed. Except for my son, I was alone at home. There was nothing in my house that could have given off that scent. I just did not use it. So what had I smelt?
To this day, I don’t know. My rational brain tells me that the scent probably wafted in from outside. But violets have a very particular smell and, apart from the fact that there are no violets around our house, I would definitely not mistake the smell of any other flower for violets. My heart wants me to believe that my Nanna came to see my little one and that the scent was for me to know that she had. I am sure that my mother (who is not prone to flights of fantasy like I am) will tell me that there is probably a reasonable scientific explanation to this. And maybe there is. Someone else may tell me that I imagined it. And maybe I did. What is the real explanation? What do I want to believe? I think that that is the crux of the matter.
As Suze rightly pointed out in Houdini’s Wife, there are some things that are deliberately veiled from us. A few of us are able to penetrate the veil a little more than others. But none of us can see all the way through. I do not believe that there is a scientific explanation for all the strange events that happen in the world. Somewhere between logic and imagination lies another realm and, sometimes, on very rare occasions, we are allowed, in the words of Jim Morrison, to ‘break on through to the other side’.
For those of you that celebrate it, Happy Halloween.