A shade was hanging out in the corner of the elevator, looming and angry. It was a short ride up from the parking garage and before I could get a good look, the doors opened on my floor. A couple waited for me to exit, so I bid the hovering spirit so long. I knew I’d see that ghost again; he was filled with pain and longing.
His name was Steve. I saw him several times in an underground parking structure and the elevator. He was always dripping wet, cold and shivering; sodden hair that looked black streamed down his thin, narrow face that held equally dark and suspicious eyes. It took me a little while to get to know Steve. He didn’t entirely comprehend that I was actually talking to him and that I could see him. He’d been ignored or run from for some time and his thoughts were angry, frustrated and mistrustful.
When he did talk it was with a sullen, depressed air; he’d tell me he drowned in the nearby canal which didn’t make a whole lot of sense. No one swims in it; it’s kind of a nasty place with lots of big ships passing through. This spirit was reluctant to talk about the cause of his own demise because whenever I’d try to get longer conversations going his energy would get prickly and irritating, right before he disappeared. Then one day I saw him standing in a dark corner across from my truck.
“Hey there.” I said, cautiously. He hadn’t yet told me his name. He grabbed anxiously at his left elbow, a reflexive tic and glanced furtively side-to-side.
“Hi.” It no longer held a sullen tone, but was still cautious. “You really can see me. No one else can. It’s weird.”
“It’s sort of what I do.” I said.
“I can tell some people know I’m around, but it scares them, and they don’t ever look at me or talk to me. Sometimes they jump.” That brought on a tiny, spiteful smile.
“That must be pretty frustrating, all these people around and no one wants to be near you.” He just nodded, now looking hurt.
I am pretty straightforward with the dead, because there’s just no way to soft-pedal it.
“Look, you do know you’re dead, right?”
His dark eyes locked on mine, and I could tell he wanted to deny it, but it would only be a half-hearted lie.
“Yeah, I drowned.” Instead of trying to get out of him what he was doing in the canal, I just nodded.
“Okay, but are you getting tired of hanging out in this parking garage?”
“I can’t leave.” He said it with definite finality. “I’m stuck here.”
I laughed. “No, you’re not stuck at all. You just think you are. Would you like to get unstuck?” He frowned at me, disbelief once more crawling across his features.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, do you want to go home, get out of here and go join your loved ones?”
“You mean like, Heaven?”
“Sure, if you like.”
“I can’t, I don’t deserve that and I’m afraid if I leave this garage of where I’ll end up. This kind of sucks, but it beats frying for eternity.”
At this point, he was still across the driveway from me. I took a moment to consult with my spirit guides and call them in for assistance. I felt their loving presence surround me and support me. I then invited the spirit to come closer, to join me in the car.
“It’ll make it easier to talk and I have to get on the road before traffic hits. You can ride along with me, and decide if you want to cross the veil or not.”
He blinked once or twice and blinked out. I felt the familiar astral wind of a passing spirit and then a ghost was seated next to me in my car. This close I could see the drops of water beaded on his face.
“Do you want to tell me your name yet?”
“Why aren’t you afraid of me?” He was almost indignant. “If a ghost had talked to me, or jumped into my car I’d’ve freaked the shit out.”
I started the ignition and turned to face him.
“Because you’re not the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. You just look lost and lonely and like you could use someone to talk to, so I’m offering to talk, but I’m driving out now. You can come along or not, it’s your choice.”
His head cocked but his attitude changed. He didn’t smile, but his energy lightened and he warmed up to me. I drove out of the garage and he looked around.
“Wow!” Yeah, he really said that. “I forgot what the sun looked like.” He was quiet for a few seconds, watching the play of sunlight on clouds and water passing beyond the window of the car.
“Steve. My name is Steve.” We were pulling around the corner and up onto the riser of the bridge crossing the canal. It’s quite tall and famous for it’s suicides. An image formed in my head, of climbing the rail, looking down and the sickly sensation of plummeting. A few moments later, Steve confirmed he was one of its many victims.
“Never thought I’d see this view again.” He said it conversationally, almost lightly but I could hear the strain in his voice.
“You jumped?” It wasn’t exactly a question.
“You know, I really thought the impact would have killed me. It’s so high! I was so high. It kinda sucked, the drowning part. I hadn’t thought about that.”
“Why’d you do it? What was so horrible in your life that you thought ending it would solve it?”
Now he turned angry eyes on me again.
“I was a bad person, okay! I stole from people, I did drugs, and I hurt people. I hurt my family.” The last was a mutter and he went quiet, jaw set. Steve never did tell me why, but that’s his prerogative.
Talking with a ghost isn’t like a having a conversation with your BFF. They don’t always use words. Instead they will often project an image, a sensory feeling or an emotion. He didn’t so much tell me what he’d done as show me. He was right; he really wasn’t a very nice guy in life. However, escaping the body means escaping the worries and hang ups of mortal life. Trouble is, some people don’t let go after they die and that can keep them earthbound.
He rode silently for the rest of the drive, fading in and out, but by the time I got home he was still around, perched on the passenger seat. Steve followed me into the house, looking around, amazed to be out of the underground garage.
“How’d you get me out of there?”
“You got yourself out. I just reminded you that you could.”
I went into my meditation space and looked at Steve. He was prowling around the room, looking out the windows and peering at my knickknacks. He didn’t seem to notice my spirit guides standing near me at first. With one exception, my animal spirit guardian, a large black dog who paced to always position himself between Steve and myself.
“I don’t think your dog likes me much.” He was back to semi-hostile.
“He’s just doing his job and he is kind of protective. He won’t hurt you though as long as you’re not trying to hurt me or mine.” I projected trust and confidence with my next words. “I’m sure you’re not thinking anything of the sort, right?”
Steve relaxed fractionally and became curious.
“What am I doing here, anyway?”
I lifted my hands in a shrug.
“Whatever you want to do. It’s your choice. You can wander around this neighborhood, you can go back to the garage or you can go home by crossing the veil.”
I asked my guides to bring the veil in close and to call in Steve’s loved ones, family that had already passed, spirit guides and guardian angels, to come and assist him across and home.
He didn’t want to go. He saw it and the angels there to help him and kind of freaked. Still fearful of wrathful deities because he’d done bad things in life, he backed away from crossing.
I asked my guides to pull the veil back and calmed Steve down.
“I’m sorry, it wasn’t my intention to frighten you.” I told him. “Relax; you’re perfectly safe here. Nothing’s going to harm you, I promise.” I did my best to project soothing thoughts but Steve was not listening.
Frightened, he disappeared but was back the next day.
“What’s ‘crossing the veil’ and did I really see an angel?”
We had a little chat about what he had seen; that he didn’t have anything to fear and that his loved ones truly were waiting for him on the other side. No punishment, no judgment, just welcome home. It took him several days, but eventually he chose to go and join those waiting for him. He passed through the veil, waving to me and wearing a smile bright as the sun. A day or two later he came back to say thank you.