Two or three times a day I check in on the panda twins at the Atlanta zoo. Yes, I’m hooked on the panda cam. If I’m lucky I’ll catch the seven month old babies at a time when they aren’t napping up at the top of a climbing structure in their day room. When they are wrestling and pawing at each other they are so adorable and sweet that it’s like eating a bowl full of my favorite flavor of ice cream. If I had an iPad and could take the panda cam wherever I go, I’d probably lose a few pounds. No more comfort food, I’d just watch the pandas instead. Of course along with the cute stuff we cam fans see the pandas do mundane things like pee, poop, eat and drink water and that got me to thinking about what it would be like if they had widow cams trained on we humans. And maybe “they” do….
In the widow’s memoir I’m reading now she tells about getting a complimentary tarot-card reading at a Mardi Gras party in her first year of her widowhood that made a believer out of her---that “they” are watching us. The tarot reader told her that her husband’s spirit was still around her every day and that her youngest child could see him. The widow hadn’t told a living soul that her toddler was still talking to her dad, as if he was in the room. She’d say things like, “Hi Daddy!” and “Daddy is on the ceiling!” and the widow was thinking there was something wrong with the child so she was afraid to talk to anyone about it. Most widows, including myself, will admit to feeling like there is a spirit around us in the early months following their spouse’s death but I’ve read nothing as dramatic as this widow’s experience. She went on to say she’d seen other mediums after that, but thought there were too many bad ones out there. So don’t go wasting your money trying to find the good, needle-in-the-haystack medium that might actually be in tune with the spirits, if there is such a thing.
As much as we might have loved our spouses---and of course not all widows can say that but for those of us who can, I wonder if I’m the only one who finds it a little unsettling that my life could be in full view of spirits I may or may not know…not unlike voyeurs who watch the panda and other animal cams around the earth. Do they see me poop and pee? Do they see me when I don’t get dressed until noon or skip taking a shower because I have no place to go that day? Or worse yet do they see me in the shower with all my flaws in full view? Are we widows like The Truman Show to the spirits? “Hey, come see what my wife is up today! Can you believe she’s doing that?”
A few days before I read the above mentioned tarot-card incident I had one of those mysterious things happen that made me wonder if there was a ghost in the house. I had been working on the computer, which is in a large wardrobe in my breakfast nook and I had been walking around the kitchen getting breakfast and pills, feeding the dog, making coffee etc., before settling down at the computer. The flooring is light colored and if there had been something on the floor I couldn’t have missed it. So imagine my surprise when I glanced across the room and right in the middle of the area where I’d been walking back and forth, was a dried oak leaf! If the dog had been outside I might have thought it came in on his long, schnauzer beard but he hadn’t been outside since the night before plus there is two foot of snow covering the landscape. My monthly cleaning lady vacuums and mops all the floors so it couldn’t have been hiding in a corner since fall. Nope, I could not solve the mystery of where it came from nor could I decide---if it was another ghost game---what the heck was my husband trying to tell me this time? Then I read the tarot-card incident and I wondered if it somehow tied into the oak leaf mystery, like my ghost of a husband was trying to tell me to pay attention to the signs and so-call coincidences all around me.
Because I google everything under the sun, I googled “oak tree+symbolism” and the first thing I came across was at Wikipedia: “To the Druids, the oak represented doorways to other realms — it was believed to provide protection and shelter when passing through to other realms. It was considered the giver of great powers and was most exalted of all trees by the Druids. Their most spiritual places were in oak groves.” My husband was of Irish descent, from an area known to have been inhabited by ancient Druids and Celtic people. Knowing my husband was proud of his Irish heritage and reading “doorways to other realms” gave me chills. Could the leaf's appearance be another sign? And if that were true then we very well might be starring in live color on ‘widow cams for the dead' which is __________ <pick your own word to fill in this blank, I can't come up with one right now!> Creepy? Comforting? Unsettling? Pleasing? Scary? Not a surprise? Making me want to shower with my clothes on! ©