Are There The Ghosts At Holiday Celebrations?

21 Sep

Another holiday.  A festive meal. Visits with family and close friends. Celebrating. But as I entered the room for dinner, for a moment I saw my Dad the last time he celebrated a holiday at my friend’s home. And next to him was their mother.  Both passed away years ago. But I saw them smiling and talking. 

This is not the first time I saw a vision of a loved one who has passed at a holiday table or at a special event. I am sure some think it is just my imagination or a vivid memory.  Perhaps it is both. 

But I am not so sure. 

How can a vivid memory describe the moment at my daughter’s wedding when, for a brief moment, I saw my parents standing to the side smiling. Was it something I wanted to see so badly, that my brain produced the image for me? Perhaps. 

But what about those times when I can still hear my mother’s voice as I am preparing a holiday meal. I do not use recipes, I just listen to that inner voice telling me what to do next. But that voice is always my Mom or one of my Grandma’s.  So are they there?

Or when I went to purchase holiday challah. At first I thought I would just get one round raisen challah.  We really do not need two challah. But then there was My grandfather’s image pointing to the plain challah as well. Yes I purchased both. Grandpa was a baker, so I had to follow his advice. 

At our Catskills home I have the most vivid images.  One day this summer, as my sister stood at the kitchen sink, I saw two images next to her.  Both my Mom and Grandma stood there and each was superimposed on the kitchen that existed in their time.  It was just an instant, but for a moment I was in a time warp. My sister, my Mom and my Grandma all standing at the sink speaking to me. (They were probably all giving me instructions!)

We have spent over fifty years in the house in Kauneonga Lake, and the memories are so strong there.  We spent many Rosh Hashannah holidays eating a festive meal and preparing for the new year. But there are also so many summer memories infused in the being of the house.  It is not difficult to imagine a loved one walking in the rooms along side me. 

There are ghosts of people I knew in my synagogue as well. Since I go regularly, I am used to people sitting in certain seats. They are not assigned. But people seem to find a place that is comfortable and so sit there every week. I have my seat and from my vantage point I can close my eyes and envision the room filled with those who passed. 

Recently a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor passed.  When I turn quickly I still see him smiling as he sits in his seat, his walker close by. Other survivors who passed fill the seats as well. When I see their children and grandchildren still coming to synagogue, I feel their spirit of joy in the congregation. 

But the most poignant for me happened about two months ago. I noticed a young man come in to shul with his wife and newborn son. They walked directly to the seat where his grandfather always sat. He sat in his grandfather’s seat holding his son, whose name was a memory for his grandfather. I really thought I could see Sol smiling at his grandson and great grandson filling his seat. It is one of my new favorite memories.  

I believe when someone dies they do not totally disappear.  A bit of them, an essence, stays behind. A smell, a sound, a place can bring their memory and their spirit/presence  back to us. I hope I always see and sense the ghosts of the ones I love at my holiday and other celebrations. 

10 Responses to “Are There The Ghosts At Holiday Celebrations?”

  1. Sherry September 21, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

    Hi. “I believe when someone dies they do not totally disappear”. Very sad. Thank you. (stroke, speech).

    • zicharon September 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm #

      I think more happy. Cause a big of them stays with you for ever.

      • zicharon September 22, 2017 at 12:00 am #

        A bit of them stays with you, not a big. Have a sweet and happy year Sherry!

  2. Amy September 22, 2017 at 7:01 am #

    I think we need these visions, memories, whatever, to give us comfort because for all of us, those ghosts were a part of our lives we don’t want to lose. Our neighbor on the cape, an artist, made a sculpture that sits on the side of her cottage that faces ours. Every time I see it, I see my grandmother watching over me. It’s uncanny.

    And I do the same thing at our synagogue—look for the people who once sat here or there during the High Holidays. Some have died, but perhaps more sadly, many have just moved away, and their kids are gone as well. Our community is shrinking and aging. It’s very sad.

    • zicharon September 22, 2017 at 8:52 am #

      I have a photo of my great grandma that I keep by my desk. She died in the Shoah, but I am named for her. So I always believed she watches over me.
      I am glad you also see the synagogue elders!! But yes our congregation is also shirking. In Kansas we have so much intermarriage. So many either stop attending services or change to reform congregation.

      • Amy September 24, 2017 at 6:58 am #

        Same here, although it’s also demographics. Young Jewish (and non-Jewish) families aren’t moving here, our kids don’t stay here, our generation is retiring and moving away, and the old-old are dying. It’s very sad.

      • zicharon September 24, 2017 at 9:09 am #

        The transfer to big cities. But with internet access, I think it might change back. We have many more orthodox families moving in because so much cheaper to live in Kansas.

  3. thegenealogygirl September 26, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    I absolutely believe our family members are still with us. I have had several very personal and special moments where I knew exactly who was with me, helping me, comforting me, cheering me on. ❤

    • zicharon September 26, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

      Perhaps those of us interested in genealogy feel their presence?

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