BY SARAH FADER
When my son, Ari, was three years old, he started seeing things. Now, they weren’t hallucinations, but he is a spiritual child and is highly intuitive. One day, in our brownstone in Brooklyn, Ari was trying to sleep. He had trouble getting himself to bed and seemed preoccupied. He was looking in front of himself as if there was someone or something standing there. I asked what he was looking at and he said “old grandma is here!” I said “do you mean grandma?” and he replied “no, old grandma! She’s wearing black and white and she visits me sometimes.” I immediately knew that he was looking at a ghost. I wasn’t creeped out, because I believe in spirits and I believe in ghosts. I’ve never seen anything myself, but I know that my child is very connected.
I’m an intuitive individual. I do read tarot and believe in things that are “new age-y,” so I wasn’t surprised that my child inherited that quality. In addition to Ari seeing this “old grandma” person, I noticed some strange things about my house. One of the things that happened during that time period is that when our house became messy, objects would fall on the ground randomly, and would often shatter on the floor. For example, there was one instance where there was a pile of papers on the table in the kitchen and a mug was on top of them. The mug wasn’t in a precarious position, but I saw it fall on the floor and break. I knew that this was the result of a spirit, and I connected it to the woman that Ari was seeing. I had my friends mother come over and see if she detected any ghosts because she is Brazilian and comes from a background that prompted her to believe in ghosts as well. I find that cultures outside of the United States are more open to these things.
I decided to ask her if she’d check it out. There were two doors that lead to my office. During the evening, the doors would abruptly slam shut. Sometimes, they’d do this during the day, but it was mostly at night. I asked my friend's mom if she’d take a look in the office. As soon as she approached the office, the doors slammed in her face and almost hit her nose, I knew that something was up. The doors weren’t closing because there was wind blowing or anything like that. They were randomly shutting and I was extremely confused. My friend's mom said that this “old grandma” person was a Victorian lady, she suspected. Rather, I told her that I thought it was a Victorian woman because that’s what I picked up on using my own intuition. Plus, I knew that the brownstone was old. My friend's mom talked to this “old grandma” person and found that she was there because she wanted to protect my kids.
Upon discovering this piece of information, I was not afraid of her. I still found it annoying that she’d knock things over and break them. Another thing is that she didn’t want to leave our house. Old grandma was upset when the house was messy and would break things frequently to express this to us. I asked my friend's mom what to do to fix this situation, and she said that the old woman was stubborn. “Old grandma” wouldn’t leave.. She wanted to look after the kids, and for me to keep the house clean. I’m disorganized and messy; I have ADHD, so this is understandable. My ex-husband was the cleaner of the relationship, so he took care of that more often than I did.
Old grandma visited Ari for years. I used to ask him about old grandma periodically because I wanted him to remember her. Now, he’s ten years old. I asked him about her the other day to see if he recalled anything. He doesn’t remember the story at all, which is interesting. We’ve since left Brooklyn, but I believe that “old grandma” is still there, hanging out on the third floor of my old home on Bergen street. If you’re reading this, old grandma, hello! Thank you for influencing us to keep our house tidy. The lesson that I want readers to take away from this is that if you’re living with a ghost, you don’t need to be afraid. They may not be harmful. They might actually be there to help you (or, in my case, remind you to clean.)
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Eliezer Tristan Publishing Company, where she is dedicated to sharing the words of authors who endure and survive trauma and mental illness. She is also the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The HuffingtonPost, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York. Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with Bipolar type II, OCD ADHD, and PTSD. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.