The other half of the ghost story…

I couldn’t put into words last week what meeting this author did.  Here was my original post:

Now, to complete what was actually going through my mind, I have composed this piece for you to read:

The Reappearance of the Pink Rose Petals

As told to me personally by the storyteller and writer L. B. Taylor, Jr.

At the Newport News Fall Festival, some years back (ended up being 1997), I was approached by an attractive, well-dressed lady named Mary.  She told me she had an experience I wouldn’t believe.  Of course, I had been told that before.  But this story is by far my favorite (I asked him to tell me his favorite “ghost” story).

Mr. Taylor is an older gentleman, and as he started this story, I felt connected to him as if my grandfather was telling me this tale.  So here is the tale as it was told to him:

When I was 12 years old, my grandmother died in Roanoke.  Her name was Mary Moody.  I was named after her.  I was always very close to her.  We had a special relationship.  I think she knew she was going to die, because a few days before she had given me her watch, which I had long admired.   She said she wouldn’t need it where she was going.  My grandfather had died a year earlier and I believe she dies grieving for him.

I must stop and use my own voice here to tell you why this gave me chills already.  I was very, very close with my own grandmother, Janie.  I was 17 years old when she was dying of cancer.  I refused to believe she would die up until the day before she passed away.  As the realization struck me what she was trying to tell me, I cried inconsolably.  I was given her watch by my grandfather and wore it every day after that until the chain broke one day and I was afraid of losing it, so I put it away.

At the church where the funeral service was held, as I looked down into the open casket, there were five small pink sweetheart roses in a little bouquet.  There was one for each of her grandchildren.  She had always loved pink roses.  Grandmother was buried wearing a beautiful pearl gray dressing gown.

My grandmother, Janie, also love pink and was buried in a pale pink casket with pinkish Gerbera daises around.

Thirteen years later, I was in the hospital.  A few months earlier I had had a very difficult birth delivery, and there were complications afterward.  I had cancer and it was serious. They were going to operate on me and they weren’t sure I would survive.  I was in an isolated room and only my husband could visit me.  There were no flowers in the room.  A priest was summoned.

Shortly before they were to take me to the operating room, a vision of my grandmother appeared to me, wearing the same pearl gray gown she had been buried in.  I was wide awake.  It was not a dream.  She smiled at me and said, “Don’t worry.  You will live to see your children’s children.”  And then the vision vanished. 

Nurses and attendants came into the room.  As they were lifting me from my hospital bed to a gurney, three pink rose petals fluttered to the floor.  As I said, there were no flowers in the room.  A nurse shouted, “Where the hell did they come from.”

That incident occurred more than 20 years ago, and my grandmother’s prophecy proved to be correct.  I survived the operation and there has been no recurrence of the cancer.  The doctors can’t explain it.

I believe the three pink rose petals represented symbols of my three children.  And I am convinced, as my grandmother told me, I will live to see my children’s children.

By the time he finished telling me this story, tears pricked behind my eyelids and my arms had chills.  You see, I needed to hear that story.  To this day, I miss my grandmother.  I have been having some health issues, and this made me think the story was yet another way she was telling me it was going to be okay.  Another odd fact, when I told my mother about this, she swore we had a copy of this book…that was my grandparents.  When she brought it to me, she said that the copyright was after they had both passed away.  No one remembered buying the book with this story in it, but there it was.

As told by Aimee Halpin in loving memory of Janie LaRue



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