Saturday, June 11, 2011

I Still See Pap!

Death is a difficult subject for adults to understand. Children have an even harder time trying to grasp the concept. That someone they love is not coming back.


When a family experiences the death of a loved one, adults may try to explain to the kids that their deceased loved one is in heaven or a better place. Most people believe in an afterlife in which the soul or spirit that was inhabiting a human body continues to live in some realm of consciousness. Yet many adults tell children that their loved one doesn’t exist anymore. It’s hard for kids to understand and accept this as reality—especially when they continue to see the one who is supposed to be “deceased.”

My grandfather, whom we called Pap, died in 1988. That was more than a year before my brother and his wife had children. Imagine the surprise when their first-born son was about two or three years old and reported that Pap was in his room at night!

Being fundamentalist Christians, we did not take well to having spirits messing with our kids. We concluded that this entity could not be Pap for three reasons: 1.) according to the teachings of our religion, Pap was in heaven and could not possibly manifest on Earth; 2.) my nephew was afraid of the entity, so it must not have been a friendly spirit—although my grandfather was quite a jokester; 3.) our family did not believe in ghosts; therefore, they could not visit us! But we did believe in demons so we rationalized that we were under attack. We exorcised the child’s room and forbade the evil presence from coming near my nephew again. Ghosts comply with our requests when we intentionally set strong boundaries. Sadly, Pap did not return.

As I look back on that event from a different and non-religious perspective, I should have realized that the visitor was indeed Pap. Since my nephew had never met his great-grandfather, he would not have called the visitor Pap unless the ghost had identified himself as such. Those of us who knew Pap could have embraced the visitation with love and gratitude rather than fear and retaliation. The way we handled this episode caused my nephew to be fearful of the spirit world.

My grandmother and I had been visited by Pap’s spirit several times since he had passed. But I somehow dismissed all remembrance of those events when my nephew reported seeing Pap. Our experience conflicted with our dogma. Now, I jokingly say that if your experience doesn’t align with your theology, by all means change your experience! We couldn’t possibly alter our beliefs!

Pap loved my brother and me very much and I’m sure he would loved to have known our children. It was only natural that he would visit us and them from time to time just to check in.

If your child reports seeing a ghost, validate his experience so he will continue to trust his intuition. There is nothing to fear. In fact, this event can provide the perfect opportunity to bring better understanding about the unseen realm and death. You might ask the child if he knows the ghost’s name. If he identifies a loved one who has passed, find out if the ghost has a message for the family or if there is something the family can do for the ghost. Many times our disembodied loved ones simply stop by briefly to let us know all is well in the afterlife or to see how everyone is doing. If this is the case the spirit visitor will probably leave on its own.

However, if the family agrees that the ghost needs to leave immediately and not come back, you can lovingly set boundaries with the spirit. Simply call upon the angels of light and love to lead the spirit to a peaceful place in the afterlife where the soul development can continue.

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Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and editor, award-winning Amazon.com bestselling author, podcast host, blogger, and keynote speaker. She is a graduate of American Institute of Holistic Theology where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics. http://writersinthesky.com/

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