My father died on Halloween, as the sky turned from dusk to dark. The lights inside continued to glow, illuminating his sallow countenance and catching the barely perceptible rise and fall of a chest drawing its last morphine-glazed breaths.
If this were a ghost tale, I would linger on the symbolism of the day. I would illustrate my story with dark forms created by wind that swirled leaves around barren trees. I would recall ominous shadows outside the window, unexplained creaks in the walls or flickers of light drifting into the sky. These would be false. He did not believe in spirits and none made their presence known that evening. The whir of machines, the soft footsteps of nurses and the muted conversation of family were the only backdrop for his exit from life.
Like my father, I do not believe in ghosts. Yet, I hear his laughter as a breeze flows through his wind chimes. I see him in the work of leathery hands that preferred action over sentiment. I feel his presence in a heart that longs to see him one more time. Another year passes. I am still haunted.