Soul Ghosts

Vivian - Beaufort, South Carolina
Entered on February 15, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65

Soul Ghosts

I believe in ghosts, soul ghosts whose invisible aura sets me apart like DNA. I

believe every person houses a unique spirit, or, as Merriam Webster explains, “a seat of

life or intelligence.” When I am aware, I recognize more than the physical presence of

other people. I know there is a spirit, a ghost – the breath of God.

I woke up to a ringing telephone on February 13, 2009. It was my mother.

“Good,” she said. “Your home. Stacie called. There was a plane crash in Buffalo. Mark

wasn’t on it.”

The night before, I was delayed in the Newark airport for more than four hours

due to high winds, the same night Continental Flight 3407 crashed. A storm system,

traveling east, produced wind gusts reaching 59 mph. As I sat in the last seat of US

Airways Flight 2621, waiting to take off from the only runway open to incoming and

outbound flights, the sway of the plane, and the bowing wing tips, caused me to pray –

for myself, for my fellow passengers, and for the crew.

“Can you feel that wind?” the young flight attendant asked.

“Yes” I said.

I had just called my husband to explain that I would be late and would probably

miss my connection in Charlotte.

“I love you,” I said before powering off my phone.

In small ways, I had reached out to many of my loved ones by email or phone

calls over the last few days. Now, from seat 22D, I made an act of contrition, sorry for

not offering to help the little girl pouring cranberry juice that morning at the breakfast

bar. Glad that I offered my cell to a woman whose calling card would not work at an

airport payphone. I reflected on a day of successes and missteps.

What could I have done better? Did I make a difference in anyone’s life as I

moved through the hours? Did I recognize the spirit in the receptionist, in the fellow

pumping gas, or in the washroom attendant? Did I sit beside someone on the shuttle, or

move through security with a person destined for Flight 3407? Walking ghosts. Spirits

who in a matter of minutes would move from the earth, to the sky, to the earth again –

heavy in ice- before entering heaven.

I believe in ghosts. They are all around me. How I choose to greet your spirit,

make eye contact with your soul, speak to your intelligence, or share the air between us,

matters. I may never have another chance to touch or be touched by you, and I forget


On Friday, as I waited in the barbershop, I watched televised pictures of the blaze

resulting from the ill-fated meeting of aircraft and home. I told the men in the shop I was

in Newark last night, and a guy in the chair said, “That plane must have been just behind

yours.” I believe it was. I felt the ghosts.