Message from a Friend | A Ghost Story

The following fiction story is based upon a real paranormal experience. The names have been changed to protect the witnesses.

**Listen to the Original True Story as told by Edgar Mills (first segment)

I Don’t Believe

I never believed it. If someone told me, one afternoon over coffee, “Hey Sally, the ghost of a close friend visited my daughter before moving on to heaven.” That’s crazy. Right?

That was before the morning of October 12th so many years back.

I’ll always think back to the night of the 11th. Trying to remember the peace of being ignorant to the truth.

I don’t believe in ghosts. Well, guess I should say, ‘didn’t believe’. Even as a child, hearing different friends tell stories over the years.

Like Jane Talson hearing a voice in her closet. A little boy she called Harry. Conversations about his life. Only realizing later how vivid the stories were. Not from the mind of a child, talking of an ancient world with horse drawn carriages and poufy dresses.

Or as an adult when talking with a onetime friend named Holly. I’ll never forget the story of her father dying in a fire. Saying his ghost returned in nightmares. The horrific descriptions of his burnt face. Still makes me shudder.

I’m surprised I don’t have neck problems. Decades of politely nodding along as my logical mind judged them. Returning thoughts… kids normally have imaginary friends from an undeveloped brain. And Holly, it’s just a nightmare. We all get them.

That’s what I thought. Until that October 12th, when something happened to my daughter, Janey.

My Friend is Dead

It was years ago, yet the feeling remains strong, like it happened yesterday.

Janey was only 5 years old when one of my dearest friends, John Coppen, died suddenly. They said it was a heart attack, in the morning while still in his bed with his wife, Milly.

We lived only a mile away. First meeting while walking our dog one evening. My husband and I struck up a conversation I’d normally avoid. But John and his wife were different.

Milly was great, but I felt a real kinship with John. Now please, don’t get the wrong idea. I love my husband very much. No tall dude with 6-pack abs will ever change that.

It was a unique feeling I’d only heard of in books. Of knowing a person, a stranger like John, as if we’d been friends forever.

We went for coffee all the time. Talked about everything from politics to movie stars. Back and forth, deep in conversation void of awkwardness. Finishing each others sandwiches.

Then on October 12th at 5:30am, a paramedic called us.

He was a friend of my husband, and knew we were friends with the Coppens.

“Hey man, sorry to wake you. I just heard a call over the radio for…” I overheard the address, muffed by my husband’s ear pressed against his phone.

I’ll never forget the dull pain around my heart, while mouthing, No.

My husband shook his head, “Thanks Brad. I’m heading over now.”

He hung up the phone and didn’t need to say a word. My husband rushed to John’s house. I later heard he arrived minutes before the ambulance.

And I stayed home with our daughter. Janey had heard her daddy on the phone. Came into the bedroom just after he left.

“Don’t worry honey, everything’s fine”, I told her as she crawled into the bed beside me. Looking up, and I paused. Her eyes were different.

Thinking back now, I’d describe the look as wisdom. But at the time I dismissed it, choosing instead my cluttered mind feeding me worry.

Janey fell asleep on my lap, but I couldn’t relax. Slowly pushing out, I lowered her head to the pillow. I got up, walked out and shut the bedroom door behind me.

It was around 6:15am when my husband called. “Hey sweetie. I have terrible news. John died. I’m so sorry.”

I couldn’t speak. Images of John’s smiling face across the table. Thoughts that once comforted me, now caused pain.

“Do you want me to come back home?”

“No, I’ll be okay. You should stay with Milly.”

“Ya, I was thinking the same thing.” I heard Milly’s voice in the background. “She wants to talk…” Rustling before her low, strained voice, “Sally…”

“Milly, I’m so sorry about John.”

Though sobs, “…thanks. Hey, ah, not sure how to understand it. But I think you need to know. Just before he…” Silence, broke by a quick intake of breath. “…before he stop moving, John said something. Just assumed it was sleep talking, but I don’t know.”

“What is it Milly?”

“He mumbled something. I didn’t hear that, But then, very clearly, he said ‘bye-bye Sally’. I don’t know. Just felt you need to know.”

“Thanks for telling me Milly…” I felt tense.

That silent pause with a grieving human, kindly broken by Milly. “I’ve got to go. I’m told the coroner will be here soon.” And the phone cut out.

Janey’s Message

It was around 10am when my daughter woke. I heard the bedroom door open. Little bare feet pattered into the living room, as Janey pulled herself up on the couch beside me.

She crawled into my lap and snuggled up to my shoulder. I melted into a hug. Her warmth pulled sadness from me, and her hair smelled of strawberries.

It almost lulled me into a much needed nap. Then I jumped, when Janey said, “John Coppen came to see me.”

The words didn’t arrive at once. Seemed spoken from miles away, sound traveling far beyond my ears. I leaned back and looked at her. Her eyes were wide, a slight smile across her lips. “What did you say?”.

She nodded, “Yep, he was in the room. Afta you left. He talked from the window. Said bye-bye to you mommy”.

I didn’t know what to say. But had to make sure, I finally asked, “What did the man look like?”

“He was darkness…” That was her word for when the lights were off.

“Darkness? How’d you know it was Uncle?”

She crunched up her face, “I don’t know!”

Many thoughts ran through my mind as I reached for easy answers. A second voice shot them all down.

How can Janey know John’s full name? Saying it as plain as day. She called him Uncle, and Milly was Auntie. Did she hear it after bedtime? Remembering all the times they gossiped over wine.

But then a terrible realization of the timing. It was right after John’s death. Janey didn’t know John died… she doesn’t know what death was!

That moment has stayed with me for years. To this day, years later, sitting here at my desk and typing the story into a Chromebook.

Followed by a vivid memory of Janey jumping down from the couch and running off to play. Leaving me alone with silence, and time to sort my thoughts through the dread of doing so.

Years have passed and the pain has subsided. Nowadays, I love thinking back, fully believing it was John. That death couldn’t stop him from saying goodbye.

And each time wondering, what if I didn’t get up? If I stayed in the bedroom with Janey. Became the second witness to this beautiful experience. Seeing my friend’s shadow block out the rising sun.

I’d like to think I’d feel peace.

Nah, I’d be freakin’ terrified!

After Death Visitation Video – Understanding the real experience

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