Ask Alma

Alma Gill

By Alma Gill
NNPA Columnist


The Mother Ghost

Dear Alma,

I have a friend and we’ve known each other most of our lives. We’ve spent many years together going on family vacations, dealing with marriages and divorce. We had children around the same time and we’ve always been there for each other. We are now at the stage where you take care of your parents. I’m not taking care of my mom, she’s in a nursing home, but my friend decided to take care of her mom at home. Her mother recently died, but before she died, she told my friend that she would come back and visit her. My friend believes that her mother is back in the house. She told me the lights are blinking on and off in one room and she also said there’s one step that squeaks now that never did before. I think that’s crazy and she thinks it’s her mother. What’s the best way to explain to her, her mother cannot come back from the grave? 

Name withheld


Hold up, wait – it could happen…shaking my head, naaawwww, LOL, I don’t think so.

If you’ve followed Ask Alma for half a minute, you’d know I’ve lost my mother, father and one and only big sister Kim, so when it comes to grieving, I’m at the head of the line. I never thought my sister was gonna die, even when she was in a coma. I would talk to her and say, “You can open your eyes now, it’s just me in the room.” After she died, I had to pretend she was in the Bahamas, unreachable for the first six years. I remember telling my father, I don’t know what I’ll do without you. He lovingly answered, “Yes you will, you’ll know.”  When it came to my mama, don’t you dare speak the words. I could not even entertain the thought. My heart broke, I was broken. Some might call it irrational, but you’ll never know until it happens to you.

As far as your friend is concerned, like my mother use to say, if you go looking for it honey, you’ll find it. Well, actually she said, if you keep stirring sh*t, you’ll start to smell it, but we’re a PG publication here, so let’s just keep it moving, LOL.  Humans, unlike our furry K-9 friends, don’t go looking for something for the sake of looking. We always have an agenda, an inkling, something that doesn’t sit right in our belly. You know what I’m saying. She’s looking, so just let her look. Yea, she’s stretching, but that’s her broken rubber band to bend.

I’m not sure why her mom would tell her something like that, although we’ve all got our “Why did my mama say that?” stories to tell. If she believes her mom can operate her lights from heaven, it’s nothing you or I can say or do to change that. And why should we? When I see a beautiful red bird, I say hello to my grandmother, she loved birds. I don’t think the red bird is my grandmother, just like if the lights are flickering in my house, my first thought is to change the bulb.

This, my friend, is not a dilemma you should elect yourself to correct. Let her look for her mama in every twinkling star and tri-color rainbow she can find. As long as she’s paying her electric bill and ain’t breaking any laws, l say, let her grieve her mama as she pleeze.



Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.


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Alma Gill

Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma

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