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The Roses

March 14, 2013

As promised, to mark the release of Flowers On My Grave on Kindle, here is the second of the true ghost stories. If I had been a non-believer before this event, I was a convert from that moment on. It happened when my first wife was still alive. She came from a large family. From memory I think there were nine of them all told. I teased her that the reason was there was no TV in those days. Three of her siblings had already died and the events I am about to describe followed the death of her younger brother.

He had been a Royal Marine, but left the Royal Navy to pursue a career as a commercial artist. He was extremely talented and wound up working in London. Sadly, it was his work that would be a contributory factor in his early death. Part of the task involved the use of cellulose spray. This was carried out in an enclosed booth without masks or ventilation. The cellulose settled on his lungs, with fatal consequences.

As we travelled south to the funeral, my wife suggested it would be nice to buy a single red rose for each member of the family; these to be placed on the coffin. Although we had already organized a wreath, I liked the idea, and we stopped at a florist’s shop in the town in Kent where the funeral was to take place. The flowers were duly placed on the coffin, and the sad farewell took place.

Several months later, back home in Yorkshire, a friend who lived close by in our village phoned to invite my wife to an evening with a medium. I was slightly surprised when she accepted, because she was a down to earth, practical person. Of course, I teased her about it, saying as she went out, ‘Don’t forget to check if there are any messages for me,’ and then settled down to watch TV.

She returned earlier than I expected, and immediately asked me to pour her a whisky. This was almost unheard of. Gin, yes, but whisky, never. It was as I poured the drink that I noticed how pale and upset she looked. I asked what was wrong. I have to ask you to bear in mind that she had never met the medium before, and he had absolutely no knowledge of our circumstances. Furthermore, our village in North Yorkshire was hundreds of miles away from where the funeral had taken place. What she told me made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It still does, thinking about it all these years later.

‘I went into the room and even as we were shaking hands, the medium told me he had a message for me from someone who had recently passed to the other side. The medium described him as a tall, dark-haired man in a dark blue uniform, like a naval officer.’ And the message? Thank you for the roses, they were lovely.

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