The Lady in White By Karri Ann Allrich When I was going through a thorny period in my days of early motherhood, I had an experience with a female ghost that was at first unnerving, but eventually developed into a concerned, even comforting awareness. My marriage was in trouble. I had two small sons, and devoted my energy and effort to taking care of them; protecting them from the conflicts and struggles with their father. One midsummer night as I lay sleeping, I was
stirred awake by a rising sense of unease. At first I suspected mother’s instinct, and inclined one ear toward the open bedroom door, listening for the children. There was no sound. My husband was sound asleep next to me, oblivious. I waited in the dark, hearing nothing. Still I felt uneasy. I turned over on my back and listened harder. Suddenly I began to feel my skin prickle, as if I was being observed. I sat upright in bed and looked toward the bedroom door. There she was—a woman, silently watching me. Her appearance was filmy, not solid. There was no flesh and blood. This was a separate reality, a spirit from another world. A ghost. The moment I sat up and caught her image, she turned and vanished. Her quick departure held a certain shyness about it, as if she were embarrassed that she had been detected! I was astounded, and no longer sleepy. I thought about her for the rest of the night, and I could not imagine why she was lingering in my bedroom. Our house was 50 years old, hardly antique. And no one had died in it. I mentioned the encounter to no one—especially not to the boys. It was two weeks later when she appeared again. I was lying in the dark, restless with a foreboding sense of doom about my marriage, when I sensed her presence. This time when I glanced in her direction, she lingered for a moment before disappearing. I had the definite intuition that she was trying to tell me something. Over the course of that fitful summer, I would catch glimpses of her out of the corner of my eye, even during daylight. She seemed to linger in the bedroom, or the hallway just outside the bedroom door. I was no longer unnerved by her presence, just mildly curious. I never told anyone about her. One rainy afternoon my older son was sitting on the family room floor amidst the usual tumble of construction paper, books and toys, drawing pictures with colored markers.
I was walking down the hall, coming from my bedroom. He looked up at me, then back down at his project before asking, quite casually, “Mom, who’s that lady behind you?” I stood very still, astonished. He had seen her too! “What lady?” I asked. “The lady in the white dress. I’ve seen her before.” I sat down with my son and told him, “She is a guardian spirit, perhaps an angel. She is watching over us. Are you afraid of her?” “Not really,” he answered. By the end of the summer, my husband was gone, at my request. There was a sense of peace in the house. I had discovered that he had betrayed me, not once, but with several women. After his departure, I never saw the woman in white again. Looking back, I believe she had tried to warn me about the infidelity. I may never know her true connection to me, or why she appeared only to my firstborn son and me, but I will always be grateful. Her spirit was gentle, and her presence comforting. She reminded me that we are never alone, even through terrible times. [Karri Ann Allrich is an artist and the author of A Witch’s Book of Dreams; Cooking By Moonlight; and Recipes from a Vegetarian Goddess. She shares her Massachusetts home and studio with her soulmate and husband Steve Allrich, also an artist and author. You may visit her on the Web at: www.karriannallrich.cjb.net]