The man on the stairs: Why was he in my home?

A glimpse into read­ers’ lives

Chat It's Fate - - Contents -

H elp­ing my daugh­ter Ni­cola change her new-born baby, we both gasped in sur­prise.

‘Look at that,’ Ni­cola said. ‘He’s got a birth mark ex­actly the same as Bampa’s!’

Bampa was our name for my fa­ther-in-law, Bryn, who’d died of a heart at­tack a few months be­fore. My daugh­ter Ni­cola was dev­as­tated that he’d died with­out meet­ing his first great­grand­child.

Birth­mark

Now, look­ing at her beau­ti­ful baby Josh, we were amazed to see ex­actly the same odd-shaped birth mark as Bryn had, in the same place as his, un­der the ribs.

‘I knew Bampa was look­ing af­ter me all the time,’ Ni­cola smiled. Strangely, the birth mark dis­ap­peared the next day, but Bryn did make an­other ap­pear­ance in Josh’s life. At two years old and an ad­ven­tur­ous tod­dler, he was very in­de­pen­dent – and this in­cluded tak­ing him­self off to the bath­room on his own. We used to lis­ten out for him from down­stairs, and one day we heard him stop on the stairs and start chat­ting, as though he was talk­ing to some­one.

‘Who were you talk­ing to?’ Ni­cola asked. ‘Nana’s friend,’ he replied.

‘Which friend?’ I asked, puz­zled. We both knew the house was empty.

‘The man in that pic­ture – the one with the hat,’ said Josh. He pointed across the room to a photo of my mother-in-law with Bryn.

We asked him for more de­tails and he de­scribed Bryn per­fectly, from his coat to his glasses. He told us Bryn had asked him if he was a good boy, to which Josh had replied, ‘Yes’. Bryn had chat­ted to him a bit more, then told him, ‘Be good for your mummy,’ be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing. Sospe­cial I’m so glad he came back and vis­ited Josh. Bryn was a very spe­cial per­son – a lovely man who was not afraid of death, maybe be­cause he lived and worked in a ceme­tery for much of his life. He used to say, ‘It’s not the dead you should be scared of – it’s the liv­ing.’

We think he also came back to visit Josh’s younger brother, Nathan, when he was a tod­dler, be­cause ex­actly the same thing hap­pened to him on the stairs – but Nathan re­acted dif­fer­ently, scream­ing out, ‘There’s a man here!’

Maybe Bryn vis­its the house be­cause they brought his body here af­ter he died, or maybe it’s just be­cause of his love for his fam­ily. What­ever the case, it’s won­der­ful to think he’s still watch­ing over us.

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Bryn had never feared death

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