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Always Proud

Layla, Victoria, Australia
December 2012

My father left my mother & I when I was only 3 months old, so growing up (I’m 17 now) it was always just my mother & I together. My mother would work at least two/three jobs at one time when I was growing up to support as both, as dad’s leaving was very sudden. If I was not spending time with my grandmother, I would be left in the care of Stanley & Margie (I have changed their names, just for privacy purposes for their sake - they were my mother’s close friends at the time) while she was at work.

My earliest memories of my childhood, from when I was about 3-4 was when I would spend time with Stanley. He would read stories to me & play music with an old didgeridoo he had been given as a gift from an old friend when he was young. The most I remember about him was an old hat he would wear constantly, with a black feather tucked into the band, he always smelt of red wine & cigarette smoke & would often hum a little tune to himself. It was no particular tune, just something I suppose he had come up with himself.

This is where the paranormal begins. When I was around 10 years old, Stanley passed away. He had been sick for quite a long while so it was some what of a relief to his wife (Margie) that he would no longer suffer the way he did for so long. Not long after that, his old dog which was always seen by his side passed away as well. I couldn’t bring myself to go to Stanley’s funeral because I was just to distraught, my mother agreed with me, saying I was too young to go. I have always felt bad for not going. About 6 months later Margie showed up at our door with Stanley’s hat, telling us he wanted us to have it after he died. It remained on the mantle above our television for quite a few years. A few months after we were given the hat, I would be woken up at night by the sound of Stanley’s humming and the sound of shuffling foot steps down the hallway, followed the pattering of dog’s paws. Our dog at the time was an old jack russell who was kept tied up on my mother’s bed at night to stop her barking & disturbing the neighbours, so I know for sure it wasn’t her wandering down the hallway. Sometimes when I would come into the lounge room where the hat was, I would get a whiff of cigarette smoke and red wine (My mother doesn’t smoke or drink wine) it would only last a moment & then vanish completely.

The main event which remains in my mind, is one night I was awoken again by the same humming & footsteps which has happened many nights before, as I was used to it by now I sleepily shut my eyes again, waiting to fall back to sleep. I remember and to this day believe that this really happened and wasn’t just a sleepy daze. I heard Stanley’s voice "You’re going to grow up to be a really fine woman, I have never been more proud of you, you’re going to be okay. I promise" I opened my eyes and looked over to the side and saw Stanley sitting on the edge of my bed smiling at me, I will always remember his smile. He sat their for awhile, he seemed to be glowing, then he disappeared. Ever since then, whenever something goes well in my life, like a high grade at school or a happy event of any kind. I will be woken up that night to Stanley’s humming, coming down the hallway.

I believe that even though he is gone, he is still watching over me, as the father I never had. Letting me know that he is proud of me.

Layla, Victoria, Australia
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