Shadows only exist in the light -Joshua Kita

The feeling of a dark presence can catch anyone by surprise. It will scare most people that are not accustomed to spirit. Story time. I have a very large family, and I have been fortunate enough to get to know 5 of my great grandparents. 3 of which were alive for all of my childhood and into my early adulthood. I spent as much time with them as I possibly could when I was younger and once I had the opportunity to drive on my own I took it another step further and would go see any of them every chance that I got. Some of my best memories as a kid were at my great Grandma and Grandpa Kita's house. This house had a presence unlike any other that I have ever felt to this day. It was the type of place that no matter the time or day there was always someone there to stop in and talk to. What was so fascinating to me is that it was only a 3-bedroom home with a small yard but that never stopped our family that at times would consist of 20-30 people packing into the house. Kids went in the basement to play hide and seek, the men stood in the driveway outside of the garage and the women all sat around the large dining room table sharing stories and filling the house with love. It is the type of home that you see in a hallmark movie. Every holiday was decorated for, and every birthday was celebrated. Nobody ever was treated less than the other and if you needed anything, you were offered the shirt off of anyone's back. For me growing up I idolized the family dynamic that my grandparents had created. My Grandfather had a presence that made him look 6 foot tall even though he was merely 5'7". Seeing this type of consistency was so incredible for me at a young age. My parents went through a nasty divorce when I was just 6 years old. That left me a bit confused on what was right and wrong and who I should trust or even look up to. When I was at my Great Grandparents house though I felt comfortable, and I felt stable. There was no question when you got there that there would be family waiting to see you and Hershey's chocolate in the dish on the dining room table. I could go on for pages about the feeling and the environment that their house presented. Now that I have painted a picture for you all to feel through your own screen let me continue. Just like everyone in life my Grandparents had to begin going through some health issues. My grandfather was the first to really start to have problems. While we all watched him go through struggles with a stroke and multiple other problems, I don't think any of us truly believed he could ever pass away... I still remember the night that he did finally pass he had been in the hospital in critical condition for over a week before his time had come. All of his family surrounded his bed as he passed, all of us held hands and there was a prayer told. I felt a certain presence and calmness to his passing. It felt as if he immediately was happy again without pain and overwhelmed with pride from the family that he had left behind in the physical sense. Immediately the family reached out to family that was out of town and it was incredible to see the support of everyone no matter how far away they may have been from our little hometown of Erie, PA. We had family from California, Colorado, Minnesota, Carolinas and several other states all drop what they had going in their regular day life and make their way to show their respects. I came to realize after speaking to so many of these people that they had not done this because they felt it was the right thing to do or it was just a custom. They all came because my grandfather and grandmother had stayed relevant and truly cared about each and every one of them no matter the distance. Stories of regular long distance phone calls and Christmas cards left me amazed. It was already known by me that they were so active and genuine with family, but this was on a whole other level. So many people came together and after the initial funeral everyone stayed for a few more days. Every day at the house was packed with family and friends making sure that my grandmother was going to be ok and never left alone during this tragic time. There was a difference in my grandmother though. A difference that you only see in someone that just lost the true love of their life. She held herself together and I saw only a handful of tears at the time. What I noticed the very most is that she simply looked lost and in a sense of shock. She didn't have the opportunity to digest what had really just happened. It wasn't just her that seemed lost though. While the house was filled with people all telling great stories and bringing smiles it just felt empty. No matter how many people filled the house it was never full. Soon after the people began to fade away, first with out-of-town family that started to travel back to their own lives. Then began the distant family that without the passing wouldn't show up regularly anyways. Soon it came down to the group that was normally there, from her kids to grandkids and great grand kids like me. I continued to visit whenever I was anywhere near the area making it a point to be there about once a week for quite some time. It was evident to me that with every piece of my grandfather's belongings that was stored away or donated that my grandmother lost a little bit of herself with it. The hardest thing for me personally to see was the day I walked in to see the refrigerator blank without a magnet on it. To you that may seem like normal but to me that was such a shocking and sad moment. My grandparents had a motor home and traveled to all 49 states with it and flew to Hawaii as well. With every state they visited they came back with a magnet for the fridge and a ton of stories for us all to hear and pretend to experience in our own imagination. It just started to feel more and more like a house rather than a home. That was very difficult for me to wrap my head around and sadly the amount of time I spent there started to dwindle. I still made sure to stop in just not as frequently. Eventually the time came that the family needed to make a decision. My grandmother's health was declining, and it was too much for family to spend all day every day there with her to make sure she would be ok in her own home. The family had to set her up with a local assisted living home and it was no easy decision. It was however a necessary one. With her moving to this home it became evident that the house needed taken care of next. Would it be kept in the family, sold, or rented out for money to go towards the cost of living for my grandmother. The family came to the decision to sell. I was not in any position at the time to have any say in what was done to the house. I did however feel that it was a mistake to let go. While the chapter of my grandparents living there was over it felt like the home had not fulfilled its entire purpose yet. My grandmother would go on to live in the assisted living for several years before finally passing away. One of the hardest things to hear her say was that she was going home when she got better. Knowing that the home that she raised her children in and got to be with grand and great grandkids was gone broke my heart. When dementia began to set in, she seemed to mention that more and more that she was going to be going home soon. It took me a long time to realize that she wasn't talking about her house at all. She was talking about going to be with her husband once more. I know he visited her regularly in her sleep and was always there in spirit. She talked about seeing him often and I never once doubted her. About a year before she passed away, I was on a run like I had been doing quite often getting ready for an upcoming race. Something about this run told me to go by the old house. It was after dark one evening early spring, if you know anything about weather where I live that means it was still rather cold outside. It was roughly 40 degrees the night I was running, the house had been filled by its new owner for quite some time and I had only driven past it maybe a handful of times prior. When I got to the neighboring yard I instantly felt and even saw a very dark shadow come across me. I turned to look behind me as it felt like someone was following me. There was no one there. The closer I got to the house I looked towards the side yard and the driveway that ran up beside the garage. I encountered something that I have never before in my life to this point come across before. I was looking at a yard that I had looked at countless times since I was a young child. This time though I didn't just see a yard. This time I saw a shadow, a darkness over the entire yard. Now I know what you're thinking right now and that's the fact that I told you I was running at night so of course it was going to be dark in the yard. This wasn't a shadow or a darkness that comes from the sun going down every evening. This was different. I could feel this darkness. I don't get spooked easily, but at this moment I caught myself picking up the pace that I was previously running at until I got to the other end of the lot. It was at that moment that I came to a stop and began to reflect and ask myself what in the hell just happened? All that I began to think about was my grandfather and the fact that he loved every second that was spent there. The nonstop renovations that were done to accommodate such a large family in a tight space. The Halloween nights that everyone showed up there dressed up, Easter Sundays that everyone got a Pulakos Chocolate bunny. The endless memories of family that were created in that area all because two people fell in love and made that house and that lot a home. It finally dawned on me, the darkness that I was feeling was in fact my grandfather. Let me explain, he himself is not a dark presence. His feeling towards what happened with the house was a negative feeling though. By this I am saying that he did not approve of how the house was dealt with. I don't believe he ever wanted to see my grandmother taken from that home as early as she was. I feel that he was very disappointed in the decision to sell this house to for money towards the assisted living. To most people it was a no brainer that selling your house when you move into assisted living then you will have some comfort of knowing you can afford where you are living. In this circumstance that didn't matter. My grandfather was a very intelligent man when it came to investing and putting money away so that he and his wife would be taken care of in any situation. One thing that you could count on when speaking with him is the ability to teach you about investments. He had things covered in case he wasn't there to take care of my grandmother one day. He had every opportunity to move to a larger home throughout his life, did he though? Absolutely not because he created such a strong foundation where he was and knew he could save for the future from right where he was. At the time that I saw this darkness my grandmother was still very much alive, that being said it was dark from, disappointment, sadness, but also from reflection of what was once there. Admittedly, part of this darkness that I was encompassed by is a reflection of how I felt. What I witnessed was not something that I believe I could have navigated through and understood had I not been open to the idea of connecting with spirit. If I had not been open to this, then it is possible that either I would have never been presented with this shadow at all or it would have just been a terrifying experience. The beauty in all of this is that I was able to see that just because you feel a darkness it does not always come with bad intentions. I was shown this so that I could feel and connect with my grandfather in a very intimate fashion. I have stated many times to anyone that has ever asked me that I did not believe in connecting until my grandfather passed. For me I truly felt that he was the epitome of stability and that made me want to connect. You know what they say, you ask, and you shall receive. Once I truly opened myself up to the idea of guidance is when I started to feel the connection stronger than ever before. I won't lie to you, when I first started connecting with him, I would doubt myself and think that I was just talking to myself, telling myself what I think he would say to me. As time went on, I started getting more honest with myself and getting answers that I didn't always want to hear. I went through some low points in my life and always looked for guidance from both my Grandpa Kita and my Grandpa Stoss. I will tell you that I truly felt that Kita was much more upfront and willing to give me signs and tell me what I needed to hear. When I put myself in sticky situations he was always there in spirit and made me feel like I was always protected because of it. He was a constant reminder that I needed to learn what it was like to feel low and less than in order to appreciate what it's like to be thriving and living my best life. I thank him every day for sticking by my side with no judgement. Trust me there were several times that people would simply look at me and what I was doing with myself with disgust and disappointment. He was always and is always in my corner though. If there is anything that I can stress to those of you reading this post it is this. Do not ever feel like you are alone. You're not. Don't be afraid to listen to yourself when it feels like someone is trying to push you in the right direction. You will know when it's real. If you are open enough to connect than eventually you will be lucky enough to do so whenever you want to. I to this day can sit still and silent in my own head even when its absolute chaos all around me and feel peace in knowing that no matter what happens I will always have someone in my corner to guide and protect me. Not always protect me from others or my surroundings but even protect me from myself.

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