It was the customary blur of rushing around to get things done and get somewhere on time on Christmas Day. I planned on visiting my dad in his final resting place on this day before the festivities began. However, being my usual, unorganized self, I was running late again, and wasn't able to stick to my original plans. Therefore, I was happy when I finally arrived at Glen Oaks [Cemetery] in Oakville close to the midnight hour during the final minutes of Christmas, after the festivities came to a close. With the hustle and bustle of Christmas behind me, I really wanted to spend some quiet, unhurried time with my father, who had passed away on September the 11th of this year.
I wasn't thinking about how spooky it was to be in a dark cemetery close to midnight, even on Christmas night. As I drove down Ninth Line, I had to keep my eyes peeled for the second entrance into Glen Oaks, as it was pitch black. I saw the white sign painted against the sombre sky at the last minute and made a sharp left turn into the abyss. As I entered slowly, I turned on my high beams. I couldn't see a thing. It was so eerily peaceful as I drove through. I almost felt swallowed up by the sorrowful, other wordly desolation. Christmas Day instantly turned into Hallowe'en night. And that was when I began to feel uneasy.
When I drove up to the mausoleum where my dad is resting, I was immediately struck by the incandescent glow of the sconces in unison on the individual wall plaques. They were the only light source at this time of night. Collectively, they composed a candle lit symphony, creating a beautiful yet spectral glow, illuminating the entire building. I noticed, as I stepped out of my car that I was the only person visiting at this hour. There were no other cars in the parking lot. Of this I was sure. I punched in the code to enter the mausoleum. The creaking of the doors was pronounced with no other earthly sounds except for the sharp whispers of wind crashing against the building in waves. I approached my dad's plaque, looked at his picture which reached out to me in the warm glow and I kissed him. "Hi Dad. Merry Christmas." I then sat on the bench in front of my dad and allowed myself to be enveloped by his spiritual presence.
Just moments later as I was sitting in calm and quiet, I heard something. It was opera music playing in the background. It started playing suddenly, and came seemingly out of nowhere, only moments after my arrival. It was disturbing and scary yet beautiful and haunting all at the same time. I was startled. Opera was my dad's favourite music. In life, and in death, at his service, there was an abundance of opera. The music originated in the distance, at the other end of the mausoleum. And little by little, the music became louder as it grew closer. It culminated with the appearance of this man who came around the corner. I had never seen him before. He was cloaked in black from top to bottom. He said sorry if he had frightened me. He affirmed that I probably wasn't expecting anyone else to be there at such an ungodly hour. He reached out and shook my hand. He introduced himself as Angelo. He told me he was playing the opera for his aunt. When he sensed my discomfort and surprise, he excused himself and disappeared around the same corner in which he appeared. I heard no doors slamming. I heard no footsteps following his exodus. He seemed to just fade away into thin air. And the parking lot was still empty. I was so overwhelmed by this experience that I literally felt my body shiver all over. It was an unexplainable feeling which had overcome every fibre of my being. I will always wonder, who was Angelo? And did he have a purpose? Has anyone else seen him? What did this mean? These are all questions that will forever remain unanswered. Perhaps the beauty is in the experience itself. In not asking questions but in allowing it to be. No explanations.
Patricia is an investigative journalist by trade and an outspoken advocate for animal rights, human compassion, special needs and female self-empowerment. A single mom, she lives in Burlington with her autistic son, 13-year-old Christian, where she finds joy in her relationships, fitness, the perfect eyeliner and the never-ending quest for pizza as good as her mama's.