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Many religious people believe that when a person dies, an unseen spirit comes out of his/her body, and that spirit is a ghost.

I had never believed in the existence of ghosts, but since some three years ago I have been convinced that ghosts of newly deceased people are in our midst for some time. This came a few weeks after my youngest brother Nestor died suddenly in 2011 in our home in Bacoor, Cavite.

When he passed away, we – four surviving brothers and one sister – agreed not to inform our mother, Caridad (now deceased), who was then 92 years old and living in our family house in Ilocos Norte, of the death of her youngest child. At that time, she was bedridden and very sick.

We feared that if we tell her of the demise of her son, the emotional impact of the sad news might cause her deteriorating health to worsen further. Whenever she wanted to know how Nestor is doing, my sister Fe, who was taking care of her, would say that he is in Cavite and he is doing okay.

But a weird, eerie incident happened at dusk one day.

Fe related that she was outside the house doing something when she heard our mother, who was lying in bed inside a room, as if she was talking to someone. Fe peeked through a window and saw no person in the room except our mother, but she appeared to be conversing with something invisible. Fe could not understand what my mother was saying, but her voice sounded glum.

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Fe thought then that perhaps she had fallen asleep and was dreaming.

But the next morning, our mother confronted Fe, telling her, “Natay gayamen ni Nestor, apay nga di kay imbaga kaniak? (Nestor had already died, why did you not tell me about it?).”

This caught Fe by surprise, and it took her a minute or two before she could respond. She confirmed that indeed Nestor died a few weeks ago. Our mother wailed in anguish.

How in the world was our mother able to know the death of his son? When I inquired, my other brothers and other relatives said they know of the agreement to keep Nestor’s death a secret, and so nobody mentioned it to her.

Our mother did not tell us how she was able to know it. Nobody asked her about it because we felt we had betrayed her for not informing her of the death of her son.

The only plausible explanation is that my brother’s ghost visited her and told her about his death a few weeks before. That visit could be the eerie incident Fe witnessed at twilight one day.

Our mother passed away more than one year ago.

On this All Souls Day, I pray that she meet her beloved son Nestor in God’s kingdom.

There is another weird thing regarding Nestor. I was puzzled when my neighbors told me during his wake in Cavite that he had been telling his friends that I am going home very soon.

At that time, I had no plan to go back to the Philippines because I took a vacation only the year before.

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When he died (of heart attack), though, I had to go home to bury him. Did he have a premonition of his death?