My youngest daughter, Katharine, was three years old, and playing in her room as I cleaned in the next room. I could clearly
hear her talking and laughing out loud while she played house. I smiled and laughed myself at the silly little girl conversation
that she was having with what I thought to be an imaginary playmate. This continued, giggle after precocious giggle, until
I realized that there were lengthy pauses in the conversation. It was as though she were talking to someone, and allowing
them time to speak back.
I assumed at that point that one of my other children had come back into the house, but when
I checked, Katharine was laughing all alone.
I asked her where all of this silliness was coming from.
"They were tickling me!"
I laughed, and asked who was tickling her. She said that it was a lady and a little
Still thinking that she was playing with imaginary friends, I asked Katherine to tell me their names, and asked
if I could play, too.
Katharine laughed, and looked right past me as if she was looking straight at someone next to me,
and said, "I don't think so. Maybe later."
I asked her for their names again, still playing along, hoping that
if I asked them myself, I would be allowed to join their game.
Katharine said that the little girl didn't have a name.
I told Katharine I thought that was sad, and suggested that she give her friend a name.
Katharine replied, "You
need to name her, Mommy."
"How about Suzie?" I asked.
Katherine looked past me again, and giggled.
Shaking her head, she said, "No."
"Cindy Lou?" I suggested.
Katharine laughed even harder, looking
at her imaginary playmate.
"No!" she giggled, "She says it has to begin with a 'K', just like the rest
This didn't seem unusual. All of my girls names begin with the letter 'K'.
So, I said, "Kara."
Katharine seemed to agree that her etherial friends loved the name. She shook her head vigorously, and laughed playfully,
as if in immitation of someone who was doing the same thing.
Casually, Katharine told me that the little girl said, "Thank
That was when things started to fall into place. You know, that awareness, the hairs on the back of
your neck stiffen, but it's not a fearful feeling.
My sense of the situation changed entirely at that moment. I could
sense that she was looking at real people in the room. I asked calmly, but nervously what little Kara looked like.
replied, "Just like me, silly!"
I swallowed hard, and asked what the lady looked like.
and spoke to 'thin air,' saying, "I'll be right back.
She took my hand, led me into my room, and pointed to a picture
on the wall.
"That lady." Katherine said. "She brings the little girl who looks like me."
not speak. My eyes welled with tears. I gave Katharine a big hug, and when I found my voice, I thanked her, and told her that
she could go play again.
You see, the picture that she pointed to was a portrait of my husband's mother.
She had passed
away just weeks before Katharine's birth. When she knew she was dying, she had said it was a shame that she wouldn't get to
see the baby.
The spirit child, Kara, was also someone close to my heart.
Christmas Eve during my pregnancy with Katharine,
I began to bleed heavily. My husband rushed me to the hospital. A compassionate doctor gently explained that this looked very
bad, and that she was so very sorry this had to happen at such an awful time. She ordered an ultrasound to confirm her suspicions,
and was stunned to see a perfectly healthy baby in my womb. Everyone was clapping in the room. No one would have thought that
there was still a viable pregnancy going on. The bleeding had been too much.
I went home tired but elated, and celebrated
with my family. At my next office visit, the doctor explained to me that my previous ultrasound had shown two amniotic sacks.
I asked what that meant. The doctor explained that two sacks indicates twins, and that sometimes with a twin pregnancy, one
baby can be miscarried, while the other remains just fine.
I had a good cry that day, with mixed emotions. Katharine played
with her invisible friends for a little while throughout that year, and then no more. After that, she often wept about how
much she missed her "Nana," a woman she never met in life.
I miss those days of mysterious giggles, but I sleep
content now, knowing my little girl has a name.
Another point of interest in this tale . . . all of my daughters have
the same middle initial as well. All except Katharine. Her middle initial is 'E.' It stands for Elizabeth. Her Nana.