It may not be Halloween, but I’ve had ghosts on my mind a lot lately.

Last night, I woke feeling hot and sweaty, and read the numbers on the clock (5:17) through sleep-blurred eyes. Getting up to click the a/c to a lower temperature would have required moving two dogs and turning on a light, so I merely flipped my pillow onto the cool side, and pushed the covers down, and closed my eyes. Half an hour later, I smelled my grandmother’s night-time cream (oil of olay), and felt a soothing, cool hand over my brow. It’s likely it was just a sense-memory and a breeze from the open window, but I prefer to believe my grandmother was watching over me.

I’m not sure I believe in literal ghosts, but energy, memory, thought – the line between those things combining to give the perception of a presence, and an ACTUAL presence is pretty thin, really, especially for someone like me, who has an overactive imagination.

On other nights, I am dragged from my dreams by nameless terror, a feeling of dread, and a dog growling at nothing. But those are rare happenings, and the older I get, the less they occur. (Sometimes I wonder, though, if I’m merely picking up the dogs’ dreams – for often I am awakened by one of them paddling in their sleep, chasing birds, or scratching to dig a hole.)

Different kinds of ghosts also fill my head – fragments of conversations I’d love to forget, snatches of songs and stories I wish I could remember – these things haunt me during my waking hours, lurking in the back of my brain, and giving me a tiny prick, as with a pin, now and then, to spark a writing project, help me choose music to play, influence a meal I might cook, or a book I might read.

Tonight, we watched National Treasure on DVD – an enjoyable film, for what it was – but the ghost of my grandfather watched along with us, in the sense that I knew this is a movie he’d have enjoyed – he loved puzzles – and a part of me tallied points he would have particularly liked.

They say people you love are with you as long as you keep them in your heart. My grandparents, then, must linger really close by.