Breanna Hopkins QueenBee
Several years ago, I was working as a PSW (personal support worker) in a retirement/long term care home while going to school for nursing. The job was gruelling and gross and so rewarding. But working with the dying does mean that some of them aren’t willing to leave the last home they ever knew; even after they have passed away. These are some stories of the ghosts of that building and my experiences with them. 

The first is one I have shared elsewhere (a YouTube comment section for hospital ghosts) but it still sticks with me strongly. We had a man pass away earlier that day, before I came in for my midnight shift that night. He was one of mine (which is to say I was often the one doing his and his late wife’s care day in and day out) and I was sad to see him go. He had always been a joker, and was always good for a laugh. He loved to play pranks on the staff and his friend at the home and everyone generally liked him. So that night I was down in the basement in the building’s laundry room. Part of our duties was cleaning and laundry, and half of the day’s laundry (or more) is left for midnights to do as the night can be very quiet. My partner for the night was upstairs doing a different duty, so it was just me and the radio. As I start to pull the laundry of a resident out of there hamper, I hear the toilet flush in the staff bathroom, which is right next to the laundry room. I stopped and listened for my partner to emerge, but she didn’t. So I took out my walky and asked, “M, are you down in the basement with me?” And I waited. She commented back, “no, I’m on floor two with room 201.” 

Just then, my walky and the radio in the room both start acting weird. My walky starts squealing like I’m holding another one against it and the room’s radio starts to crackle and sound distorted. The lights began to dim, like the bulb was about to burn out. Finally, the large rack of hangers to my left and behind me started to shake, and the hangers all began to sway. 

I started to think it was was an earthquake (very uncommon where I am in Canada, but not unheard of) until I heard a voice. It was my late resident R, making that same squeaky Donald Duck impression he would do to startle you. So, I raised my voice above the noise in the room and said, “very funny R, now cut it out! What are you even still doing here? Go find E (his late wife) and be happy you silly man!” With that it all stopped; the walky, the radio, the lights, the hangers. Everything went back to normal. And he was gone. 

The second was another late resident of mine, who passed away rather tragically on Christmas morning. She always wore a lovely orange silk housecoat (the kind that zip up not tie up) as she went to the tea room to get a snack and a cup of tea before bed. This is also where myself and M we’re taking our 15 after puting all the residents to bed. It had been days since she passed away. As we sat and drank our coffee, the tv flickered to life for only a second as an orange streak passed from the tea room and rounded the corner. M shot up and chased after the blur, but as she rounded the corner, it was gone. I don’t know why she lingered there, she hated living in there, but she would be seen many more times after that by many other people. 

Finally there were the long time spirits. Those whose living counterparts were long before my time and on some accounts, long before the time that this old building became a retirement home. There was the little girl with the red ball. She was described by several palliative  (actively dying) residents. She had long either dark brown or black curly hair, a pretty “church” dress (whatever that means but that’s what they all called it) and a large red ball. She would sit with them and talk to them, or they would talk about playing with her when in reality, they can’t even get out of bed. She was kind (if a bit annoying to some of the residents) and I think she escorted them to the end. The other two were a man in the elevator who would whisper and pull your hair lightly or tap on your back. He would do this to staff, residents, visitors, it didn’t matter. He was annoying, but not truely bad. And the last was a woman’s disembodied voice who would sing down the halls of the locked unit all night, but when I or anyone else would go to check the residents or common areas, nobody was ever found. She was peaceful and happy so that’s all that really mattered. 

All these spirits and others existed at one point or another in that building and other than R, all were witnessed by many other people. And all they ever wanted, was to be heard. 
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