A few weeks ago I shared a Baby Story with you, today I want to share a ghost story. As y’all know Winter Song comes out in September, but what you don’t know is the story behind the novel.
In the year 2000, I took off to work just outside Yellowstone National Park. It was a chance of a lifetime for me. I love Yellowstone National Park and the opportunity to spend a summer there, was more than a nature gal like me could ask for.
While there, I met a young man named Ryan. We instantly hit it off and began seeing each other. Anyone who has ever had a “summer camp” love knows it moves at very intense emotional pace. I fell for this guy and he fell for me, and we both fell hard. As I said, it was intense.
We had about six weeks together before I had to leave. I didn’t want to leave, but it was something I felt I had to do. Ryan and I spent our last day together, hiking up to a waterfall and just enjoying each other’s company. We quoted Casablanca and pretended everything was fine. Just another Rick and Ilsa, getting split too soon.
Two days after I left I got a call letting me know Ryan and had been involved in a motorcycle accident and he didn’t make it. Devastated is not an accurate word, but it’s the best I can come up with to describe how I felt. I also felt guilty. Guilty that I left, knowing had I been there the situation that lead to the accident wouldn’t have happened.
The next summer I knew I had to return to West Yellowstone. Had to find a way to get closure. I was thankful to be able to work at the same place, with really great friends, who knew what I had been through.
One night as I lay in my dorm room, I got that feeling that I wasn’t alone. I’ve told you guys about the feeling I get when a spirit is near me (Dunnottar Castle), well I had that feeling. But this was not an evil spirit, but one of love. I instantly knew it was Ryan. But I needed validation.
“Ryan is that you?” I asked the air.
No sooner had I said it, a water bottle flew off the microwave.
I instantly broke down into tears. This was my chance to apologize for leaving. My chance to make amends. And my chance to finally say good-bye. I confessed all my guilt and regrets to that (semi)empty room. As I finished, I felt an overwhelming sense of warmth as if Ryan was hugging me. I knew he had forgiven me, actually it was more than that, I knew that it was never my fault.
Winter Song - September 4, 2013!!