October 11, 2006
A Sign on the ResRate this encounter: Mary, Crown Point, New Mexico, 1979
I was a new public health nurse working on the Navajo Reservation. When I first moved in with my family we lived in a double wide trailer supplied by the government. It was all fenced in and was not landscaped with bushes or trees. The first few weeks were very difficult because my brother was suddenly very ill and we could not afford to fly out back east to see him. We knew he was very ill and that he could die. We had no phone so we did not always have a way to communicate with my family. One night we were sitting in our sparse bedroom in sleeping bags -- our furniture had not yet arrived. My son came in the room and very sadly said he hoped that David would die to relieve his suffering. My son was only 9 years old at the time and he was crying. So we sat huddled together crying. Within minutes we heard what sounded like a branch and wind hitting the window -- but there was no wind or tree to hit the window. An hour later, a nurse from the hospital knocked on our door to tell me my brother had passed away -- it would have been the moment we heard the branches.
We took a flight back and a week later returned and for about a month after that all was not right.
There would be days that I would be asleep and I would be quietly lulled to wake up. I would hear Native American drums and chanting outside the bedroom window, I would get up and look and there was nothing, and then it would stop. One night I woke up my husband, but it stopped. I was not frightened because it was soothing -- it was like a welcome or a calming affect -- but just weird.
A year later I was about to leave the res when a group of nurses on their way to a conference started asking each other what weird things ever happened on the res. I volunteered my story. One nurse hit another one and said, " I told you stuff happens here." The other nurse who was Navajo was very quiet. For a week after that she would not look at me or come near me. I guess I frightened her.