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Ghost files: My son’s message from the grave

Shirley's son Dallas wanted to give her one last goodbye...

Shirley was stunned by photos of her beloved son’s farewell.

Here, Shirley Crampton, 76, from Nelson, NZ, tells the story in her own words…

My son Dallas and I were very close. As my only child, we spent a lot of time together as his dad, Roy, worked away for months at a time. 

He had a big smile and an even bigger heart, and Dallas was good with his hands. 

As a teenager, he was always fixing someone else’s car. He became a police officer and at 26 he married his beautiful girlfriend, Annemarie, and they welcomed two lovely girls, Hannah and Alex.

No matter how busy he was, he always made time to call or visit me. 

After 20 years, he left the police force and worked with the council to set up Porirua Community Guardians, an organisation of volunteers who patrolled the city of Porirua. 

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(Credit: Supplied)

‘I’m going to help make it a safer and cleaner city,’ he told me. 

‘That’s wonderful, Dallas,’ I said, proudly. 

He worked tirelessly and within just five years, crime and graffiti rates plummeted. He’s always been a visionary, I thought.

Then, in 2009, Annemarie rang in tears.

‘Dallas went for a run this morning and had a heart attack,’ she sobbed. ‘He’s died.’

I was completely distraught. My Dallas was only 45. When he was brought home, his Maori friends and colleagues kept a round-the-clock vigil by his body.

The night before his funeral, I also stayed with him.

https://play.acast.com/s/the-ghost-files/04c7466e-afff-4a66-a532-b39e8216a66c

I talked about all the things we’d done and how much I loved him. ‘I’m going to miss you so much Dallas,’ I wept.

The chapel at the funeral was packed with his family, friends and co-workers. 

Tributes flowed about his great love for his family and his community. His mates also performed a moving haka. 

A few days later, I was looking at photos taken at Dallas’ funeral. Strangely, in each group shot – and no matter where I was standing – there was a misty patch. 

But only on me, I realised. 

Bewildered, I took the camera to a photography store. 

‘What’s wrong with my camera? Is there a dampness on it?’ I asked. 

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(Credit: Supplied)

The man checked it out. ‘It’s absolutely fine,’ he replied.

It was such a puzzle. But when I showed the photos to Dallas’ Maori mates, they didn’t hesitate.

‘This is Dallas’ doing. It’s him saying goodbye,’ they all said .

To me, the mist looks like how you see someone when you’re crying.

I certainly shed many tears over my beautiful son. 

I like to think the mist was from Dallas, letting me know he was there, watching over me, and saying his last farewell. 

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