I know it's not quite Halloween yet, but since we're coming up to that season, I figured it was time to talk about ghosts. WARNING: Gross description up ahead! Not for the faint-hearted!
When my Papa (mom's dad) passed away from leukemia, I was ten. He was my best friend, my knight in shining armor, my favorite person, my world, my everything. I was beyond devastated when he died. He left this earth on Sunday, March 19, 1995.
When Easter rolled around that year, I did something I had never willingly done before: I ate black licorice jellybeans. They were absolutely disgusting. But they had been my Papa's favorite jellybean, so I ate them in his honor. I ate them for years every Easter because he was no longer around to enjoy them. I felt as though a part of him were still living if I ate the black licorice on his behalf.
When I finally stopped grieving and feeling guilty about being alive while he was dead, I quit eating those nasty jellybeans. I guess you can say I finally let him die decades after he had been laid to rest.
Sometimes, the person does not need to die physically for there to be a death in the relationship with them. The year 2015 was a very difficult year for me for many reasons, one of which was the death of close friendships. I had called, emailed, and sent letters to friends who had decided their lives should move on without me in it. I kept reaching for someone who was no longer there.
I was chasing the ghosts of yesterday and missing out on 'today.'
The relationships I had held onto for years had to be properly buried and grieved over, so I could move on with my life.
The Romans used to have a form of torture where they bound a corpse to a living person, arm to arm, leg to leg, face to face. They would keep the victim alive by feeding them every day until the skin of the living and the skin of the dead had grown together and the corpse had decayed so much that the body of the living began to decay, as well. Then they would cut the ropes off the corpse, but it was too late: the two were now joined as one body, and the living was left to rot to death.
When I finally let go of what was dead in my life, I was able to move forward into new life.
As the seasons change and the dead leaves fall to the ground to fertilize the living trees, I encourage you to get rid of whatever dead things to which you may be bound, so that you, too, may fully live. Don't waste time chasing ghosts. Let the dead stay dead, so you can move forward and enjoy your life.