Last week as we prepared to leave our Fiction from Real Life class we received our writing assignment for the week, “Talking to Ghosts.” The idea is to think of someone who has died, it can be someone close to us or a person we would want to have a conversation with, all we need to do is be creative. When I reflect on this question the reality for me is that ghosts do indeed exist. They may not be the unearthly, ethereal beings that ghost hunters chase on reality television, or the a ghost of Marley that haunted Scrooge, but they are the ghosts that reside in the deep recesses of our own minds. People whom we have lost, not just from death but also from the diseases that strip them of their memory, living ghosts unable to converse any longer. What was once a bright, outgoing person is now a shell of themselves trapped in a perpetual nightmare unable to reach out. They are the ghosts of friends whom we have lost contact with, old loves that touched our hearts then left us cold. The relatives that live behind a glass pane, black and white images from a bygone era, faded Polaroid pictures of youngsters in their bathing suits proudly holding up their catch of the day. All, windows into our past reaching down through the ages. The ghosts that inhabit the fringes of our psyche either haunt us or guide us, they are also unpredictable. A moment of quiet, a certain song, the waft of a fragrance and soon that ghost is with us alive. The heart beats faster, the remembrances become as clear as if they were happening in the now rather than having been in the past. The breath of these ghosts pass around us, in us and through us, until we are awakened by the very reality of our lives. It can be a frightening experience to feel the presence of these ghosts and yet in a way there is something comforting. It says that we too are someone’s ghost, for good or ill, we are imbedded in a memory that is far away from us. That memory we left, that small seed we planted so many years ago lays dormant until the soft rain of tears water the soul of the heart and that seed bursts forth. It’s unexpected, it’s not sought for, the seed can either be a beautiful flower full of bright colors or it can be a weed that entangles the heart and chokes off any love that might have been.
As I get older, as I continue to move through this life, I know that I am sowing the seeds of my own ghostly life. We never truly know what will burst forth from these plantings, for ours are not the only seeds for there are other ghosts who have left their own seeds in the soil of the soul. There they all wait in the darkness and silence until they are called upon to grow into wonderful and colorful flowers or into weeds, much depends on the seeds we leave behind.