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Monday, July 12, 2010

Ghosts

I work with the most wonderful people. Since Bruce died they have been concerned about me and frequently check in with me to see how I am doing. The other day one of them came to my office and told me that she wanted to speak to me. I had been visiting with one of my other colleagues and her daughter and she asked them if we could have some time alone. I was a bit apprehensive and when the others left I asked her what was up, indicating that I was concerned about what she wanted to tell me. She assured me that it "was good, she thought" and I should not worry.

This is what she said:

She asked me if I knew that she had never met my husband and that her only knowledge of him was from the funeral. I told her that I knew this and braced myself for the rest of the conversation not knowing where she was heading. She then asked me if he had a white Hawaiian shirt with red lettering and I said that it was entirely possible. She said that she has seen him and that he had been in her thoughts. She frequently is aware of his presence and he is standing with his hands on his hips. He is concerned about me and wants her to tell me that he is with me. She also told me that he has said to remember the heart. My eyes filled with tears listening to her. She mentioned to me that I often say that I cannot feel his presence and that he is totally gone from my life. But she wants me to know that he is very much a presence. She also said that my dog Bebe barks at night because she knows that Bruce is near. She assured me that this is not something that has ever happened to her but she had to share it with me. Apparently this has been going on for awhile and she did not know how I would handle this information.

What do I do with this? I have been very much a non-believer. I am convinced that the soul does not survive and that he is gone, and we will never be together again. I even have trouble resurrecting all of my memories. The skeptic in me says why her? why now? - but I have recognized that I may not be open to the possibilities. The skeptic in me says that there are valid reasons for all of the ghosts and angels people see and part of it is the strong desire to see someone after they die. This colleague recently had a death in her family, her stepfather -so maybe her need to bring closure to his death resulted in her thoughts about me and my loss.
I do not know. I was understandably upset after this encounter, "haunted" by the idea of Bruce haunting her.

And of course, I could not stop myself from sharing this information with the kids at dinner that night. This prompted them to be skeptical and annoyed about someone sharing this information with me. I then had a conversation with my daughter about my wallowing in self-pity-and when I am ready, she assured me, I won't be as sad. I realize that I am a drama queen. I write my saddest thoughts here and that is in what is in my heart. And yet words feel to adequately capture the loss and the sadness. I am not sure that will ever leave me even if I build my life without him, which is hard. I agree that part of me struggles with the sadness. I want to feel this sad-I should feel this sad, my loss is that great. I have never been one to cover up and put on a happy face for the masses. But I tell myself and others that it is ok to do this-if I can still get up and go to work, can still participate in enjoying little things in my day. The bottom line is that I still come home to a lonely empty house-more lonely without him because he really filled the space.

All in all, I do not believe in ghosts or angels. I am not sure what to think about this recent encounter. I am not sure what to say to those who tell me that Bruce is creating miracles for me wherever he is. It does not help me with his loss to know that there are others who can see him or talk to him about me. I am here alone, left to deal with the devastating void that his death has created.

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