I see dead people. I even invite them to sit on my couch.
Ok, so I borrowed a terrific movie line by Haley Joel Osment from the Sixth Sense. I loved the surprise ending and the terrific acting in the story of a troubled, isolated boy who is able to see and talk to the dead, and an equally troubled child psychologist (Bruce Willis) who tries to help him.
While I may not actually see deceased people, I have been missing my departed loved ones lately.
It may have something to do with the upcoming holidays. They used to be joy-filled times where family gathered, over indulged on delicious food together, laughed a lot and just hung out appreciating togetherness. The passage of time and divorce has splintered my family. The past few years, I cannot expect we will see our adult sons (daughters and daughter in-laws have stronger family ties), so there is little to look forward to. The uncertainty of whether any gathering will take place is a pitfall of disappointment.
Let’s face it, several hours in the kitchen cooking a huge meal for just two people is well … tiresome.
Enough of the depressing back story. But it set the stage for how I worked my way out of an emotionally downward spiral. I started thinking back to better times when our mom was alive and she would cook. How we’d all gather at her house in Detroit (when I was growing up) and then at her home in Barefoot Bay, Florida as an adult. She was a fabulous cook! Holidays were fun then. No matter how many adult siblings were missing from the gathering, as long as mom was present, family was intact.
As I lay in the dark trying to drift off to sleep last night, this thought came to mind. Why don’t you ask all the dead people you are missing to come sit on your couch? You know how when you see a someone you love right in front of you, their smile and personality makes you feel all loved and happy?
So that is what I did. Using my sanctified imagination, I visualized my mom at an age when she was healthy, vibrant and spunky and welcomed her to my brown couch. I tried to imagine our conversation, but got stuck so we just laughed while I talked. She listened and was just present, a task mom’s excel at. Her presence made me feel extremely loved. My heart felt full. It worked to bring peace and contentment to my emotions.
So then I decided to invite my brother John who passed to heaven at just 62 in 2004, the same year mom did. He sat next to mom and the two just chatted away, John’s loud, gregarious, signature laugh punctuating the atmosphere with joy. I drank in their warmth like medicine to my soul, letting their loving acceptance of me ease the emptiness their absence created.
This mental exercise helped me feel better emotionally, although writing about it was harder than I anticipated. I bury my grief in order to get through life, especially holidays. Most months I’m fine. But I’ve been sick this week. Being sick tends to make me teary eyed and weepy. Transparency takes courage. I share in the hope my honesty helps someone else feel less alone. Let’s face it – holidays can be rough. Families change. We experience loss and that isn’t easy to adjust to. Maybe this visualization exercise will help you, too?
I can honestly say that the hope of heaven is truly the only thing that helps me carry on when I get the blues. The hope of eternal reunion, forever in heaven. All together as a family – and I have a huge extended family.
Writing is cathartic for me. That is why this is the Healing Writing Room and I’m Healing Writer.
I’m still healing.