Spirits Within Us Live Forever
Our souls are on a journey that our bodies can’t complete
My earliest memories are of lying in a big girl bed upstairs in my cotton gown with Reddy’s worn teddy bear body clutched to my chest. There I am, telling God, Thank you! Thank you for letting it be my turn! Instinct, insight, inner voices — who knows — but they told me I had been in line … waiting … waiting to see the light of this life. And now — here I was. Alive! Breathing! On the other side of … something. Death? Life?
Every time I said, ‘Thank you!’, my kinder-tot body shivered with excitement from a million Christmases. ‘Oh, goody, goody, goody,’ I’d giggle as my shoulders shivered at the realization of wonder.
Three-and-four-year-olds don’t know about sperm, or fertilized eggs, or chances of being born. But I knew about waiting my turn, and taking my chances, which were billions to one. I knew for certain, and celebrated my victory alone there in my dark bedroom with the closet door cracked open so I could see a light and be sure I was still alive.
@Richard Dawkins, @Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder says, “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia.”
Oh, my, God! And I mean that as a prayer. He felt it, too! He had to know that from the beginning, because only a child is close enough to creation to remember.
We are graced by the light of life. We are; therefore, we are.
My books are narrated by ghosts
I’ve never seen a ghost, not a Casper the Ghost, anyway. I’ve felt their presence. I know they’re there. Ghosts of loved ones come to me in dreams. They touch me. Whisper to me. Give me chills. People I love and have lost, friends who moved away without letting go of my heart. They’re all there.
I smell my Nanny’s scent — not her ‘poo poo’, as she called it, because she didn’t wear much perfume — but I smell fresh air and clean sheets when I step into our bedroom sometimes. It’s her house, and somewhere my granddaddy is eating homemade ice cream out of an aluminum ice tray, and she’s talking on the heavy phone in the dark hallway. I see sweet Osie’s smile. I hear my Daddy’s laugh.
And I know. Their souls are on a journey their bodies can’t complete. They’ve gone on, but they live forever.
My favorite tortured soul, the one who comforted when I was holed up in a girls’ boarding school desperate for friends —F. Scott Fitzgerald — had his Great Gatsby narrator say, “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” GHOSTLY heart. Hear that? Gatsby loved his Daisy for who he knew she was, and his GHOSTLY heart held onto that. His heart was bigger than life.
Most professors read that to mean Gatsby was delusional, unaccepting of reality. I read it to mean he saw beyond these earthly bounds. He recognized his soulmate, his kindred spirit, and mourned the mortal loss.
I am careful who I tell that I believe in ghosts. (I prefer to spread it around on a public forum.) Anyone who seriously believes knows not to reveal their secret too loudly. But Ghosters are in good company. Literature and Dreams validate our truth.
“I miss you’, he admitted.
‘I’m here’, she said.
‘That’s when I miss you most. When you’re here. When you aren’t here, when you’re just a ghost of the past or a dream from another life, it’s easier then.”
― @Neil Gaiman, American Gods
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Carol McClain Craver is a writer, editor and author. You may contact her on her website.