The Ghosts That We Knew

“…But the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
And we’ll live a long life
So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light…”

– Mumford & Sons 

Springtime is a time of new beginnings. Here in New England the sun comes out to warm the cold ground and pull the flowers from their dormant sleep. We, too, find ourselves cold and asleep, in the trance of the white winter; going through the motions, figuratively and literally; start the car, shovel the snow, don’t slip on the ice, put on your hat and gloves and boots, repeat.

On that first spring day when you can slide the windows down in your car, there is no better feeling. You play the music a little louder, maybe you even sing along. That first night you hear the peepers in the pond through the woods you are reminded that you are alive and time is going by very quickly. When the sunny and warm weather comes we are inspired to renew ourselves and our surroundings, but also reflect on the past. Maybe it’s the immediate past that comes to mind; we’re grateful the long winter is over. Or maybe it’s something in your distant memory that inspires you to forge ahead.

Small things often remind us of these “ghosts”. The ghosts can be people, things, memories, experiences; good or not-so-good. We needn’t be scared of them, but use them to make ourselves better. I want to share a personal experience so that you have a clearer picture of what I am talking about. Every April I patiently wait for the first day I can roll down the car windows, sing out loud, and hear the peepers as I drive. I feel a sense of renewal when I see the tiny flowers popping out of the soil. This new life reminds me of a few very special people in my life. On April 17th, 2011, my family lost an important person – my grandmother, Pauline. In the big picture it was a very unexpected death. In March I was talking to my Gram about what that summer’s signature cocktail was going to be and in April, far from home and family, in Oregon, I was grieving her death while trying to finish up my master’s degree. As I went through the motions of school, just trying to finish, I noticed the small beautiful things around me that reminded me that I was still alive; flowers, butterflies, the hot sun, or cool rain on my skin. I took the photo of the rainbow on Mother’s Day, just after my Gram had passed away. Another simple reminder that although she was gone, she was there with me in some way.

On April 17th my family also celebrates Alexia’s birthday. This is the silver lining; the reminder that from all sad things comes happy things. We get to celebrate her beautiful spirit while holding onto the incredible memories we have of our matriarch.

 Lexi and Grammy at the Lake

This post is not meant to be somber or depressing. It is meant to remind us all that the dark times in our lives will always give way to light ones. We must believe that this will happen and continue to forge ahead, allowing ghosts to be ghosts, and letting ourselves see all the life around us. I am thankful for the years I had with my grandmother and all that I learned from her. I am also thankful that I have many more years of celebrating Lexi, looking forward to all the hope that springtime brings, and the simple reminders that life is precious.

“Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven, where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”  -Eskimo Legend


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