My Ghost Husband

??????????Over six years now, since I was Will’s wife. I’ve built a new life; I’m feeling “single” again.   Still, there are sad days; recently, I saw men on our downtown sidewalks, all afternoon, wearing Will’s clothes: over-sized buffalo plaid shirts and orange baseball caps. After the fourth one, I gave up on getting anything done. I drove home and dove under my covers to weep. Bitter sweet nights, Will comes laughing into my dreams, as silly as ever. Then I wake, remember death, and want to never wake again.

Other days, I have crazy real connections with my dead husband. The power of grief, too much imagination, or magic? Whatever it is, he’s often at my side. Early on, I was working downtown, and as I trekked our city on errands, enjoying the weather, I knew I was out walking with my husband. He’d walked the same sidewalks for thirty years. I felt him in my feet, and whenever those sensations rose to a mental state, I would look up or start listening, and almost always find some little message from him.

Within that first year, I had a falling out with a difficult person, close to both of us. At a point, I understood that this relationship was over. That evening, sitting in my chair by our woodstove, I felt Will walk into the room. I heard him saying, “I told you; that’s how he is!” Blessing my decision, comforting me, making me laugh, just like always.

Will loved to give me gifts. Two years after he died, in Seattle alone, I admired an elegant coffee mug in an expensive store. I walked away, slightly tempted but being my usual reasonable self. Ten minutes later, after wandering aimlessly, I found myself back in that store, letting my ghost husband buy me that fancy cup. Another day, driving in West Seattle, I noticed a rummage sale sign, and heard my invisible passenger nagging me. He loved garage sales, and I’d been avoiding them. I went into that church basement to find this portrait—it’s Will on the spirit side. He, my mysterious story-teller, always identified with Kokopelli.

My ghost husband challenges me sometimes. He used to say that if I died first, he would give up our old trailer, move someplace new, and become one of those homeless vets who hang out at intersections taking charity. This was a man whose heroes were Kramer and Homer Simpson. I never could explain him. But over the past few years, I’ve befriended the poverty-level disabled Vietnam vet at the stop sign near my home. Last week, I talked with my friend about him needing a winter coat. Will’s pack-rat collection of coats went to the Mission folks years ago. All that’s left is a rain parka I gave Will; I want to wear it for the rest of my life. So today, me and my invisible spouse went to his favorite place, Value Village, and bought a winter coat for our friend.


My Ghost Husband — 7 Comments

  1. The gap between the living and the dead is unknowable, mostly beyond ordinary human perception. And yet … there IS a feeling of a dead loved one in the room, sometimes, that is different than memory. Whether this is something the subconscious conjures, or a sixth sense that reaches across the divide, I don’t think we can know intellectually. But, like you, I feel my “ghosts” with me sometimes, and they comfort me, make me less afraid of death, help me understand what they knew and how they felt when they were alive. Yesterday, 23 alders were cut down in the right-of-way beside my house. Tall, straight trees with fluttering leaves, who had provided shelter from wind and freeway noise to my family for the 16 years we lived here. Last night, I walked among the stumps after dark, honoring them, missing them. The one clear truth is that life and death, stability and change, are intertwined. But growth is the inevitable result of their dance with one another.

  2. No doubt Will’s spirit is with you all the time. I’m so glad you don’t question his presence but rejoice with Will in your life. I still carry the crystal Will gave me, he found a special spot in my heart. Lots of love, Linda

  3. Turtle Alice, what a lovely telling. Huffington post and upworthy worthy. Sometimes when I have that feeling you describe, where there are repeated tugs on the memory you can’t ignore (like all the men in buffalo plaid and orange hats), I sense there is a message they are trying to tell me that I am too thick to ‘get’ just then, so as soon as I have minute I invite them to have coffee with me. I make 2 mugs, I make 2 plates of whatever I am having. I pull the other chair out and in the quiet, calm, focused time, we chat. I always hear the message, and more, and it is so very soul and spirit nourishing to spend time with a beloved. Thanks for this story. You have a spot deep in my heart, and your blog is always a welcome read.

  4. What I meant to say is that someone who can be with you on both sides of the veil is truly a beloved, in the way Rumi talks of the beloved. And hearing those stories lifts my world-weary heart.

    • it really is shocking to me when it happens, how quickly Will gets his messages to me. I would heed any warning from that kind of feeling… So nice to hear from you; I was hoping you were tuning into my little life these days… Turtle

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