This past August I wrote the blog that asked the question; ”Do you believe in Ghosts?” prompted then by the coincidence of the birthdate of my late sister, Harriet and the anniversary of the death of my father, Marcus.
What prompts me to revisit the topic was an op-ed in the New York Times on January 3rd by noted British author Julie Myerson titled “The Smell of Loss”. She writes about her confusion around smelling her mother-in-law’s perfume around her home at distinct moments five years after her mother-in-law’s death. It has become so real to her that she is compelled to seek and explanation. She searches the internet for examples (try it by clicking here), consults neuroscientist, an author of book by a “skeptic” and finally an Anglican vicar. The first two insist it is a form of grief and the later suggests it is God at work. She doesn’t think it is God and is seriously perplexed how grief could be such an active player in her mind five years after the death.
The first person she asks, though is just identified as a “friend” and his answer was: “Well, it’s a ghost, isn’t it?” After confessing to having various unexplained visions over time she asks:
“But do I really believe in ghost? I don’t think so.”
Well, I am not convinced. I think she does believe in ghosts. I think she is just afraid to admit it. I get it. In the early days of performing The Actual Dance I was reluctant to say it myself. Indeed, the phrase “I believe in ghosts” was deleted from the script when my first director counseled that if I said that people would “think that you are crazy.” If you read my post from August you will see that I have added in performance the line “I believe in ghosts.”
My version of that idea of course is unique to me, and I say: “My mind is open enough to believe that there exists elements of energy or life or of the divine that infuse our being and connect us with all living creatures, present, past and future.” So what triggers an experience? Easy, love. The kind of love through which these “elements” become “entwined.”
If I could figure out how to reach Julie Myerson I would send her my August blog and invite her to watch The Actual Dance and share my poem “US” that explains how two people’s “essence” can become “entwined.”
If you know how to reach Julie Myerson, please point her my way! Understanding that her “supernatural” experience is simply a matter of her deep love of her late mother-in-law might be reassuring.