Saturday, May 6, 2017

How to Be A Friendly Ghost

Caspar the Friendly Ghost is all but dead these days.
My best friend, who also was my maternal grandfather, died 49 years ago. I was alone with him at the time, and his almost-last words were, "Every time you find money on the street, that's me saying hello to you from Heaven." His actual last words were, "I'm thirsty, can you get me some water." I went for the water and when I returned after just moments, he was dead.

That fairly traumatic event in my life may be the cause of my never being thirsty and thus rarely drinking water, and stopping to pick up change in the street no matter how risky it is to do so. Like just the other day I saw a nickel lying in the middle of a highly-trafficked boulevard. Despite a big truck barreling towards me, and much to my husband's horror, I stopped to grab the coin while mentally saying "Hi" to my grandfather. Hey, keeping the dead alive is no easy task.

Another of my dearest friends died ten years ago, leaving a giant hole in my life as well as my heart. I remember so much about her, but the thing that sticks out most is that she loved Rolos, those chocolate and caramel candies that come rolled in a paper wrapper. Noreen always had a pack stashed somewhere. Personally I was lukewarm about them, far preferring those wildly colorful Chuckles, each with its own flavor, to the somber, monochromatic Rolos, but just three days before her death Noreen and I exchanged packs of Rolos for Christmas. Since then I have become an avid Rolo fan and almost always buy a pack or two at the supermarket checkout counter. Somehow it makes me feel closer to Noreen, and since she can't buy them wherever she is, I do it for her.

Many other dead people populate my thoughts and dreams from time to time, but those two both left particularly strong markers and so they live on more vibrantly, not only in my brain but in my conversation. And here I am writing about them! It's obvious: if you want to be remembered after you die, make sure to do or say something truly unique on your way out.




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