Seeing Dead People

Dear PJ,

I know this will sound slightly crazy…but my kid (the one I teach) can see ghosts. Dead people. Yes, go ahead, laugh…damn you, Bruce Willis and your overplayed sci-fi film. Anyway, for the last four years, I’ve known that he could see a bit beyond my limited parameters. He saw the spirit or angel of his dead teacher at her funeral…knew she died before his parents told him and he was 8 years old and barely verbal at the time.

The other night he was awake at 3:30AM because he was hearing advice from his grandfather who has been gone for nearly 6 years. He was communicating messages from his grandfather to his dad. He was hearing stories about his dad’s best friend who died when they were in high school…someone the kid had never heard of or met. He confessed his great-grandmother comes to school and tells him jokes…perhaps that’s why he’s a bit giggly at times and refuses to focus on Language Arts.

Sometimes I wonder…if he knew you, if he would see you around. There are days when it feels like you’re sitting right beside me and I can almost sense it. I wish that he could see you…that he could be my special medium so that I know you’re okay…that you don’t mind being apart from us.

I HATE church without you. The new pastor said you were too rogue and he has to reconstruct the church. I call bullshit on his diagnosis. You were just rogue enough. I go to church for your wife. I love her. Through this…loss…we’ve become friends.

Whether or not you agree with me, I’m rather pissed at God. I’d make a thousand wishes, rub every genie’s lamp between here and Bangladesh just to have one more conversation with you; to walk down the hall at church and hear you practicing your sermon. I don’t want to hear that your death was God’s will or any other trite cliche that Christians dish out as a means of comfort. None of their “comfort” brings you back to this planet in a form that I can SEE. God took you and gave us this substitute…

So Sunday, when my bitter soul darkens the church’s back row…know that I’m saving you a seat.

I want a beer. If you’re in the mood and in the neighborhood, stop by.