The Ghost in My House

My family is haunted by a ghost.  A ghost that does not seem to know its place, I mean aren’t ghosts supposed to stay in one location?  This ghost goes everywhere we go.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, after all the ghost is me.


National Media Museum

There was another me, before.  Before the memories; she died.  That me was happy.  That me was self-confident. That me was spiritual.  In my other life, I could lasso the moon.  Then memories, like sharp daggers began to pierce me. Pain weakened me, but it was Shame, like a dagger, that pierced my heart and felled me.

And now a ghost lives in my house.  When I look in the mirror, I know the face looking back, the one that looks like my former self, is an illusion.  My family knows too.  One day I asked my oldest son if “all this” is hard for him.  He said, “Well, it is a little weird because I remember the way you were before.  But it will probably be easier for the younger ones because they don’t remember.”

Owww, can I die twice?

People ask me sometimes if my kids know.  Yes, the older ones do.  You’ve heard the saying about elephants in the room.  That subject that no one dares talk about.  I grew up with elephants, so no more.  No elephants, no secrets, no skeletons in the closet.  Not for me.  My teenage kids know about therapy, the Dissociation, the PTSD, and the abuse.

As far as Ghosts go, you could imagine me like Patrick Swayze’s character in Ghost.  He wanted to desperately to get his old life back.  That is what I want too.  Eventually, he had to accept his new reality, say good-bye and let go.  I don’t have to say good-bye to my family, thank goodness.  But I do need to accept reality and let go of the hope that I will return to be the person I was before.

Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again.”  He had something else in mind, but I feel like that applies to me.  I can never get Innocence back.  Not the innocence that should have been mine as a child; that precious gem that should be the heritage of every child.  Not the innocence that I had up until a couple years ago.  I’m sure that some people see me as cynical now, and I couldn’t argue.  Cynical? Yes, and skeptical too.  Pain and shame can do that.

But even though my cynicsm and skeptism, cast large shadows that threaten to overtake me, to become the whole of me, still I have a glimmer of hope.  I see it like a small candle in a window of my mind.  Quietly and steadily it flickers.

Outside the storm rages, but the light burns on.  “Keep on moving,”: the little light whispers.  “You can’t go back, but you can move forward.  Something better awaits beyond the darkness.  Just keep moving towards The Light.”


Brooklyn Museum Archives



  1. I totally get the ghost in your house. For me, I am lucky, my son knows me no other way. He encourages me to be happy, and some days I can be happy for him. Life is hard and for some of us it is very hard, almost too hard. Somehow we have to pick up the pieces and carry on being the best mother/wife/sister/etc. that we can be at the moment.Hugs to you as always.

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