Browse Front PageShare Your Idea

Haunted by Grief? Ghostbust with Gratitude

4 Heart it! amie scott 60
October 28, 2018
amie scott
4 Heart it! 60

I thought I had been ghosted but the guy I had been seeing really died.

So this time of year can be especially haunting. The ghost of my past has not passed on to the next realm. The fallen leaves of, well, Fall, rustle along and not in the festive, autumnal way. The sound reminds me of a time when tiptoeing around eggshells led to a loud crunch. If only I could perform an exorcism on my memories, driving out the evils of regret and shame. A sip of spiced chai does little to defrost the chill of grief. I would start a fire to but I don’t know how so I can only imagine the smoke alarm would soon be blaring. With this I’m transported back to when the same sound was my ringtone and it woke me into, rather than out of, a nightmare.

The phone rang relentlessly during my post-night shift nap. “I declined the call for a reason now get a clue,” I humphed to myself. My friend called again. I saw a list of unread texts. Then she called again. So I answered. “Did you hear about [him]?” she asked. I hadn’t. Actually I hadn’t heard from him in a while so I thought he had ghosted me. I was angry. “No. What happened?” I wondered aloud. “I’m so sorry to tell you this,” she warned, “[He] died.”

He was barely 27 years old. It was an accidental overdose. Our mutual friend (the caller) took me to pay my respects. This was the first, and worst, time I met his parents. Despite all the ways I imagined I would meet them, I could not have envisioned this. I thought he would introduce me as his girlfriend. Instead someone else said my name as I choked on tears and extended my arms in mourning rather than in greeting. He left all of us at once and upon this time, the fantasy ended without a happily ever after.

After he passed, I suddenly had so much to tell him. As an introvert and poor improvisor, I seem to come up with the “perfect” thing to say long after the moment has passed. Since I missed my chance to tell him that I loved him, I wrote the following letter to cope.


Dear Grief,

How can I welcome your needy children? Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance are your offspring. I didn’t invite them to visit. Get your kids off my lawn!

Can there ever be peace at their arrival?




Grief is not a person so my letter goes unanswered. Yet I like to think that if my soul had a phone, grieving is a time when it rings off the hook. Who even calls anymore? Must be important. Accept this call. “Gratitude,” Grief answers, “That is how.” Thank them each: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Thank them for their challenges. Thank them for their sweet release. Thank them for visiting at all. This is healing.

Whether grieving someone’s death, the end of a relationship, or some other loss, it is hard to be grateful at first. This is when it is critical to feel all the feels. Be honest about them. When grieving, talk about it. Or risk dying inside.

Like a jack o’lantern, it will feel hollow at times, but behind that carved expression, the glow of gratitude can fill the inside. Allow it to light a path. It is difficult to reap the lessons of each stage but it is this harvest that sustains us. When I extend gratitude to grief, I know I am living.

So embrace what grief brings. Write the five stages a eulogy. Then let go. You will live. Breathe. Take in the air your lost beloved cannot. Then go live. If you still don’t feel ready, send Grief an email. Answer phone calls, or better yet make them, so as to better connect. Breathe. Rinse. Repeat. Most importantly, go live.


Browse Front PageShare Your Idea
4 Heart it! amie scott 60
4 Heart it! 60

emdecesaris Oct 27, 2018 6:57pm

What a poignant piece – the imagery and metaphor beautifully accompany a heart breaking, yet thankful, piece. Love the message – ghostbust with gratitude ??

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.