Buried Ghosts | An Elegy

Your family may have buried a ghost from your past, but I mourn the you that you became

I write not to tell you that I miss you and I wish you were here. I write to tell you that I am okay with you being gone and I will never forget you. I do miss you, but that’s okay too. Missing people is part of life; it’s the price we pay for loving. And it’s, oh, so worth it.

I know they wrapped you up in all your high school portraits and told the story of your old life, but I remember you. I remember you as you were. 

I remember you as you were and I remember who you became. I remember the real you, underneath all those things that happened. Underneath the portraits and expectations of who they demanded you to be. 

I remember the you of yesterday and the you that you wanted to be today, not the you from the last decade or the you who was who I wanted you to be. I remember you. And it is you — the real you — whom I mourn. 

You still counted, even with your humanness and your so-called mistakes. Your life, your story, your love — it all mattered. They couldn’t erase it, although they tried. Oh, how they tried. 

I never discounted the you that you became. 

I am sorry that they felt better about burying a ghost from your past. But you probably don’t care. Funerals are for the living anyway. 

For those of us who knew the you that left, it was impossible to mourn a version of you that we never knew — a version that you felt wasn’t you. But mourn you we did, in our own place, our own way, and our own time. 

We paid our respects, though. And we didn’t cause a scene, even though we wanted to. Oh, how we wanted to. 

We rave on, when people die, about honoring their memories and respect for the dead. This societal construct urged us to stand up and shout from the rooftops that it wasn’t right. But we knew better. 

We knew that the honoring we say we give you is truly an honor we give you, for us. After all, you no longer feel the fear and insecurity — the need for honor and validation — that we living humans do. 

Although I write this letter for me, I write it to you. I write to you, for me. Not because of what you need to know, but because of what I need to say. 

I never discounted the you that you became. 

Written by Holly Kellums

Photo by Monica Silva on Unsplash

Dedicated to Penny, Pax, Pepper, and family 

Published by hollykellums

Internationally Published Author * Influencer * Recovery Coach * Human Potential Activist

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