The Dead on Line 1
Enjoying another Raleigh lad’s work, I was reading David Sedaris’ newest book and he mentions dealing with a physic. He describes chatting up the dead is like being on the phone with folks in prison who pass around the phone randomly. You don’t ask questions, you are there simply to listen to what they feel compelled to say.
It made me wonder, if given the opportunity, whom would I like to hear from in the great beyond? Immediately I thought of my great Aunt Ida, who was blind, and my childhood pal, a likely victim of the Pennsylvania priest scandals. Mainly I just wanted to know if their existence after death was easier and more pleasant than their experiences while living. I didn’t even consider my parents feeling I’ve always known they are just fine where they are. Almost daily, in a multitude of ways, they let me know this.
Thinking perhaps my reaction was odd I asked a Canadian pal who also didn’t think of his parents, or other family members, only his contemporary that lived in the Inquisitor’s Prison and died rather quickly a few years ago.
Next I asked a Mexican pal and she quickly answered there was no one dead she wished to hear from knowing they are all with God, where they should be, and she’ll encounter them soon enough.
Sure enough, I had a Cemetery/Day of the Dead tour later that day which always leads to profound conversations about contact with dead. I tend to remember the funny ones.
One was a pair of sisters that labored up a mountain to toss their brother’s ashes as requested. Once they did the wind changed directions blowing the ashes up and into their faces. “Gross! Tommy is in my mouth!” they moaned.
Another sisterly pair had a picnic on their father’s grave. Here their parents divorced but Mom still wanted buried next to Dad. Dad had remarried and had the adjacent spot for his newer wife so his daughters used spoons to lift up just enough dirt to place Mom’s ashes by Dad, even if not officially noted as such.
With all the recent St. Michael’s celebrations I pondered about my brother, Mike, the former seminarian that left the priesthood to marry a Jewish lass, join a traveling circus and become a clown with the act “Farmer Toone, his wife and their kid, the goat”. He so would have enjoyed all the fuss over his namesake but I didn’t think of him either on my hotline to Heaven.
While on the tour a tomb I saw a large pink beach umbrella and a handful of women resting in the shade reminding me that alongside Easter, Christmas and Day of the Dead the anniversary of one’s death is a popular day for cemetery excursion. This reminder notes that the day one dies is your real birthday, as it is the day you go back to God and begin eternal life. A beautiful thought defining much of how one lives life and why driving in town is a giant game of Chicken without seat belts.
What’s the worse that can happen? You go home to Heaven that much sooner.