Voices of the Dead

Its been a while since my last post, things of the end of summer and through the fall were just a bit out of hand and mind but I will save that for another time.

Please accept my apologies.

This early dark season festival many neopagans call Yule is a very important time for me.  This year I felt far from the advertised commercial feelings of the season and had come to a rest, as in a body at rest or in motion will resist any change to its state.  I hope I wasn’t too hard on Meta with my bah humbug and general blah sentiment.  I refer to it as melancholic as a way of differentiating it from out right depression.

I should be careful before I find myself babbling endlessly.

Any way, for me, in no way am I saying that any one else should see or relate to this season in a similar way,again, for me this is a time to reflect on all those that have come before, the family of my memory, and it is also a time to look forward.  The whole thing has a strange quiet soberness to it and this Christmas/Yule here in the north of Ohio where the cold chill freezes breezes sound from the air, or at least this seems the case.  You know its cold when you don’t here any gunshots.

My past, the time before the time now, the time when I still possessed a great hope and powerful will and had submitted to the great beliefs of our land.  These are memories of a first life, though I breathe the air with the same lungs now as I had then, or felt the rain with same skin now as then.  It was a time when I operated under the delusion that I was sane.  Now it feels still like I live a different life.  My mother bought this massive old Victorian house, a monstrosity, or white elephant as she liked to call it.  After two years of working on renovations we had began to have big thanksgiving gatherings.  Aunts Uncles, cousins, friends of the family so that there would be over twenty people in the large dining room most seated around that odd table that could be pulled to extend its length.  I’ve probably written about this event previously I honestly can’t remember.  Its Yule/Christmas/Chaunnika/Kwanza holidaze at the very beginning of the freezin’ season when I most dwell in those places in my memory where all those people still live.  Many are dead, the rest have moved far either to get away from members of the family that spooked them or to find better opportunities.  It matters not.

It is in this process of recollection that I feel those moments, moments that I know can never be recreated.  I know this is impossible yet I feel the need just like a chance meeting near a fairy circle.  Once you been in that space, if you are well wise, the memories are such that you desperately want to live them again even though it is very unlikely.  Fairies are capricious to say the least and rarely show favor to even the most friendly to their point of view more than once.  It is that which those old memories most remind me.  Images of grand parties like faerie lights or the wisps faint and odd in the distance.  It takes an effort to overcome the tendency to pick and choose the qualities we wish to remember.  A fair recollection is the most honest one you can keep.  Now that Dad had passed last year or the year before just a few days after his birthday I have no one left that remembers anything much about those times.

If I wasn’t all ready crazy I’d probably really feel like I was loosing my mind. As 99% of the memories I have worked so hard to keep have no counter point anywhere in the family.  I tell stories and no one recalls, no one remembers, no one cares.  I could be paranoid about the whole thing but I choose not.  Instead I choose, too much beer and drugs under their respective bridges or they simply forgot.  Through disinterest or as a way of avoiding emotional pain they simply let those events slide from the bright light of their mind’s eye and into the shadow.

Memory is like a garden, it has to be worked, cultivated and fed if you want it to be healthy and productive.

WHEN THE DEAD SPEAK,

IT’S VOICE IS LIKE THUNDER,

IT’S WORDS AND MESSAGES CREEP,

FROM PROFOUND SILENCES.

AND PLACES STRANGEST.

This fragment of a poem came out of this melancholic haze from that longest night of the year as I sat with my brother drinking beer and reflecting remembering and discussing our plans for the new year 2014.  It was then that the two times the dead left me a message seemed most profound.  In a surreal way they spoke directly to me through some sort of intermediary.  I do not necessarily attach any type of supernatural element to these messages.  Anyone may do so if they wish, but to my mind they found a most mundane path to deliver these messages to me.

The first incident was rooted during the time of my mothers wake and her burial.  She died in 1988 on the 2nd of december and was buried on the 6th, what was once known as Saint Nicholas day, her favorite feast on the catholic calendar other than the major catholic holidays.  I touched on this story in my work Living Inside schizophrenia which I as of yet have not gotten published.  My brother, this would be brother number three, my fourth brother had not as of yet became part of the family, was dating a young lady at that time.  She was very close to my whole family and went by the nickname Kimmie.  The Nickname Kimmie was given to her by my great aunt Ruth who has now for several years rested in the cold hard ground.  Apparently my mother and Kimmie had talked quite a bit, unbeknownst to me.  I lived in a different city at that tine and was desperately trying to scratch out some kind of an income from the world of minimum wage labor.  The university and I had decided to part ways, mostly it was the university’s decision.  This was my great failure in my own assessment.  It was my shame.  I quickly found work at a local fast food restaurant.  I had enough education that if I was honest on my applications for work then I was also over qualified for any better job.  Deception was never a preference of mine.

It was after the wake had ended and we all headed back to where ever we came from that my good friend Midnight Angel, a platonic friend, relayed this message to me.  She and Kimmie had spent some time on the side lines talking privately between themselves.  Kimmie stated that my mother had told her this: “At the time I washed out of college.  Went then and found a job and found an apartment and began to support myself she (My mother) had stopped worrying about me.  She was certain that I would be able to take care of myself.”

This could easily be considered hearsay.  Just as easily one might consider it as a made up thing simple stated to easy my strange grief.  I accepted the statement with the understanding that either of these may be true just as the message may have been accurate and true in its own right.  It didn’t seem really to matter as the message had little hard effect on me but yet I did manage to remember it.  It was a thing that held a great fascination for me.

The second case though is a bit stranger.  Meta, my wife, was doing research on her family history making use primarily of local resources.  One of these resources was the court records, especially the probate court.  She was looking up old probated wills from her family and asked me if she would like the wills from my mother and her father which I said I would.

Before I go on I should give some back story first.  Back in 1987 I was watching television and caught the news out of Columbus Ohio.  I believe it was Columbus although it just as easily could have been Detroit.  Where the news came from matters not, its one story during that broadcast that is important, at least it was to me at the time.  This story was about the Zimmer power plant that had been built in Cincinnati Ohio.  This was a joint project between Dayton Power and Light and a power company in Kentucky though honestly I couldn’t tell you its name.  Zimmer, the nuclear power plant, didn’t pass NRC regulations and was unsafe and would not be allowed to go on line.  It was a new power plant and had cost 9 billion dollars which the two companies had financed jointly.  DPL (Dayton Power and Light) was going to stop paying dividends and the price of the stock began to drop finally reaching almost 10 dollars a share.  It’s a power company so I knew that it would keep making money and as soon as the debt was paid it would start paying dividends again and the price would go back up.  I owned 538 or so shares of Centerior at the time and felt that I could easily sell two hundred of those shares and turn around and pick up three hundred of so shares of DPL.  I thought I was a good trade.  I decided to phone Dad and ask him to which he responded, in so many words, that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and I should leave my Centerior stock alone.

It was silly actually, calling to ask permission to sell stock that I owned.  In the long term he would be right, I didn’t know what I was doing as I would later piss the whole 538 shares away on an ill-conceived business idea.  To this day I don’t know why I would sell the stock to open up a tea room but not sell it to increase my portfolio.  There is definitely a sign of fractured logic there.

Back to Meta and her investigation of her family history.  She did eventually bring both my Grandfather’s will and my Mother’s will.  Grandfather’s will was extensive.  On the other hand Mom’s will was smaller. You see mom bought stock in round lots, increments of 100 shares, then she would enroll in the companies dividend reinvestment program.  So her stock was single entry with some odd number behind it, like Centerior 937 shares or Pepsi co. 549 shares or Pfizer 1293 shares, but one entry stood out.  It struck me like a hand across the cheek.  That entry was Dayton Power and Light 1000 shares at$10.66 a share.  Maybe dad told her about the phone call he had gotten from me and she bought it or maybe she saw the same or a similar news story and bought it because she knew it was a good investment.  DPL wouldn’t come around until a year or two or maybe even three after she died but it did come around.  It doesn’t matter whether the idea came from me directly or if she saw a similar or even the same story on the news.  Its says the same thing about the decision that I didn’t have the spine to make for myself, what it said was that I had a good idea.  That I would have been right to follow that course, that I am not an idiot and that I do know what I am doing, sometimes.  The startling thing is how I got the message.

If I had no recollection of the event itself then I would have never received the message.  The messages delivery depended entirely on my own memory.  I could be receiving these messages everyday and not know it because I don’t remember the important events that would allow the message to make sense.  You to could be experiencing the same thing yourself but lack the memory to hear.  By the good will of the divine keep those memories a live.  They to may contain important components of messages from the dead, messages many of us have yet to receive.

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