“Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that’s what.” ― Salman Rushdie
Serenity House, Room 114. Hidden on a hillside among Santa Barbara’s majestic coastal oaks. The slick ad reads like a vacation destination. It is not. Serenity House is a hospice facility, a place people go when they can no longer live at home. It’s a place people go to die.
In my mind’s eye, the door to Room 114 is closed because I wasn’t there when you died, when they blessed your body and anointed it with oils. When the ghost of you didn’t haunt me.
In my deepest dream-space, you are still alive in that room. Heart pounding, I know my biggest fear is beyond the heavy oak door, and I must enter alone. I press the cold metal handle and walk inside.
You are there, propped in bed and shirtless, not dressed in a jewel-toned silk shirt, like the ones you used to wear. I place blessed salt on your chest. You, for purifying, salt of the earth, my father. And me, for salting the dark field of my childhood. I don’t want to go back. I can’t.
Enough salt, enough tears. We’re free to love and forgive now in new spirit bodies. Continue Reading…