I Talk with Dead People

May 9, 2010

After losing a loved one, is it normal to continue to hear their words inside your head?

Mike Abrahamsohn

Mike Abrahamsohn at Soliton ’04

My friend Mike took his own life nearly a year ago. I had one very vivid dream where he seemed to be saying, “I’m okay.” More recently, I have occasionally experienced strange thoughts.

One Sunday, I was looking at myself in a mirror and wondering how to tame a big cow lick (you know, where your hair is in disarray because you slept on it funny). I suddenly thought,

I got a big cow lick, of my unleavened hair. It was a big Jewish cow who likes to eat pork.

When I shared that silly thought with my family, Kay said, “Sounds like you had a visit from Mike.” And Erin added, “Mike’s not dead, you know. He’s just gone home.”

It was Easter. Resurrection Sunday.

In my new job, I frequently walk by a koi pond on campus, sometimes pausing to have a quiet moment. Mike’s work was ponds, and the koi remind me of him. Since I can’t call him up, sometimes I carry on a one-sided conversation. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry.

One day by the pond, I was thinking about how I have adjusted to life without Mike. “But,” I said, “I gave you part of my life, so a part of me will always belong to you.” Then the thought came,

I’m inside you. I’m in your brain. Like a cancer!

Followed by an evil laugh.

I’m afraid this won’t make sense if you didn’t know Mike. But if you did know him, you’re probably smiling, and maybe shedding a tear …because if the departed are somehow given opportunities to visit people, what other FREAK would do this?

This could, of course, simply be my brain triggering “Mike sequences” just because they’re well-worn pathways. Maybe after being used so often and then suddenly coping with silence, those synapses get restless and fire on their own.

Or is Mike visiting me somehow? I don’t think we can know. But I do know this:

I believe in the communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting.

Amen. Freak.

Mike's freak

Art-worship Mike created at Soliton ’04

Have you experienced loss, but felt like you were occasionally visited in some way?

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

15 responses to I Talk with Dead People

  1. Never looked at it from that aspect but it’s likely akin to the feeling when you say something and immediately after say “I sound like my mother. brother, father, etc!
    But yes – I still here my mum talking to me some 16yrs after her passing 😉

  2. I miss him. We use to go on “dates” and see a movie or take a walk. I saw Iron Man 2 yesterday alone and thought of Mike. He was a good listener and put up with my nonsense. I still feel abandoned by his death and pissed off and guilty for feeling that way. When I get to heaven I don’t know if I will hug him or kick his butt first. But mostly, I miss him. And yes I sometimes do still feel him gently walking with my spirit. I am reminded of our frailty and the need for compassion.

  3. All of that is like what I feel. And I was both smiling and crying when I got to that part BTW. I loved him so much and when he left I broke. We are rapidly coming up to the last celebration we had as a family that Mike came to… I have had a sort of thought as this year has gone by that I still was in the year of his life and that was enough – now it will no longer be just last year.

  4. Right after my husband Steve died, I used to dream about him all the time. In my dreams, he would be just about to walk into the door of our room, and then I would wake up. It would take me a few moments to remember he was gone. They would leave me very sad and lonely.
    I still dream about him, but not as often as I used to. He speaks in my dreams, so I can remember his voice. He smiles and we talk about things. They really do feel like a visit from him, not just a dream. I believe he is safe where he is and I don’t feel sad when I wake up from these dreams anymore. But I still miss him.

  5. Thanks Jon for posting

  6. Dude, of course Mike is with you. We all are. Even simply from a non-spiritual, behaviorist point of view, people still feel itches on amputated arms…
    And I do the same thing with Onyx. I feel him bump his head into my chin when I am just about to go to sleep and I cry and the squish Chris’s kitties as hard as I can, hoping that one of them will for a few minutes change into him. And that is a cat. I can’t even imagine how I would hallucinate if it were a person.
    Mike was a truly wacky person and we were all lucky to know him. I still see his picture and am astonished at the fact that he is not here. Maybe you are just getting wacky-er to fill in the gaps for his loss…someone has to do it.

  7. Stuart,
    Sixteen years, wow. Your description makes me wonder what I will be experiencing 15 years from now. The sting of grief fades, but the love doesn’t.

  8. David, thanks for being vulnerable and sharing that. I think it helps to be reminded that I’m not obsessing over a memory, but that Mike was really that special.

  9. Aimee, thank you for sharing the laughter and the tears. I have heard that the one year mark usually brings a shift in grieving. We’ll see.

  10. Natalie,
    Did you ever read The Shack? Your comment made me think of it for some reason. I didn’t read it while The Journey was going through it, but I eventually got a copy, and yes, gobbled it up.

  11. Very moving. Went out and bought some goldfish for the pond, before reading this. Maybe Mike was talking to me too.

  12. Noelle,
    I’m glad you got to experience a little of Mike’s wackiness. My parents don’t travel anymore, but when they used to visit, my mother would ask me afterwards about “that friend of yours — he’s odd.”
    Here’s to wacky.

  13. He was awesomely odd 🙂
    I think you should enjoy the fact that he planted himself in your brain. Some people go their whole lives without friends awesome enough to do that.
    Ps they lie to you when they say it gets easier. It gets farther away, and you get more used to it, but it never gets easier.

  14. CRK,
    Cheers. Eat one for Mikey.